Nichols Has Himself A Leader

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Don't know Demetris Nichols? Get to know him. He 6-7 SF from Barrington (RI) St. Andrew's had a pair of great performances Saturday at the Charlie Weber Invitational. He's going to make a Big East commitment before too long – and there is a leader.

"Syracuse," he said at The Pavilion on the Villanova campus. "Because I'm long and skinny and I can shoot the ball. I need to work on my ball handling and my weight training. I just need to get stronger."

Of his athleticism, though, there is no question. He ran and jumped and dunked his way to 21 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in the Tim Thomas Playaz' early victory over the Burlington Panthers from Canada. He was even better later in the day against Virginia's Rapahannock Rams.

"He just needs to put some weight on and get a little more physical," Playaz coach T.J Gassnola said. "He's long and athletic, and he can really shoot. He's got to get better hands, though."

The rangy Nichols – originally from Boston – already sports an improved jumper. His form clearly has gotten better in the last year or so under the guidance of coach Mike Hart at St. Andrew's.

The 3.4 student is set to take the SAT May 4. Then? Off on the road with the Playaz to try to spread the word – and perhaps make a strong commitment as well.

Nichols and the Playaz are scheduled to be at the Southern Invitational in Charlottesville, Va., and the Tournament of Champions in North Carolina in May and the Rumble in the Bronx and the Atlanta Basketball Classic in June. He'll start July at ABCD.

Michael Kruse writes for Basketball America and

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