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Gaels forward Nelson signs to play for Shepherd

April 24, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

On the court and in the classroom, Mike Nelson took advanage of his two years at St. Maria Goretti. It paid off with a chance to take advantage of new opportunities at Shepherd University.

Nelson - who led the Gaels with an 11.0 scoring average as a senior - officially signed with Shepherd Friday afternoon at Goretti's media center.

"I just thank God. He's given me the strength to play," Nelson said before the signing. "(I thank) my parents, the whole staff here, my whole family."

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"He's been an outstanding person and player for us and our program," Gaels coach Cokey Robertson said.

Nelson - an All-County First Team selection - joined with frontcourt teammate and fellow All-County honoree Joey Spierenburg to form Goretti's formidable front line this past season, during which Nelson's game blossomed.

"The second half of the season I thought he really progressed as a player," Robertson said. "He's an excellent worker, a great team leader and we're going to miss his presence."

When asked what part of Nelson's game improved the most, Robertson replied: "His confidence. More than anything, the confidence that he could play at this level."

Nelson chose Shepherd in part because the university offered sports communications and also because, according to the 6-foot-4 Nelson, the Rams told him he could play small forward.

Nelson also said that, were it not for his time at Goretti, he may never have had the opportunity that awaits him.

"(Goretti) helped me with my grades, big time," Nelson said. "Before I came here, with my grades, I couldn't have come to college."

Two other Goretti basketball standouts are on the move on the college front, according to Robertson.

Derrick Davis - a 2003 graduate and Herald-Mail All-Area First Team honoree - has agreed to play for Division I South Carolina State, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Senior Mason Herman has agreed to play for Division III Washington & Lee.

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