In case you don’t know him, Nick Vincent would like to introduce himself.
Vincent is one of the key reserves for Martin Luther King Magnet High in Nashville.
A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the 18-year-old Vincent plays mostly swingman, a position that has given way to him making valiant contributions in this, his senior season for the Royals.
According to many who have known him since he began playing competitive basketball seven years ago, Vincent’s relentless leaping ability for a 5-foot-10 player is reminiscent to that of his father, Keith Vincent.
And, like his father, a former collegiate athlete, Nick Vincent doesn’t shy away from the notion that he is destined to fulfill his dream of playing college basketball.
“My chances of playing college ball are probably slim,” Nick Vincent told MemphiSport. “But I definitely would play for an intramural league.”
While Nick Vincent seemingly has put his basketball future in perspective, he’s quick to acknowledge that he would welcome the golden opportunity of putting his basketball skills on display if any college inquires about his services in the foreseeable future.
As of now, Nick Vincent plans to enroll at Tennessee State University this fall.
According to his father, the possibility exists that if his son is offered an athletic scholarship, it would be in track and field.
Nick Vincent is one of 300 athletes invited to participate in the Down Under Sports Track And Field Meet sponsored by the International Sports Specialists in Australia this summer.
“If (college basketball program) can get him in the right system, he’d be a complement to somebody,” MLK coach Brent Burns said Friday prior to the Royals’ quarterfinal game in the TSSAA District 10-AA tournament against Lipscomb Academy.
But whether Nick Vincent, a preacher’s kid who’s armed with immense athleticism, will emerge as a late signee for a collegiate basketball squad remains a mystery. If nothing else, he’s certainly making a strong case that he’s worthy of a chance to extend his hoops career.
Take, for instance, his performance in Thursday’s postseason opener against visiting Stratford. Showing virtually no signs of nervousness, Nick Vincent manufactured arguably his best postseason outing of his prep career when he registered 17 points for a Royal team that had four players in double figures.
Although he has on several occasions this season demonstrated the ability to provide MLK with instant offense off the bench, Nick Vincent is widely known for his astounding leaping skills, let alone his resilience in playing taller than his height indicates.
So much, in fact, that this speedy, multi-sport athlete has become a viable presence on both ends of the floor, most notably on the defensive end, where he has become a fixture in preventing the opposition from attempting second and third-chance opportunities.
On the offensive end, though, a majority of his points evolve not from executing on the perimeter, but by maneuvering his way to the basket for gutsy putbacks, a tactic that undoubtedly would prove beneficial for a kid who boasts lofty aspirations of playing at the next level.
All it takes, his father said, is for just one school to give him the nod.
“Nick could play on college level if he develops his fundamental game, build shooting confidence, play the (combo guard) position,” Keith Vincent said. “The sky is the limit for Nick because he is the hardest working athlete you will meet.He sacrifices his body all the time and is not afraid of good competition.”
If Nick Vincent — who also is a member of his school’s track and field team — manages to earn a shot at playing basketball beyond high school, among the skills he must fine tune is outside shooting, both midrange and from beyond the arc.
“I’ve never seen him take a jump shot,” Burns said. “So I’d say he needs to work on his midrange and jump shots. I just think because he’s an undersized player in the post, that’s the reason he’s not getting exposure. This is his first year of really getting quality playing time.”
Fortunately for Nick Vincent, however, Burns said he’s proven to be teachable, thus taken advantage of every opportunity given to him.
“I mean, he’s a special talent as an athlete,” Burns said. “He brings a lot of energy and he plays with a lot of energy and focuses on his roles every single day.”
Not bad for a thorough introduction, one this kid hopes colleges will take into account at such a crucial stage in his prep basketball career.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NFL and NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.