Gerald Nickelberry and his wife, Jessie, have been residing in Fayetteville, North Carolina for some time.
Fortunately for Gerald, his career the social work industry spans more than three decades and, most importantly, ultimately afforded him the opportunity to move from the Orange Mound district, a poverty-stricken community in Northeast Memphis.
A former Melrose High football standout, Gerald Nickelberry, to his credit, has become knowledgeable about what it takes to excel on and off the field during his playing days for the Golden Wildcats.
It is, in fact, because of his determination to thrive as a student athlete that has largely inspired him and his wife to ensure that their son, Josh Nickelberry, follows suit.
Given how Josh Nickelberry has progressed considerably in recent years as basketball standout for Northwood Temple Academy in the Fayetteville area, it’s safe to assume this freshman sensation appears destined to carry with pride the torch handed to him by his old man.
SEE JOSH IN ACTION VIA VIDEO: http://youtu.be/1zC0honX7oM
At 6-foot-4 and just 14 years of age, Josh Nickelberry is considered a big swingman who undoubtedly could create matchup problems for the opposition early and often this upcoming season for an Eagle team will be aiming to atone for last year’s dismal 13-16 finish.
Because of his immense size, coupled with the fact that he has four full prep seasons to upgrade his skills and mechanics, it is abundantly obvious that the sky’s the limit for a kid who has already been thrust under the radar by a number of college scouts and recruiters.
How else to explain why Northwood Temple coach Chris Lattimer is eager to witness this year’s version of an Eagle team that figures to cause fits for opposing teams, in large part because Josh Nickelberry and speedy point guard Dakari Johnson are expected to wreak havoc as a potent backcourt?
“Josh is a big time scorer with above average athleticism, and really commits to the defensive end,” Lattimer told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson. “His length allows him to disrupt passing lanes and get deflections. He plays much older than he is and plays with no fear on the court. He is a humble young man with an incredible work ethic.”
Add to the fact that this Fayetteville-area hoops prodigy — who insists he possesses a high basketball IQ — had emerged as a force on the AAU circuit in recent years, and it’s no wonder his athletic is such that he will likely be faced with a good problem, of sorts, by the time his prep career ends.
In other words, given his solid hoops track record, the possibility exists that Josh Nickelberry will have a slew of colleges vying for his services by 2019.
According to various recruiting experts, Josh Nickelberry is rated as the No. 1 overall shooting guard in North Carolina and one of the top overall recruits nationally for the Class of 2019.
“I want to go as far as God and my talent takes me with basketball,” Josh Nickelberry said during a recent interview. “I also know that it takes a lot of hard work and I am willing to do that. I want to go to college and further (my education). As with every player, the dream is the NBA. But my dream is also an MBA or Harvard Law.”
While clinging to aspirations of someday enrolling in Harvard Law School, give Josh Nickelberry credit in terms of how he’s steadfastly gone about cross-examining opposing players on the court. In flourishing as a marquee player for his AAU’s Team Loaded squad, Josh has had the luxury of putting his skills on display in several gymnasiums across the country, most notably North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, New-York, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, among others.
In addition, he trains intensely, partaking in regularly workouts weekly, particularly when organized team practices and conditioning sessions aren’t taking place.
For someone who knows full well what it takes to evolve as an efficient athlete, Gerald Nickelberry is pleased at how far his son has come with so much high school basketball ahead of him.
“The little things, I watch his body language, how he reacts to adversity, how he responds to successes,” Gerald Nickelberry said. “I watch for good sportsmanship and humility, while at the same time being fiercely competitive. I watch to see if he is accepting coaching, while at the same time being a ball player.” I watch his execution on offense as well as his effort on defense. The list goes on. Most of all, what goes through my mind is I watch to see if he is having fun. Because when you love something, you have fun while doing it. Josh loves basketball and he works so hard at it.”
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Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.