INDIANAPOLIS — Quenton Nelson last year was widely regarded as the best guard prospect to enter the NFL Draft in quite some time.
He proved those evaluations right with a fantastic rookie season that included First-Team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl selection.
But is Nelson an even better guard in a different sport?
While Nelson has been the subject of many viral videos featuring his nastiness on the football field dating back to his days at Notre Dame, a video surfaced this week of his skills on the basketball court.
Check out Nelson as he makes a sick behind-the-back (left-handed) pass to his teammate during a high school game:
Thanks to Buddy Hausmann, a teacher and head baseball coach at Red Bank Catholic High School in New Jersey, we now know that the clip is from an all-star game Nelson played in after his senior year of high school.
Oh, and that big boy Nelson is seen bumping chests with towards the end of the clip? It’s none other than Mike Gesicki, current tight end for the Miami Dolphins and fellow member of the 2018 NFL Draft class.
Nelson was a four-star recruit at tackle when he committed to play football at Notre Dame back in 2013, but he was also a solid high school basketball player, Colts.com has learned.
His senior season at Red Bank Catholic in the 2013-14 school year, Nelson led his team in scoring (12.9 points per game) and rebounding (7.0 per game), but what set the big boy apart on the hardwood was his ability to grab rebounds, get out into transition and find open teammates. Nelson averaged almost three assists per game his senior year, which is more than respectable for a high school post player.
In fact, Nelson was an absolute enigma for opposing coaches. Check out this blurb from the March 6, 2014, edition of The Coast Star, covering Red Bank Catholic’s 59-48 victory over St. Rose (written by Len Bardsley):
Purple Rose coach Dennis Devaney took the blame for his team falling behind Red Bank Catholic big in the first half.
“That is on me,” said Devaney. “We sat back in the first half. We were worried about [Quenton] Nelson. He is a big boy, but he is more of a passer than a scorer. He started to be an assist guy.”
The 6-foot-6, 300-pound Nelson has been a conundrum for most Shore Conference opponents this season.
A few teams have tried to collapse on Nelson in the post, only to be burned by the Casey shooters from the outside.
Nelson was kicking the ball out to his teammates on the wings more often than he was moving like a bull in a china shop towards the basket looking for easy points.
Some other notable stats from Nelson’s senior year? He had more offensive rebounds (90) than defensive (79), he shot a team-best 65 percent from the floor, but missed his only 3-point attempt on the year. Nelson also wore No. 35 on the court; he’s been No. 56 on the football field since high school, meanwhile.
Nelson could also score in bunches when needed. He turned in back-to-back 30-point outings, scoring 32 points in a 64-50 victory over Rusmon-Fair Haven, and then two nights later pouring in 33 points in an 83-66 win over rival St. John-Vianney.
So with all that being said, would Nelson crack current teammate Eric Ebron’s starting five of Colts basketball standouts?
Well, not exactly.
Ebron originally had a lineup consisting of T.Y. Hilton at point guard, Zach Pascal at shooting guard, Jacoby Brissett at small forward, himself at power forward and Margus Hunt at center, but when reminded that he left out former VCU college basketball standout Mo Alie-Cox, Ebron replaced Alie-Cox at center for Hunt:
But back to Nelson. When pressed by Colts.com’s Caroline Cann if he would now include Nelson in his starting five after seeing his behind-the-back pass video clip from high school, Ebron said he had already discussed that with Big Q:
Sounds fair to me.