BC's James accepts offer to play college basketball for Rollie Massimino

EDITOR'S NOTE: The original story stated Nick James received a scholarship to play for Northwood based on unclear information provided to the Daily News. James' scholarship is for academics and he did not sign a letter of intent to play at the school. He will attempt to walk on as a freshman in the fall. The story has been corrected below.

“That's a legendary coach I get to play for,” James said. “(Northwood) is not too big, which is good because I'm not a big-crowd person, and the basketball program is really good.”

Massimino took the Seahawks to the NAIA tournament the team's inaugural season, 2006-07. Northwood made it the the NAIA final four in 2011 and finished national runner-up last year. In six seasons, all under Massimino, the Seahawks are 167-37.

Massimino's Villanova team is known as one of college basketball's greatest underdog stories. The 1985 Wildcats knocked off heavily-favored and top-seeded Georgetown in the championship and became the lowest seeded team (No. 8) to win an NCAA title.

After a foray into football, Nick James' heart never left the sport he fell for as a toddler.

The recent Barron Collier graduate had several offers to play college football after his one season of varsity, but just last week James finally got the opportunity he was looking for. Now James gets to play his favorite sport -– basketball –- at the next level.

James has to decided to play basketball at NAIA school Northwood University in West Palm Beach. The 6-foot-4 player hopes to develop his game under the tutelage of a coaching legend.

Rollie Massimino, who led Villanova to the 1985 NCAA championship, has turned Northwood into a perennial title contender as the only coach since the program began in 2006.

“The opportunity is amazing,” James said. “I get to keep playing basketball, which is my first love.”

James was offered an academic scholarship that covers a majority of his tuition. He will have to try out for Northwood's junior varsity team and attempt to walk on, according to Seahawks' assistant coach Ken Gableman.

James spent three years at Winter Springs High School northeast of Orlando before his family moved to Naples for his father's job before his senior year. The 6-foot-3 James was a strong contributor for Barron Collier's football and basketball teams, both which made the playoffs this past school year.

With 12 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown, James helped the Cougars finish runner-up. He received interest from several NCAA Division II and III football teams and was set to accept and offer to play at Webber International.

Even with the offer in hand, James was holding out with the hopes he could find a college basketball team. James' was the sixth-man for Barron Collier this season and helped the Cougars reach the regional finals for the first time. He also played two seasons of varsity at Winter Springs.

After learning about the school's academics and earning the scholarship, James looked into Northwood's basketball program. His coach at Barron Collier, Carlos Clark, sent James' highlight tapes to a Seahawks assistant, and James went to visit the school before deciding to give playing basketball there a shot.

James figures to at least make the junior varsity team and hopes to play well enough to earn a basketball scholarship his sophomore year.

When Massimino and Northwood came calling, with a little help from his Cougars' coach, Carlos Clark, James jumped at the chance.

“That's a legendary coach I get to play for,” James said. “(Northwood) is not too big, which is good because I'm not a big-crowd person, and the basketball program is really good.”

Massimino took the Seahawks to the NAIA tournament the team's inaugural season, 2006-07. Northwood made it the the NAIA final four in 2011 and finished national runner-up last year. In six seasons, all under Massimino, the Seahawks are 167-37.

Massimino's Villanova team is known as one of college basketball's greatest underdog stories. The 1985 Wildcats knocked off heavily favored and top-seeded Georgetown in the championship and became the lowest seeded team (No. 8) to win an NCAA title.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 1

devilman57 writes:

Good decision Nick. You were a good football player, but you are a even better basketball player. LOL dude you will make Northwood even better than they are now.

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