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Posted On: 01/29/18 11:20 AM
The Melrose Dutchmen are the proud owners of a 15-1 record (8-0 conference) with a little less than half of the season remaining. Tonight, they will host St. Cloud Cathedral in a very important matchup that will have implications in the Section 6AA standings.
Cathedral is led by a pair of high-profile seniors in Michael Schaefer and Mitch Plombon, but it is a junior that leads the charge for the Dutchmen, Reegan Nelson.
Through 16 games, Nelson is averaging 14.8 PPG, 7.1 REB, 2.6 AST, and 2 STL per game. The 6’3” junior G/F is shooting 38% from deep this season, and has a 58% field goal percentage.
“Reegan’s greatest strength is his basketball IQ, which is off the charts” says head coach Ryan Dusha. He adds, “He simply sees and reads things quicker than most players which really helps him on the defensive side of the ball.”
When asked to assess his own game, Nelson said “My strengths are the ability to get to the hoop and my ability to defend.” Coach Dusha agrees, saying “He is very versatile in that he can post up, shoot the three, and drive to the basket. He is probably at his best when he is slashing to the basket and creating for himself and others.” Coach Dusha adds that “Offensively, we want the ball in his hands a lot. We feel very comfortable with him leading the break or running sets to get him the ball in space.”
Nelson is the only starter back from last season, and as a result, he is viewed as the leader of the team this season. “Another strength is being a team leader and leading by example on the court” said Nelson. His leadership has not gone unnoticed as his coach says “Reegan was our only starter returning from last year, so he has been a great leader for us.”
Aside from his offensive talents, the things that make Nelson a complete and special player are his versatility and ability on the defensive end of the floor. “Reegan is one of those rare basketball players that can play and guard all five positions on the floor” says Dusha. He adds that “We rely on Reegan for a lot on both sides of the ball. Since he can guard all spots, we expect him to be a great communicator and consistently guard the other team’s top players.”
Prior to this season, Nelson played AAU ball with Crossfire. He says “We played very well as a team. By the end of the year, we finished as a top 5 team in the state in 16U.” In terms of his future playing basketball collegiately, Nelson says he has been in contact with a few programs, but is keeping his options open.
The Dutchmen have a huge matchup tonight, and a tough section to look forward to come March, a section that contains the likes of Cathedral, Annandale, and Mora to name a few. It is going to be a challenge, but with Nelson at the helm, his coach feels confident in his leader, summing up Nelson by saying “He is such a competitor that he usually rises to any challenge in front of him!”