Basketball

EDITORIAL — Is HSU missing the boat with Thomas Nelson?

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Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Local star Thomas Nelson enjoyed an all-state season at CR this past winter.

By Ray Hamill — Thomas Nelson is playing the waiting game these days, along with the many, many schools that want him to come play for them.

So too are local basketball fans, who would love nothing more than to see Nelson line up in a Lumberjacks uniform next winter.

So what gives? And how come Humboldt State has not offered him a scholarship, a decision that would make sense on so many levels, especially now that it appears as if the player himself would love to play for his local college team.

This is a win-win situation. A local star coming off an all-state season at the local JC, who would fill seats in Lumberjack Arena and inject some local interest into a program in desperate need of some, at a school where community support has waned considerably since the Jacks opted to drop football a couple of years back.

There is no better way of rebuilding bridges with an alienated community than to bring more local talent on board, especially when that local talent is good enough to have a sizable impact on your team.

Adding a player like Nelson, a former Arcata High star who also led the way on a CR team that captivated the North Coast in thrilling fashion this past winter, seems like a no-brainer.

Yet here we are, left wondering why nothing is happening at the speed of a charging snail.

Even considering HSU is in the midst of hiring a new head coach — an opening that has attracted a tremendous number of applicants — that’s not an excuse.

New AD Jane Teixeira says she is unable to give us a timeline on exactly when the new hiring might occur, and that in the meantime assistant coach Rich Mendoza has been charged with the day-to-day running of the program.

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For Mendoza, those duties include recruiting, although we have no idea what constraints may have been placed on him.

The Jacks are not commenting on any potential recruits until they sign, citing NCAA rules, so we have no idea why they have not made a concrete offer to a local star that obviously wants to play for them, and a player fans would love to see stay here on the North Coast.

Several other schools have extended an offer to Nelson, including some highly competitive programs that have been pursuing him aggressively.

If the Jacks don’t act soon, they might miss the boat on this one.

And if they do, local basketball fans will be left wondering why, and an opportunity to start to rebuild a strained relationship with the local sports community will slip away.

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