AU men’s basketball standout Nelson inks first pro deal in Germany

Nelson has a bright future, but shooting is key to success

AU men’s basketball standout Nelson inks first pro deal in Germany
Sa'eed Nelson (#0) during a game against Holy Cross on Jan. 18

Following a storied collegiate career during which he eclipsed AU’s all-time scoring record, Sa’eed Nelson signed his first professional contract with MLP Academics Heidelberg of the German ProA League. 

ProA is the second-highest level of basketball in Germany, behind the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL).

“I feel like it’s a dream come true to be able to play basketball professionally anywhere,” Nelson said in an AU Athletics press release. “I just can’t wait to get over there and become a better version of myself and help out the team in any way I can.”

Though NBA teams had shown interest in Nelson earlier in the year, he’s excited to play for Heidelberg, a team that posted an 82-55 record in ProA play over the past four seasons. Each year, the top two teams in ProA are promoted to the BBL.

Although Nelson hasn’t yet practiced in Germany, Heidelberg head coach Branislav Ignjatovic already has high hopes for the point guard.

“(Nelson) is a very good defender, can score in many different ways, but also finds his teammates,” Ignjatovic told AU Athletics. “I am happy we could get a player of this caliber.”

During his career at AU, Nelson displayed all of the attributes described by Ignjatovic, but had one glaring deficiency: his shooting. In his four year AU career, Nelson shot 26 percent from 3-point land and 66 percent from the free-throw line. Despite these shooting woes, AU assistant coach Scott Greenman feels that the sky is the limit for Nelson’s professional career.

“The jump shot is the one glaring thing that he’ll have to work on a ton, especially because the [3-point] line moves even further back,” Greenman said on the Eye on the Eagles Podcast. “But there’s not a lot missing from his game, and I think his work ethic will give him a chance to get [to the NBA].”

jkolodny@theeagleonline.com

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