The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

A summer of basketball: Junior Blake Nielsen experiences the sport beyond Hilltopper courts

Anna Pratts / Hilltop Views
Junior Blake Nielsen playing last season against University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in the Recreation and Athletics Center on campus.

Basketball has always been a central part of Australian junior Blake Nielsen’s life. Growing up, he moved from country to country across Europe following his father’s job as a professional basketball player. Moving between countries, he would go to his dad’s practices in the mornings and fell in love with the sport at a very young age. Now, Nielsen plays collegiate basketball and has family connections to the highest level in the sport and takes advantage of them in his offseason. 

Nielsen’s father’s job as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs allowed him to spend some time in San Antonio over the summer.

“It’s almost like an internship; going in every day and see what they’re doing, watch their practices,” Nielsen said.  

For any basketball fan, this is an incredible opportunity. As a collegiate player, being able to see what the professionals are doing is not only a way to be closer to the game, but also a way to apply broad knowledge to the development of his own skills on the court.

“Seeing how the pros go about their offseason, working on a specific part of their game and building their strength, being able to watch that is very helpful to me,” Nielsen said. “The knowledge that I’ve picked up from that has become who I am, and although I may not be thinking ‘I have to remember because this player did it this way,’ it’s just the way that I will be doing stuff now.”

His dad’s connections with both Australian and American professional players gave Nielsen the opportunity to practice with Patty Mills, Atlanta Hawks and Australia Men’s National Basketball team player for two weeks. 

“We would workout, do a bunch of shooting drills together,” Nielsen said. “I’m pretty fortunate that I get to experience that and it’s pretty cool to see a NBA player go about their offseason and see how he attacks that.”

From his experiences over the summer, Nielsen gathered knowledge in and out the court, especially regarding discipline during the offseason. 

“The professionalism that they have in their everyday approach,” Nielsen said. “The biggest takeaway was learning how to be decisive about the things that I need to work on.”

After experiencing both sides–playing and coaching–Nielsen is still unsure of what the future holds for him. Whatever path he may follow, basketball will most definitely be in the picture. 

“I would really love to get into coaching when I’m done playing basketball, whenever that is,” Nielsen said. “This is my junior year, so one more year to see what I’m feeling and what my route would be to get into the league back home. I would like to play at least a little, but that could change and I could go straight into coaching.”

Thankfully a familiar challenge is on the horizon: the upcoming season. St Edward’s University men’s basketball has their first game against University of Texas Dallas on Oct. 26 during Homecoming week and goes on to face the University of Texas at Austin on Oct. 30 at Moody Center. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Anna Pratts
Anna Pratts, Sports Editor
Anna Pratts is a sophomore from Brazil and majoring in Writing and Rhetoric with a concentration in journalism and digital media and minoring in Global Studies. This is her second year writing for Hilltop Views and her first semester as Sports Editor. She loves writing about sports, especially soccer and basketball, but she is looking forward to exploring other areas and growing as a writer.

Comments (0)

Hilltop Views has a zero tolerance policy for hate speech of any kind. Comments that express prejudice against a particular group — especially on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation — will not be tolerated. Do not resort to violent or personal attacks, especially those that include foul language. You can disagree with a story, but libel and defamation will not be tolerated. Spam comments will not be published and may result in an immediate ban from making future comments on our site. Maintain privacy. Do not comment yours or anyone’s personal information. If a comment is determined to have violated the guidelines listed above, it will not be published. We encourage you to follow our guidelines and engage in productive conversations revolving around our stories. Please refer to our Media & Ethics Policy on our website for more information.
All Hilltop Views Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *