Sa’eed Nelson Looks to Build Upon His Freshman Campaign

Sa'eed Nelson
Photo Credit: American University

Last season, Sa’eed Nelson had a season any Freshman would dream of. He made the Patriot League All-Rookie team. Three times he was named to the Patriot League “The Rock” Rookie of the Week. The point guard was a starter from day one and was adept at running Coach Mike Brennan Princeton style offense.

With all that, Nelson still feels like he has plenty of room to improve. One of those areas is conditioning. He played 40 or more minutes in 14 games. With all of the minutes comes a burden, both mentally and physically.

Now I know going into this season I’m going to be playing a lot of minutes…. I’m ahead of the game (kinda) I know what to expect on and off the court. Just getting my body to fight through it the whole season. – Sa’eed Nelson

A key part of his game is driving the ball to the basket. Defenders found it hard to keep him in front of them. Eventually teams adjusted by putting more help defense in the lane. This meant Nelson would have to fight through more contact. His 6’1″ frame absorbed a lot of punishment that wasn’t there in the high school game.

Guys are bigger and just the changed of speed. High school you could take a couple of possessions off…walk around on defense here and there. College every possession counts. You gotta be in shape. It’s a must. – Sa’eed Nelson

The need to improve his perimeter shooting was something he recognized. Last season, he shot just 21.4% from the three point line and his shooting percentage was up and down as the Eagles got to the late stages of the season. It’s something Nelson worked on this summer and felt like the made significant improvement.

“I worked on that (shooting) lot this summer. I know I didn’t shoot great from the 3 point line last year or the free throw line” Nelson said. But his confidence that his shooting will improve stems from shooting, at least, 300 shots a day during the offseason. Add work ethic to the list of items that makes the rising sophomore smart well beyond his years.

Nelson knows teams will game plan for him this season and he’s spent the offseason preparing for that. With the Eagles having a significant amount of turnover on the roster, Coach Brennan can rest easy knowing he has a point guard who is showing he’s a great leader on and off the floor.

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