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Central Cath.'s Nelson commits to Fairfield

Central Catholic senior guard Tyler Nelson made a verbal commitment to Fairfield University on Monday afternoon, he told ESPN Boston.

Nelson, a 6-foot-2 sharpshooter, averaged 17.2 points per game last season for Central Catholic, leading the Red Raiders to the Division 1 North championship and garnering his second consecutive ESPN Boston All-State nomination.

This summer, playing for Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC), Nelson picked up offers from Jacksonville, George Washington, Vermont, Fairfield and Binghamton. Dartmouth offered him in January.

He narrowed his choices down to Fairfield, Binghamton, and Dartmouth, and ultimately chose the Stags.

“I recently have been thinking about it a lot, and I wanted to make my decision before the beginning of my senior year. I narrowed it down to three schools who [sic] were at a level of play I could play at and get a good education,” Nelson said following his commitment.

He visited Fairfield, unofficially, earlier in the summer, and came away impressed with what the school and the basketball program had to offer. He’ll visit Fairfield, officially, on Sept. 5.

“I really enjoyed the unofficial visit to campus, and I like the coaches a lot…I’ll have a good chance to play a lot as a freshman.”

Nelson was one of the most feared scorers on the Nike EYBL summer circuit, shooting 46.8 percent from behind the three-point line. While he admits the long summer schedule wore him down quite a bit, especially towards the end, he was able to reap the benefits and draw in widespread Division 1 attention.

“I just played out of my mind, I played well at EYBL. I was scoring well against some really good teams. I was one of the leading scorers for my team. That’s where I really did all my damage,” he said.

Playing on a relatively young BABC squad for coach Leo Papile, Nelson said he was able to pick up plenty of pointers from his AAU coach about competitiveness.

“All he wants to do is win, he doesn’t care who plays good, who doesn’t care who does what. That’s a good mindset to have going into college…you just want to win.”

There is also a noticeable amount of relief from Nelson, as he can now focus on team goals: leading Central to a deep run in yet another loaded Division 1 North field. Coach Rick Nault’s Red Raiders will again be one of the area’s most talented teams.

“I’m really pumped, I’m looking forward to having a good senior year,” Nelson said, “We’re going to be a lot better than people are giving us credit for.”

He attributes Central’s high in-house expectations to Nault, whom Nelson says is constantly pushing him to be better. As the Assistant Principal and Dean of Students at Central, Nault’s high expectations of Nelson and the team come on and off the court.

“I’ve known him a long time, he’s my favorite coach I ever played for. He’s always been there pushing me, he pushes me every day in practice. In school he’s the same way.”