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Keene State’s Men’s basketball team has been put on the map already thanks to one of their players, KSC senior Ty Nichols.
Nichols was named preseason All American, meaning he is one of the top 20 players in the Division III league. This achievement is based off the player’s statistics of the previous seasons.
“I feel honored to [be] one of the top 20 players in Division III, but it’s not something I look forward to because I’d rather much win games and championships [than]individual accolades … [It’s] not something I pride myself on. I’d rather look at team’s accomplishments,” Nichols said.
Nichols is the first player to be preseason All American since Cain has started coaching at KSC.
Cain believes Nichols receiving this award reflects the quality of their program.
“There are so many schools at our level—there are a lot of really good players at our level. Individuals because of that are often recognized when they are on good teams, so the better teams tend to have the All Americans,” Cain said.
Although Cain did not technically recruit for the basketball program from the class of 2019, he was in contact with students from that class in order to build a relationship with them before the season started in 2015.
The senior class is the only class Cain hasn’t recruited. But when he received the job, he made sure he contacted the players that were committing to coming to Keene to start a relationship, and make sure they were still coming to play for KSC. He had seen Nichols play before knowing he was going to end up coaching him. He saw him play in AAU and in the East State Championship for Ty’s high school team.
“I knew he was really good, so when I got the job, that’s somebody I wanted to reach out to and connect with and make sure he was going to follow through with his commitment to Keene State, but luckily for everyone he did,” Cain said.
From Nichols’ first year here, he believes he’s grown a tremendous amount. Nichols said he was very immature. Cain said Nichols has definitely grown as a person and a player.
“It’s been extremely impressive to see his growth from a first-year to now, but if you look at his statistics from freshman year to now, you’ll see them being drastically different to what they are now,” Cain said. Cain even calls Nichols one of the best three pointers on the team, when Nichols barely make even one per game his first year.
His first year, Nichols hadn’t always started. But that year, two players who were on the starting line-up got injured. Nichols quickly stepped up, and since then, he has started almost every game. Cain said, “[Nichols] was a major role in the team winning the conference championship and advancing to the sweet 16 that year.”
When asked to describe Ty in three words, Cain said he is talented, competitive and unselfish.
“Ty, no question, is the most talented player in our team right now, that covers so many different areas, from scoring, rebounding, making plays for other people. Ty is not selfish, his stats are very good but I think he makes really good decisions with the basketball. We want him being aggressive and making plays for himself and for the rest of the team and he does a really good job on that,” Cain said.
Hard work pays off, and it shows that when it comes to Nichols. Nichols explained that he shows up an hour early to practice to work on his shots. Then, after a two or three hour practice, he stays and continues shooting and works of every aspect of the game he needs to improve on.
Nichols has three goals in mind as of right now: LEC Championship, National Championship and to score two thousand points. His coach thinks scoring two thousand points shouldn’t even be one of his goals.
“It’ll just happen by accident. I don’t think he needs to press for it, that’s more than attainable if you look at his statics over the last years. If he just does even remotely close to what he’s done in the past I think he’ll easily accomplish his goal,” Cain said.
Nichols has high hopes he’ll accomplish this, but keeps in mind what his coach tells him. “It’s one day at a time, one practice at a time and one game at a time, so I try not to forward to that but it’s one of my goals and I think I can reach it,” he said.
Nichols started breaking records back in high school. He broke the assists record and won back to back state championships, which was a record as well.
“He’s definitely a guy that likes the big moment, he had a lot of success in high school and now we’ve had some success here since he’s been around,” Cain said.
“He was the guy making some of those plays and some of the big baskets late in the game that helped us win that conference tournament championship, and made some big shots in the NCAA tournament the two years he was able to play in the tournament. So, definitely a guy that when things are the toughest, or when we need guys to step up, he’s not afraid to do it,” Cain said.
When it comes to having a role model, Nichols doesn’t have one.
“I want to become a better player within myself, there’s nobody I model my game after or try to be like. I just want to get better on things I know I need to improve on,” he said.
Nichols hasn’t always been a basketball player, but was in fact a football player. He started playing basketball in ninth grade. He switched to basketball because of all the injuries, and the position he played didn’t help.
“I was a running back, so I didn’t like all the contact I was getting within the sport,” he said. But he’s fallen in love with basketball ever since, he said.
Nichols received Division I and Division II offers. So why Keene State?
“It not about what division you go to, but what school actually wants you, and that’s what I felt with this program,” he said.
When the season isn’t in action, you will still find Nichols on the court. During the summer, he has a strength and conditioning coach back home.
“I’m different than a lot of people, I don’t look forward to summer for partying, I stay in the gym because I know what my future holds in the game of basketball,” he said.
Nichols plans on playing basketball after graduation across seas. His top three destinations are China, Italy and France. If that doesn’t work out, he’s going to try to get a contract in the d-league. As long as it’s playing basketball, he said.
“I’m excited to see how his senior year plays out. He’s obviously had a tremendous career up to this point, but I think going into senior year, you want to solidify your reputation and he has that opportunity … I think everyone would project him to be the all-time leading scorer at Keene State by the time he’s done,” Cain said.
Head Coach Ryan Cain was named preseason All American when he played. He said this accomplishment is pretty impressive.
Adriana Sanchez can be contacted at