Adams States’ Beast

Cody Schuman
The Paw Print

Basketball is often a game associated with athleticism. The greatness of a player is measured through physical features such as size, strength, and explosiveness. While pure athletic ability is vital to becoming a great player, it is often overrated.

College coaches have a tendency to focus on size and athleticism when recruiting. Yet in many instances, they tend to overlook what some coaches say is the most important element in evaluating a basketball player. They refer to this intangible quite simply as “it.”

“It” quite simply is a combination of un-coachable characteristics found only within. These players represent hard work, fundamental skill, intelligence, and, above all, determination. Nick Fox, a 6 foot 7 seven freshman here at Adams State, is the epitome of a player just having “it.”

After transferring from Golden High School to Sand Creek High School before his junior season, Fox began a two year stint with the Scorpions where he helped revitalize a losing program. For the first time since the school’s birth in 1998, the boy’s basketball team finished the season with a winning record and a berth into their third state playoff.

 Fox then put together a stellar senior season averaging more than 23 points and 13 rebounds a game for the Scorpions. He garnered numerous honors, including the Colorado Springs Player of the Year and was named First Team All-Conference. He left Sand Creek, which at the time was the biggest high school south of Denver, as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

Despite these honors and leading the state in rebounds his senior season, Fox found himself without many next level offers. “I actually had to reach out to all the schools just to get my name out,” Fox said. “The only schools that expressed interest were small junior colleges.” Finally last spring, Grizzlies’ coach Matt Murdock decided to take a chance on him. Little did he know that the gamble would have a big return.

Already possessing good size and an extremely high knowledge of the game, Fox found himself to be a perfect fit at Adams State. “Well, I think it just all fit together,” he said. “They were just right for me.”

Jumping out of the gate, Fox fought his way into a steady and consistent rhythm. Through the first couple weeks of the season, Fox put together several solid performances before his break out performance against RMAC powerhouse, Metro State. Fox knocked down 24 points in just over 20 minutes of playing time.

“I’ve put in a lot of hard work, and I know the type of player I can be,” Fox said. “My teammates make me better every day.”

Two games later, Fox broke into the Adams State record books by pouring in 36 points against Chadron State in an overtime thriller, the most ever by a freshman. “It just shows that hard work pays off,” Fox said of having his name scribed into the record books. “But in reality, it meant nothing. We lost in overtime, so it was bittersweet.”

Fox would continue his phenomenal level of play over the next several weeks, highlighted by a 25 point performance against the only Division I opponent the Grizzlies faced all year, the Wyoming Cowboys. This was followed by maybe Fox’s biggest statement of the season; he completely dominated against conference foe UCCS, who chose not to pursue the hometown hoops star during recruitment. “It felt great to prove the UCCS coach wrong,” Fox said.

He faced fierce double teams and battled through emotion to score a game high 30 points and 16 rebounds. “I had so many family and friends there to watch, and I just wanted to do well for them and the team,” he said.

After the UCCS game, and quite possibly before that, the secret was out. Nick Fox is a player. Opposing teams were forced to prepare a game plan around the dynamic freshman as opposed to simply view him in a player to keep out of the paint. He displayed great footwork and developed a plethora of efficient post moves that were nearly impossible to defend one-on-one.

For the remainder of the season, Fox and the Grizzlies struggled to find the right side of the win column. The Grizzlies found themselves in the middle of an 11 game losing streak, most of which were decided in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.

 With four games remaining on the schedule, the Grizzlies were fighting for pride, hoping to end the season on a positive note. However, the task was no easy one having to face the likes of Metro State, Western State, Fort Lewis, and finishing up with Western New Mexico.

The Grizzlies proved to be up for the challenge. They ended up on top in each of their remaining games thanks, in large part, to their most consistent and dominant big man.

“We just started to play instead of worrying about certain things. Plus our defense was great, which will win you any game.” Fox finished the season off with back-to-back 30-point games, including a marvelous performance against conference leading Fort Lewis. Fox poured in 33 and grabbed a career high 17 rebounds, capped off by knocking down the shot that sent the game into overtime.

“It was probably the highlight of my season,” he said of the performance. “It was an amazing feeling.” Fox was awarded RMAC Player of the Week for his stellar performances.

He finished up the season as the team’s leading scorer averaging 17.8 points per game as well as the leading rebounder bringing down 6.8 boards a night. Putting up truly spectacular numbers, the kid who nobody thought was good enough to play in the RMAC conference, has a shot at being RMAC Freshman of the Year.

“I want to be the best at what I do,” he said. “I’m going to work really hard this summer to improve my athleticism. I want to work hard to become faster and stronger and an overall better player.” is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet