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Prospect Talk: Amir Nesbitt - Nov 10, 2018

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Amir Nesbitt
by Keion Robinson

After taking the visit to spectate the men's basketball team of Virginia Academy (Ashburn, VA) back in September, I immediately determined that the 'eye test' of the Patriots would make them a must-see program once the winter season arrived. The roster has it all with height, length, strength, athleticism, and simply that 'it factor.' When watching them go at it on the court, the skill level stands even more apparent. Combining those physical gifts with knowledge of how to play the game should make the team a lethal one up in the Northern Virginia region. Still, most will acknowledge that every successful program needs that one guy who can go out there and take control whenever games start to become tightly-played; these specific players have a bit of that 'mamba mentality' in them. Time will tell obviously, but I see Amir Nesbitt (182-PG-01) '20 having the greatest possibility of taking over this type of role for the Patriots. Playing as a 6'1 combo guard, the junior enjoyed a stellar first season with the team last season and has seen growth this summer within his already-mature play and approach to the game.

When he arrived to Virginia Academy last fall, it didn't take long for Nesbitt to sense that the Patriots' coaching staff and players would require more from him than just putting the ball in the basket.

'For the past years, people have seen me as just a shooter, mainly,' Nesbitt noted. 'But, coming here, I'd say the biggest adjustment involved me having to take on more of a leadership and playmaking role. It helped a lot because now I know how to score at all three levels and get my teammates involved.'

Right there by Nesbitt's side to help him become acclimated to new adjustments was head varsity coach Chris Rhone (a guy I love watching instruct on the hardwood). Rhone had a highly successful hoops career in his own past as a guard, which most likely played a big role in his connection with the Patriots' talented prospect.

'It's good playing for Coach Rhone; I see him as a strong mentor who always stays on us to make sure we keep getting better every day. It starts with practice.'

Once the season games started rolling, it didn't take long for Nesbitt to get into his groove; the guard exploded on the scene and finished with impressive numbers of 19 PPG and 3 APG. His most memorable moment arguably occurred when he knocked down a three-point buzzer beater to defeat Sidwell Friends. The clutch shot earned him the 'DMV Metropolitan Awards Play of the Year' back in March. In addition, he made a spot on the VISAA Division II all-state second team. When looking at him operate on the court, it's no wonder why opponents have such a difficult time containing him. Nesbitt's strength and body control makes him a big threat in getting into the mid-range area, where he can stop on the dime and elevate for quick jumpers. His range stretches out to well beyond normal three-point range, overall making him a complete three-level scorer. When defenses focus too much on him, the poised guard does excellent in taking time to notice a cutting teammate. His ability to make contact with defenders and then create space helps lead to many of his offensive outbreaks.

At the conclusion of his sophomore season, Nesbitt turned his focus to spring/summer ball, playing on the Boo Williams 16u squad. However, his summer resulted in a bit of a different fashion once he received an invite to play on the Virgin Islands Senior Men's National FIBA team in July. The national squad competed in the CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games) located within Barranquilla, Columbia. After a successful showing, he went on to earn another invite to again participate with the team for competition in Venezuela and Brazil. A year earlier, he performed for the Virgin Islands U16 team. With now two years of participation on national teams, Nesbitt can definitely give some insight to those who may inquire about the experience.

'Man, it's definitely different the game's a lot faster and everybody plays more physical. To sum it up, all the players are REALLY good when competing over there. Can't treat anyone or any game lightly. I had a primary role of scoring for that team, still playing as a combo guard.'

With a busy schedule taking up his summer, Nesbitt found himself having to make a couple of sacrifices in balancing out his national team and AAU play.

'Playing for the two teams didn't interfere too much but I did miss our last two AAU tournaments. Our team went to compete at the 'Spooky Nook' complex (Manheim, PA) and also down in Florida. AAU went pretty good overall though. We could've won a few more games to make it to Peach Jam but that's just something we'll have to grow from. One of the best moments of the season was when my man, Allen (Strothers '21) hit a game-winner to beat Team BBC in the Southern Jam Fest 16u Championship. It was tough, a short pull-up jumper in overtime.'

Since the end of his breakout sophomore season, Nesbitt has started to see his recruitment take off. VCU, James Madison, Stony Brook, and Bryant University all offered throughout the summer. Other programs, including Baylor, Yale, and George Mason have expressed interest as well. He currently doesn't have any upcoming visits scheduled. As he now enters this season as an upperclassmen, the modest guard acknowledges that more expectations will start to arise from his coaches, teammates, and fans.

'Coach Rhone has talked with me about becoming more of a vocal leader. I know how to show by example but we both agree that my voice will need to be heard more moving forward. For my own game, I've just been putting work in the gym to become stronger, faster, and tightening up my handle mostly. A lot of different little things too.'

It's safe to say that Nesbitt lives in the gym. He doesn't like to take many days off, not even on the weekends. When not playing ball, however, you can expect to find him doing one of three things:

'Playing Fortnite, 2k, or hanging out with friends.'

The scariest aspect of Nesbitt's game pertains to how he's just begun his rise to stardom. With another two seasons ahead of him, I'm sure he has plenty more tricks in his bag to show audiences in the stands. He still shows some small disappointment when expressing how Virginia Academy lost in the first round of the state tournament to Norfolk Collegiate last season. Keeping that thought lingering in the back of his mind, along with confidence from his standout summer, should more than serve as motivation for Nesbitt to attack this winter with a vengeance. If anybody can do it, he's the one; his feel for the game and maturity stand well above the standard for a junior. This year's talented Patriots should have a good run within the VISAA Division II classification with their skillful combo guard leading the way.

Ok, so where does Amir Nesbitt see himself in ten years?

'I see myself playing professional basketball.'

Look out, DMV!   

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