By Aime Mukendi, @Sir_Aimezing
Just over a year into the NBA, Andrew Nicholson still hasn’t found his niche.
The highlight of his rookie season was playing in the Rising Stars Challenge to kickoff NBA All-Star weekend. And even though the Orlando Magic have struggled since his arrival, Nicholson is optimistic about what’s to come.
“It’s great to be here,” Nicholson said. “I’m looking forward to the future. I just want to be better the next year and keep on building.”
Since graduating from St. Bonaventure University in May 2012, the Mississauga, Ont. native has had a busy calendar; which is a reason why he enjoyed playing close to home in Toronto. Nicholson’s schedule included 75 games for the Magic, playing five Summer League games and representing Canada in the FIBA America’s Championship.
Nicholson averaged eight points and three rebounds in 17 minutes per game in his first season. He scored a career- high 22 points on Dec. 29 against the Toronto Raptors and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds on Feb. 19 vs. the Charlotte Bobcats. In eight games of international play he averaged 15 points and three rebounds in 20 minutes per game. These milestones have allowed for Nicholson to be comfortable playing in the star-studded NBA.
“It was really cool to see LeBron,” Nicholson said. “But after a few seconds you realize he’s just another player that you have to play against, it’s just that he’s really good.”
In this year’s opener he scored 18 points in 19 minutes against the Indiana Pacers. Three weeks in, he is averaging 10 points and six rebounds while playing 20 minutes per game. After leading the Bonnies to their first Atlantic 10 championship, he has accepted a new duty in Florida.
“I have to make the best of what I’ve got,” Nicholson said. “I realize you’ve got to do whatever it takes to win even if it means playing a role on a team opposed to being the main guy.”
Despite some early achievements, Nicholson feels he hasn’t had a breakthrough moment.
“I haven’t really taken it in yet still,” Nicholson said. “I don’t think I really have had one yet. I’m just continuing to do what I do. I just continue to play the way I did when I was at Bonaventure.”