After three years with the Providence Friars, Jimmy Nichols Jr. announced that he will be transferring to VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) to continue his education and collegiate basketball career in 2021.
Nichols spent three years with the Friars, navigating his way through a plethora of injuries along the way. Every time that it looks like Nichols was getting his footing and putting all the aspects of his game together, another nagging setback would pop up and start things all over again. Over his 3 seasons, Nichols played in a total of 51 games, starting in more than half of those (27). Of course, over that span, he played in 30 of a possible 34 games his Freshman year, 5 of a possible 31 his Sophomore year (that would have been more if the season was not cut short), and 16 of a possible 26 this past year (eye injury). That is a total of 40 missed games across three seasons.
Nichols will have 3 years of eligibility left after medically redshirting for his Sophomore season (foot injury) and receiving an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA for this past season. This past season, Nichols upped his efficiency in every aspect of his game, notching career highs in basically every measurable statistic. He shot 54.3% from the field, 40.9% from three, and 85.7% from the line. Any team could use those type of shooting numbers on their team, especially from a frontcourt player. Even with improvements across the board, Nichols still only averaged less than 17 minutes per game seemingly falling in and out of playing time throughout the season. Sure, the end of the year stats don’t jump off the page at you (6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.5 bpg, 0.6 spg) but the talent is absolutely there to succeed.
The 6’8” lankiness of Nichols still makes him quite an intriguing player. He has shown that he has the skills to play for a high level college program and unfortunately, VCU will get to prosper from the veteran years of the South Carolina product. This is one of those situations where I think new scenery is just what the player needed. There was no fault in either the player or the team, rather a series of unlucky bumps in the road over the last couple of years. With both Nate Watson and Noah Horchler opting to return for an additional year of eligibility and Legend Geeter and Rafael Castro joining the team in the Fall, a new start is probably makes sense for all involved, no matter how much I selfishly wanted Slim Jim Nichols to stay.
Nichols final three list coming out of Conway, SC were Providence, South Carolina (obviously), and Miami, but VCU was one of the teams that did offer him while playing at Conway High School as well. Coach Mike Rhoads has been the Head Coach of VCU since 2018 following 3 years at Rice, so he is already familiar with Nichols from the team’s time spent recruiting him.
The VCU Rams finished 2nd in the A-10 last year, finishing the season with a 19-7 record. Their basketball season was met with what must have been a huge heartbreak after making the NCAA Tournament (10 seed) when positive COVID tests amongst their team forced them to forfeit their opening round game against Oregon. The Rams leading scorer last season, Nah’Shon (Bones) Hyland, is most likely going to enter the NBA Draft, so there will be opportunity there for someone on the team to step up, probably multiple players. Also, Bones Hyland is an absolutely fucking awesome nickname for a basketball player.
VCU is a stellar defensive squad, ranking inside the top 30 in the country in most of the team statistics that you’d want to see.
Steal % – 13.1 (3rd)
Block % – 14.8 (5th)
Turnover % – 23.7 (9th)
Adj. Def. Efficiency – 90.2 (14th)
Effective Defensive FG % – 45.8% (19th)
3-point % Defense – 30.5% (27th)
2-point % Defense – 45.9% (37th)
Here are some highlights of Jimmy’s time at PC that I’ve put out there over his time in Friartown.
Best of luck with the Rams Jimmy, and continue to demolish the Rams if you could. We can continue our hate together at your next step, which is a plus.