Nickel's high school career off to historic start
Tyler Nickel is only sixteen years old but he looks like a man among boys on the basketball court.
"He's just different," said Carey Keyes, who coaches Nickel at East Rockingham High School. "I mean that in the most positive way possible. He is so driven to be the best."
Nickel, a 6'6" forward, just finished his sophomore season at East Rockingham where he averaged 26.7 points per game to go along with 7.8 rebounds per contest. He earned First Team All-State honors from the VHSL while helping guide the Eagles to an appearance in the state semifinals.
But perhaps Nickel's most impressive accomplishment was announced earlier this week when Keyes received confirmation from the VHSL that Nickel's 1,464 career points is the most ever by a boys basketball player through their sophomore year in Virginia High School League history. Nickel scored 662 points as a freshman in 2018-2019 and 802 points as a sophomore this past season.
"It means a lot," said Nickel. "When you look at the history of the VHSL..I think it's kind of crazy because of who all came through this state."
Keyes added: "To score that many points in two seasons is just amazing. He is a different breed with his work ethic and how much he wants to be the best."
Nickel will likely have a chance to break the VHSL all-time scoring record of 2,801 points which is held by former Gate City star Mac McClung. He's also already a bonafide NCAA Division I recruit. Nickel is currently ranked as the No. 3 recruit in Virginia for the Class of 2022 by PrepHoops.com. He currently has four D1 offers: Virginia Tech, VCU, JMU, and Old Dominion.
However, Nickel still has two more years of high school basketball left and he has only one goal in mind.
"State championship," said Nickel. "That's really all I got my mind around right now is I want to be a state champion. We have gotten very close two years in a row but very close isn't good enough."