Four Different Schools but the Basketball Court Is One Constant

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Published February 5, 2020
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The Montclarion
Nahirny goes up for a shot against Kean University in a game. Chris Krusberg | The Montclarion

Nate Nahirny’s game can be described as crafty, shifty, quick and shot-heavy. These are ways in which many small left-handed guards have been described before, and Nahirny is no exception.

The six-foot-one-inch senior and finance/business double major is this year’s starting point guard on the Montclair State University men’s basketball team.

Nahirny started playing basketball around five and six years old and it became his favorite sport in middle school. He played basketball for his high school in Cypress, Texas and played for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) with the Houston Defenders and Houston Hoops.

Nahirny played on the varsity team all four years of high school, his best year being his senior year.

“My senior year we won over 20 games for the first time in like 30 years,” Nahirny said. “It was at a predominantly football school and we elevated the basketball program.”

After high school, Nahriny started out playing college-level basketball at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, a Division II school. He started four of the 28 games his freshman season. For his sophomore season, he transferred to Jacksonville College, a Division I junior college.

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Nahirny dribbles the ball down the court in a home game.
Chris Krusberg | The Montclarion

In his junior year, he transferred again, this time to Mississippi Valley State, another Division I school. During the 2017-2018 season, he started 10 of 30 games, averaging 19 minutes and four points a game. It was always Nahirny’s dream to play at the Division I level.

“Coming out of high school and playing AAU on the circuit and playing against some of the best players in the country was when I knew I could play Division I,” Nahirny said.

During his junior year, Nahirny was a combo guard playing multiple positions, either bringing the ball up the court and making plays or spot-up shooting.

After that season Nahirny was looking to transfer for a third time. He was looking to transfer to a Division II school, but was not allowed to.

“I had about three or four Division II schools that were contacting me,” Nahirny said. “I was set to take visits to those schools, but because of some NCAA rule I was not going to be eligible immediately because it was my second four-year transfer.”

This season Nahirny is averaging 27 minutes played and almost 11 points and three assists a game. Early on in the season, Nahirny took over the games with 19 points and seven assists against Whitman College, 26 points against Bridgewater College and an 18-point, 10 rebound double-double against Wilkes University.

Marlon Sears, the former head coach of the Montclair State Red Hawks, already had a relationship with Nahirny when he was an assistant coach at Cornell University and recruited Nahirny while he was in high school. This season, the Red Hawks have a new head coach, Justin Potts.

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Nahirny hits a layup in a home game.
Chris Krusberg | The Montclarion

“He came over and implemented his own style and his own way of thinking [about] the game and so we’ve embraced that,” Nahirny said. “He’s been great in introducing that style and incorporating it into us as players.”

Potts plays a unique style by full-court pressing almost the entire game. Nahirny has had experience with this technique in the past.

“I had experience full-court pressing a lot playing AAU basketball and playing at Jacksonville College and Mississippi Valley,” Nahirny said. “That’s something we did, we didn’t press the whole game though but we did press a lot of the game.”

Nahirny has experience playing in all three divisions of college basketball which is rare. There is a big difference between the way the sport is played in Division I and the two lower divisions.

“The size and the speed [is different],” Nahirny said. “So for instance, playing the wing in a Division II and Division III school is a lot of six-foot-one-inch [and] six-foot-two-inch guards. When you get to Division I you see a lot six-foot-six-inch [and] six-foot-seven-inch wings.”

Wherever Nahirny ends up next, whether it’d be at Montclair State or somewhere else, it’s a guarantee that he’ll be on their court.

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