The official scholarship signing of Grace Academy’s Corey Nelson completes one the most impressive incoming freshman classes recorded by Lee University men’s basketball coach Tommy Brown since taking the head post seven years ago.
Earlier Brown landed Jervon Johnson, an Ooltewah all-stater, Jarod Rhodes of Cleveland High and Bradley Central’s Darien Johnson. He reached outside the area to bring in 6-foot-10 Livingston Academy big man Logan Ramsey, and Kymon Woods, an extremely talented athlete from Gainesville, Ga.
Nelson played four years of football and basketball for Grace. As a senior, the 6-foot-5, 180-pounder averaged 22 points per game. He also pulled down eight boards while recording three blocks and three steals per outing. His leaping ability allowed him to register 60 dunks. He finished his high school career with 1,496 points.
The Eagles reached the TSSAA state tournament three times in Nelson’s four seasons. He was named the district and region MVP and to the all-state team as a senior. “Corey can be a multipurpose player in college,” said Grace coach Jon Mattheiss, who directed his club to a 20-11 season before falling to Friendship Christian in state tourney play. “As an all-around high school player, he played wherever we needed him most.”
Brown agreed with the Grace coach. “He is a real athletic player and was ranked as one of the top 30 or 40 players in the state. He also had some serious looks from D-1 programs. Talent-wise the sky is the limit for him. He already has the length to become a very good college player. Now he needs to get in the weight room and add muscle to his frame.”
The latest Lee recruit said he looked at several four-year and junior-college programs before deciding on Lee. He is a longtime friend of Ooltewah’s Johnson and played with current Flame Patrick Shaughnessy at Grace. “The Grace program is no stranger to outstanding athletes,” noted Brown. “They have produced a number of talented basketball players over the years.”
“I really liked the campus and the large crowds when I visited Lee basketball games,” said Nelson. “I kept hearing nice things about the college and I knew Shaughnessy and played against Chad Lee (former Flames) when he was at McCallie. I believe my passing skills and unselfishness are my strong points. I’ll have to work on my determination when I go against college players.”
Coach Mattheiss was in complete agreement. “He will have to improve his intensity level and play with a little more passion. In high school he was better than many of the players he went against day in and day out. At that level, it allowed him to coast at times. College ball is a different game.”