By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Grant Nelson, a 2020 graduate of Devils Lake High School, has been named to the 2023-24 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Men’s Player of the Year Watch List.
The Watch List was released earlier this week and Nelson is among 50 collegiate men’s basketball players to be named as contenders for the top award.
Nelson, now playing collegiate men’s basketball at the University of Alabama, is one of the country’s top power forwards. Nelson has also been named to the Karl Malone Award Watch List, which annually recognizes the top power forward in the country.
In his first game with the Crimson Tide, Nelson led his new squad in scoring with 24 points in Alabama’s 105-73 season opening victory over Morehead State on Monday, November 6. Nelson was 7-for-12 from the field with two 3-pointers and was 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. Nelson also collected seven rebounds and two blocks in the game for Alabama.
Nelson transferred to Alabama this summer from North Dakota State University, where he played three seasons with the Bison.
Following the 2022-23 collegiate men’s basketball season, Nelson participated in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft Combine held this past spring in Chicago. Though he received much scouting buzz at the professional level, Nelson opted to return to the collegiate ranks with Alabama, a program that competes in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Prior to his collegiate basketball career, Nelson excelled for the Devils Lake Firebirds, helping his squad to the 2020 NDHSAA Class A Basketball State Tournament.
During his senior season at Devils Lake, Nelson was named North Dakota Mr. Basketball by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NDAPSSA) and was a NDAPSSA All-State First Team Selection.
Nelson averaged 25 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks per game his senior season with the Firebirds.
Nelson also was a NDAPSSA All-State Second Team Selection his junior season at Devils Lake High School.
Nelson finished his prep boys basketball career with 1,058 and 848 rebounds.
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