Shane Nicely
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From Lords to Thunder

Little General Napoleon of France

Tried to conquer the world but lost his pants

Met defeat known as Bonaparte's retreat

And that's when Napoleon met his Waterloo


In 1815, Napoleon met his Waterloo, a term which is now synonymous with military downfall.

In 2003, Shane Nicely met his own Waterloo and the Revolution was of a different sort as it led to his triumph while stealing at the same time, some Thunder down Carolina way.

It was while playing in the now-defunct Ontario Professional Basketball Association (OPBA) that Canadian hoopster Shane Nicely, a 6-foot-6 power forward with the Carolina Thunder of the American Basketball Association, caught the eye of current Thunder head coach Brian Rowsom and assistant coach Tim Anderson.

"I was invited (to Carolina) by Tim Anderson and Brian Rowsom. Tim was my head coach for the Waterloo (Revolution) team in the OPBA and Brian, was the head coach for the Guelph Gladiators team in the OPBA. When they got together (with the Carolina Thunder) they both thought I would have a great chance of playing pro in Carolina. It also helped that I had 42 points and 25 rebounds against the Guelph team in the OPBA as well!"

A graduate of Durham College Lords program in Oshawa, Ontario, not Laurentian University as mentioned in some sources, Nicely was a dominant force in Canadian college hoops.

"I actually played at Durham College where the highlights were winning provincial and national championships and being MVP of provincials and MVP of the (1997) national championship game," recalled Nicely, who averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds during his college career.

An aspiring actor, he was featured in a Nike shoe commercial, Nicely has had an inside look at the NBA show.

"I had a lot of offers to go overseas to play, but I decided to pursue an acting career, but just can't get rid of the ball bug! I worked out for the Toronto Raptors and was invited to play for the Orlando Magic Summer League team, Also I played in the LA Summer League, where I was ranked the 4th most productive player."

A member of the GT Express since 1998 - an all-star team based out of Toronto Ontario composed of former Canadian university and college players - Nicely states that the ABA is top calibre basketball.

"ABA is definitely a step up from GT Express and the OPBA Waterloo team," says Nicely. "This is a league for players trying to make it to the NBA or top dollar in Europe. A lot of ex-NBA players are currently playing in this league. We have two ex-NBA players on our team trying to get back in the NBA. The league definitely gives players the opportunity to be seen. We have already had a couple of NBA scouts at our games."

Hopefully the fans realize the talent in the ABA as the Thunder drew only 375 and 75 fans to their first two home games. The 35-team league has a scheduled 36-game regular season schedule.

The description of Nicely in the Carolina Thunder website includes: "Nicely was looked upon to provide plenty of offensive punch. Nicely hangs his hat on his slashing, athletic ability, and his nose to track down the missed shot. While being a decent scorer from distance, Nicely realizes that he has to work to gain some consistency from his jump shot"

Nicely describes himself as a "very versatile player. I am a slash and drive, love to post up, can hit the three. But I take pride in playing defense and rebounding. I love being on the court so I try to make it very hard for a coach to take me out of an game!"

It is this talent that has led Nicely to be mentioned in the possible selection to Frozen Hoops (www.frozenhoops.com) "Top 100 Canadian Basketball Players of All Time".

Asked as to whom should be in the Top 10, and of his own honour, Nicely remarked.

" It feels great to be recognized as a 'Top Canadian Player' thanks. It would be very hard to pick a top 10, so I will leave that up to you. Although (Phoenix Suns) Steve Nash is doing some big things so he would be up there! "

Nicely said he was disappointed that the OPBA failed and had this opinion on a chance for a future professional Canadian basketball league.

"People believe that we don?t have a market for it. Years ago when people only had only hockey nets in their driveway, I would agree. But now if you drive around your block you'll definitely see more basketball nets and kids playing ball at the park. We just need the right people involved and some help from the government. It will happen!"

Of his own future in the game Nicely concluded: "I think as in any sport you want to be able to play on the world stage against top competition and being as competitive as I am I would love to play in the NBA. I would also love to give back to kids that have dreams like I had growing up so also one day have my own camps or even coach."

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