By JOSH NEWMAN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When Nurideen Lindsey played basketball at Overbrook High School, the alma mater of Wilt Chamberlain, he says he did so not with visions of becoming a professional, but because he wanted to stay off the streets. That, plus one other very good reason.
“I never had any idea that I would be working out for an NBA team,” Lindsey told SNY.tv after working out for the Nets. “I didn’t play basketball in high school to be a professional. I did it because my younger brother enjoyed watching me do it. He loved it and it kept me out of trouble.”
Things changed for Lindsey once his younger brother, Halim, was murdered in 2009. He began to take basketball more seriously, hoping to make a living out of the sport. Things have been rocky the last few years, but Lindsey has finally arrived on the cusp of beginning his professional career. From Redlands Community College to St. John’s to Rider, the 6-foot-3 point guard found his way to PNY Center on Monday for his first NBA workout.
With the NBA Draft just 10 days away, Lindsey is about to find out if an NBA front office will forget the past and take a waiver on the enigmatic talent, who also had a second brother murdered, plus had his best friend succumb to cancer.
From New Jersey, Lindsey said he will work out for the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
“I don’t think this week is any more crucial than the whole summer,” Lindsey said. “This whole time, I’ve been working and preparing myself as if the draft was everyday that I worked out. I’m just trying to get better everyday, I earned my way here and whichever route I go, I’ll do whatever I have to do to stay here.”
Lindsey acknowledges the fact that he may have to go overseas at first to get back to the NBA and the reason is understandable.
A dangerous scoring threat at Redlands, Lindsey wound up at St. John’s and showed great promise early, averaging 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds over the first nine games of the 2011-12 season. At that point, he abruptly announced he would be transferring. He offered a verbal commitment to Arkansas, but ultimately wound up at Rider, complete with a hardship waiver to play immediately despite the transfer.
In his lone season in Lawrenceville, he started in 30 games and played in 32 for the 19-15 Broncs, averaging 8.0 points and just 2.8 assists per game. The most troubling number from last season was the team-leading 102 turnovers.
“I definitely didn’t play up to expectations, but it was a learning experience,” Lindsey said. “I had a great coaching staff, great teammates and I learned a lot throughout the year, matured a lot throughout the year. It wasn’t the kind of year I expected out of myself, but ultimately, that’s why I’m working the way I am right now, to show that I’m a totally different player than the way I finished out at Rider.”
Lindsey does not currently appear on any reputable mock drafts.