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How ’bout that Colin Nickerson, Eh?

ColNickersis congratulated after being drafted by Lond(Ontario) Lightning pro basketball league Canada. | SUBMITTED PHOTO

Colin Nickerson is congratulated after being drafted by the London (Ontario) Lightning of the pro basketball league in Canada. | SUBMITTED PHOTO

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Updated: November 6, 2013 3:16AM

News you can use ... or maybe not.

Waukegan High School and Fairfield University grad Colin Nickerson is headed to Canada to play professional basketball.

Nickerson was picked 20th overall (last in Round 2 of the 10-team, three-round draft) by the London (Ontario) Lightning of the National Basketball League of Canada.

He becomes the second area grad to go pro in the last month, as Warren grad Brandon Paul earlier signed to play in a pro league in Russia.

Amazingly enough, Nickerson and Paul’s basketball careers were intertwined on that fateful night in the finals of the Waukegan Sectional tournament in March of 2009 when Waukegan stunned Warren on Jereme Richmond’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer to flip the script and give Waukegan a win and Warren a loss.

Just before Richmond’s miracle shot, Paul — with Warren down by two points — was fouled while attempting a three-point shot with about four seconds to go by .... Nickerson. Paul made all three free throws to give Warren the lead, and Richmond’s final shot ended Paul’s prep career and extended Nickerson’s. Waukegan finished second at state that year, after which the 6-3 Nickerson went out east to play at Fairfield.

Nickerson never got to play in the NCAA tournament as Fairfield wasn’t able to win its league tournament in any of the four seasons that the guard played there.

Nickerson, by the way, has one distinction at Waukegan High School that probably never will be taken away from him.

As a basketball player, he improved more from his sophomore year to his junior and then senior years than any player in that school’s history. He transformed himself from a fringe/marginal player into a guard who could play four years of NCAA Division 1 hoops.

The NBL of Canada is a relatively new pro league with 10 teams that is designed to showcase basketball north of the border. Most of the players in the league are from Canada, and it’s certain that Nickerson won’t get rich playing for the Lightning.

The team has a salary cap of $150,000 and about 10 players on the team, so you can do the math. The season starts on Nov. 1 and goes until the end of February. The reason why someone would play in the NBL of Canada is to showcase skills to get offered a contract to play in Europe.

Wouldn’t it be something if, someday, Nickerson and Paul wound up on the same pro team somewhere? We can only hope.

Incidentally, so that Canada does which players to draft, they have a tryout camp for those players who are “declaring” that they want to be drafted. Nickerson attended that camp and, since he was picked, obviously he made the cut.

Don’t know if he’s right, but it’s certain that North Chicago High football coach Glen Kozlowski believes that if his team plays to its full potential, it will be playing at NIU in DeKalb for the Class 4A state title on Thanksgiving weekend.

And, of course, if that happens, the big loser is North Chicago boys basketball coach King Coleman, whose team will be playing four games in the Peoria area during Thanksgiving and likely will lose them all, given that virtually every good basketball player is on the football team.

That week in Peoria, the Warhawks will be playing Washington High on Wednesday, Bonneville High from Idaho Falls, Idaho on Thursday, O’Fallon from near St. Louis on Friday, and a team TBA on Saturday. Washington and O’Fallon are perennial hoops powers and Bonneville has a 6-5 player who’s already committed to play NCAA Division 1 hoops at the University of San Francisco.

Noteworthy on the prep fields and courts of late ...

1) Carmel’s girls golf team is 5-0 in dual meets and will play in the Waukegan Invite on Saturday (today) at Bonnie Brook. Carmel has a young team with sophomores and juniors dominating. Highland Park is the area’s best team in the sport.

2) Antioch’s boys soccer team is off to a 4-1 start, with the latest win 4-2 over Grayslake Central. Iven Hernandez had two goals and a helper in that win.

3) Vernon Hills’ boys cross country team won a 14-team meet in Sycamore in dominating fashion, with Ben Mohrdieck finishing second, Kyle Whitney fourth, Tyler Smith eighth, and Nick Webber ninth for the Cougars in a field of 154.

4) Mundelein’s boys golf team shot 150 in a match at White Deer Run Golf Course. Bret Cigelnik was medalist with an even-par 36, and Ryan Magee, Bret Cigelnik and Brett Parola shot 38.

5) The Lakes Eagles won their own four-team quad that featured Mundelein, Zion-Benton and Wauconda. Stephanie Lass of Lakes was the No. 1 singles champ and her teammate, Haley Fischer, won at No. 2 singles. At No. 3 doubles, the Eagles’ Morgan Visser/Ally Perdue finished first.

North Chicago High grad and NIU senior defensive tackle Anthony Wells has started his final year of college football on the DL.

Currently, he’s on the mend after breaking his foot. He didn’t play when the Huskies opened their season with a win at Iowa last Saturday.

Waukegan grad Rashaan Melvin’s NFL debut is likely going to have to wait. He missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with Tampa Bay with a hamstring injury suffered in the final preseason game.

Melvin made the Bucs’ 53-man roster as an undrafted free-agent defensive back. Only 45 of a team’s 53 players suit up on game day.

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