Canadian professional basketball player Andrew Nicholson, credits founder of P.H.A.S.E.1 Global, Wayne Dawkins for lighting that initial spark that has guided his basketball journey.
“Wayne Dawkins was actually the person that got me into basketball. I remember going to a P.H.A.S.E.1 basketball camp, I think it was like 2006, and that was the first time I was actually introduced to competitive basketball and it sparked the basketball journey for me,” he said.
Nicholson distinctly remembers meeting NBA player Steve Nash at that camp, and besides being totally star-struck, he was inspired at that moment to pursue basketball and explore all the possibilities that could be found in the sport.
So even though he started out late, Nicholson went on to receive many accolades throughout his basketball journey.
He was named to the Toronto Star High School All-Stars in 2007 and 2008, and was also named MVP of five different tournaments while a senior in high school.
He then went on to St Bonaventure, as a freshman in 2008-2009, Nicholson earned Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year honours after winning the A-10 Rookie of the Week award a program-record six times.
In 2011-2012, while a senior at the university, he earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honours in addition to All-American Honorable Mention, and first-team All-Atlantic 10 and All-Defensive team honours. He became the seventh player in the 35-year history of the league to earn both Rookie and Player of the Year honours and the first St. Bonaventure Bonnie to earn the top overall award since the 1980s.
He continued his history-making streak when he became the first player in the history of the league to earn four straight Player of the Week awards. He scored his 2,000th career point and averaged a double-double in the final week of the season, posting 25.5 points and 11.0 rebounds.
He finished his four-year career at St. Bonaventure with 2,103 points, 887 rebounds, and 244 blocks in 123 games, including 118 starts.
On June 28, 2012, Nicholson was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. The following month, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Orlando Magic and joined them for the NBA Summer League. And in his first summer league game, he recorded a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds in a win over the Brooklyn Nets.
He currently plays for the Daegu Kogas Pegasus in South Korea.
In recognition of his achievement, Nicholson was one of the first players to be inducted into the P.H.A.S.E.1 Alumni Hall of Fame in 2019.
Dawkins describes Nicholson as a huge supporter of P.H.A.S.E.1’s efforts to develop basketball in other countries. And as the son of Jamaican immigrants, he was more than happy to donate to Dawkins fundraising effort to provide basketball and shoes to young Jamaican basketball players.
“Wayne has given me some good advice of what I need to do to get to the next level and he’s been following my career ever since, and me just donating to this cause is just something so little for me to do for something so big he started for me in my basketball journey,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson said this is part of his greater effort to support basketball development. He is also the Founder of the 44 Hoops initiative in Canada which he said provides basketball camps and tutoring services to youth. He also recently opened a gym in his home city of Mississauga, where he intends to host different basketball programmes.
“Wayne has given me some good advice of what I need to do to get to the next level and he’s been following my career ever since.”Andrew Nicholson
He hopes his career will inspire young players around the world to believe that “nothing is impossible unless you give up.”