Enjoying a banner senior season as the leading scorer on an undefeated team, David Nicholson could easily find countless special moments where he did this or that to help the Wildcats win a game.
But when asked to name one, the senior guard didn't come up with one of his big nights.
Instead, he picked the Wildcats' thrilling 72-70 overtime win against Anne Arundel County rival Annapolis on Dec. 9 when, sitting on the bench after fouling out, he watched teammate Darien Bryant hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer.
In his third year on varsity, Nicholson, a team captain, averages 19 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and three steals per game. Just as important, he is a strong leader who brings a team-first approach to the Wildcats (16-0).
Off the court, he is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Young Men of Character, and he is a volunteer mentor at Ruth Eason School, which serves special needs students. Nicholson also works at the National Security Agency in Fort Meade as an office assistant.
With a weighted 4.4 GPA, Nicholson is still undecided on a college, but he would like to study physics or engineering and play basketball at the next level.
As a team captain, what do you think makes a strong leader?
First, a leader has to set a good example on the court by showing, as well as being a verbal leader to pick up teammates when they may be down.
How did making varsity as a sophomore on a senior-laden team benefit you these past two seasons as a starter?
It taught me how important it was to work hard. My sophomore year was probably the most competitive team we had in practice. They were athletic and hard working, and it made you work that much harder. Now I'm trying to do the same with our younger guys to keep that going.
What will be the keys to an extended playoff run?
We can't get complacent and have to continue the hard work in practice. Even though we're winning, we still always have to come out hard in every game.
In the final minutes of a close game, how are you feeling?
I just try to stay calm. Some players may be alarmed by the moment of the game, but I just try to keep my head and think smart, try to make the best decisions possible.
What's the best advice you've received?
Coach Starr gave the whole team a good motto for us to go by. It was from Kobe Bryant, something like the best players are the ones who are always on edge.
What's your most memorable game playing for Arundel?
That Annapolis game — the buzzer-beater in overtime. That was a great feeling. I was happy the whole next day. It was amazing, and words can't describe it. I had fouled out in the fourth quarter, so I was sitting on the bench. The coach called a play in the huddle, and Darien Bryant went around a screen, and I just saw the ball go up and then it was in.
What's it like being a senior in high school?
It's great. I kind of feel like the big man on campus now. I know a lot more people this year, and they look up to me. Before, I might see a senior and ask them what they're doing. But now people come to me to find out what's going on.