He’s taking his game to the next level

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2016

LAGRANGE – He’s ready for the next challenge.

Nick West has achieved tremendous success as a basketball player, first as a high-school standout at LaGrange Academy, and then on the collegiate level at Alabama A&M.

Now, there’s a new arena for West to conquer.

West, who wrapped up his senior season at Alabama A&M earlier this year, has signed on to play professional basketball in Switzerland.

West will report to his new team on Aug. 25 as he gets ready for his debut season as a professional basketball player.

“It’s very exciting,” West said from Indiana where he has been training for the past few weeks. “I haven’t really had time for it to sink in. I just want to live in the moment.”

The 6-foot-10 West capped his collegiate career with a big senior season.

West was second on the team in scoring with 14.2 points per game, and he led the team with eight rebounds a game.

West was also tops on the team with 24 blocks, and he had 16 steals and averaged 1.6 assists per game as well.

During his time at Alabama A&M, West was a member of the all-SWAC team following the 2014-2015 season.

While the team had limited success during his time there, West said he enjoyed the experience, especially during the early portions of the season when he got to face off against some of the country’s elite programs.

In last season’s opener, West scored 20 points and had eight rebounds in a 68-67 overtime win over Tulane.

“It was a lot of fun during the preseason, playing the bigger schools, and just competing against them,” West said. “We played against some great players, some that went to the NBA. It was real fun.”

When the 2015-2016 season ended, it was time for West to begin exploring his professional options.

West hired an agent, and the process began.

“After I got done, it’s kind of like an open market,” West said. “Agents talk to you, and I found one that was good for me. After I signed with him, he presented me a couple of different offers, and after he said Switzerland was kind of interested in me, I told him that’s where I would like to go if that could happen. A couple of days ago, he called and said they offered me.”

The offer came from the Lugano Tigers, and West readily accepted.

For West, going to Switzerland holds extra meaning since his father, Wally West, also played professional basketball in that country.

“They knew about Lugano,” West said. “My mom (Valerie) was real happy about it.”

West, whose sister Pascale went to Troup High and played college basketball at Auburn, had a lot of individual and team success at LaGrange Academy.

He was on teams that made it as far as the GISA state semifinals, and he was an all-state player.

Matt Dalrymple, who was West’s coach at LaGrange Academy, said he made tremendous strides as his high-school career progressed.

“He didn’t play much as a ninth-grader or a 10th-grader, and he started for me as a junior but he wasn’t great,” Dalrymple said. “His senior year, he grew three or four inches over the summer, and just really blossomed his senior year.”

Dalrymple said West has always been willing to do whatever it takes to achieve success.

“He was just one of those kids that worked really hard all the time, and he was really coachable,” Dalrymple said. “I stayed on him pretty good, but he never minded me yelling at him, or pushing him to the limit, and I know it’s been the same way in college.”

As much success as West has enjoyed, he isn’t satisfied.

“I think I need to add about 10 more pounds to get to my prime weight, about 255,” West said. “I definitely feel I can improve on my game. I haven’t maxed out anywhere.”

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports

Nick West

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/08/web1_West-mug.jpgNick West

West set to play pro basketball

By Kevin Eckleberry