Iowa basketball walk-on Nick Neari features many of the traits Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter wants in his players.
According to most accounts, he’s hard-working, selfless and talented. He played varsity basketball for three years at St. Charles North and was a former starting quarterback for his high school football team before shifting to wide receiver.
Neari, who stands 6-foot-3, averaged more than 14 points, four rebounds and four assists a game in one of Illinois’ best conferences. He scored 30 points in a Class 4A regional. For more on Neari, I’d suggest reading this piece by Erik Jacobsen, a former colleague of mine who now works in suburban Chicago.
Neari was named player of the year by the Press-Republican (a suburban Chicago newspaper) this year. Here’s a clip on that publication’s Web site:
Neari competed against Iowa recruit Cully Payne in neighborhood basketball games as a youth. They lived in the same neighborhood and have been friends since sixth grade. Neari credits his friendship with Payne as a reason to walk on at Iowa. Neari had other chances to play at Division II and Division III schools.
Here’s a scouting clip of Neari playing football at St. Charles North: