Kipper Nichols Becoming Hot Name

By Jeremy Birmingham on March 26, 2014 at 4:00p

On Monday night, we profiled Kyle Ahrens, one of the top juniors in Ohio high school basketball without a Buckeye scholarship offer. Ahrens is one of a handful of top-flight talents hoping to draw a deeper look from Thad Matta and his staff. That list includes a couple of players from the traditional Buckeye stronghold of Northeast Ohio. 

Kipper Nichols is one of Ahrens' (and Luke Kennard, and V.J. King, and A.J. Harris') AAU teammates. A smooth small forward from Lakewood St. Edward outside of Cleveland, is definitely on that list and the Buckeyes are starting to take notice.


"I've been talking lately with coach (Buckeye assistant Jeff) Boals, pretty often in fact before we left to go down to Columbus (for the state tournament,)" Nichols told Eleven Warriors about his developing relationship with the Buckeyes. "Ohio State has a great tradition there. They have great rivalries and have had a lot of great players. I also really like the Big Ten. They want to get me on campus and have told me they're looking forward to seeing me this spring."

With offers from Penn State, Xavier and Dayton to his credit, Nichols is a relatively "late bloomer" in the basketball recruiting world. He's beginning to hear from a number of other schools. 

"Clemson, Xavier, Cincinnati and a couple others, he said of what schools have recently picked up their interest. "I'm hoping to hear from Florida too because I've always really liked them."

A 6-foot-7, 212 pounds and still growing (Nichols expects to grow another inch or two before he's finished,) the versatile Nichols is capable of playing inside or outside. He prefers a fast-paced offense, and that's one thing he really likes about Thad Matta's Buckeye teams. 

Nichols is one of Ohio's rising stars
Kipper Nichols is making quite a name for himself.

"I really like that (Matta) lets his players go, offensively," he said of the Buckeyes' system. "We run a flex system now at St. Ed's, we do high/lows, and sometimes we'll go four out and one in. I like to run more, but our system doesn't allow us all that freedom, so we learn to play in the offense and help find the right shot."

Clearly, the system is working at St. Ed. The Eagles just won Ohio's division one state title, and Nichols was a major part in the victory.  Nichols had 26 points in the state finale, including two clutch free throws to ice the game in the closing seconds of overtime. Still, the star remains humble. 

"I don't really remember," Nichols said when asked of his state line in the state title game.

The answer itself was almost unbelievable; no one forgets 26 points on 11-15 shooting to win a state championship. Big games behind him for now, Nichols will focus on what's next: continuing to improve his game. 

"My outside shot has really improved recently, I always want to guard (my opponent's) best player and I think I can provide versatility (because I can) guard every position," he said giving a self-analysis of his game. "I've been working hard on my ball-handling, but really I need to work on everything to get better."

St. Edward is an athletic powerhouse, and with that comes the responsibility of taking care of things off the court as well. Nichols says he's doing just that.

"My grades are good," he said of his academic standing. "This year was a good one. I haven't taken the ACT or SAT yet, but I did take a PSAT and I did pretty well on it."



Comments Show All Comments

toad1204's picture

6'7" and he's expecting another 2 inches of growth... Just offer him please. 

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

+3 HS
beamga's picture

I watched him play this past weekend down at the Schott.  Looked like he could help out the Bucks right now. 

NGBuck21's picture

I made the trip there as well. What did you think of Bragg and VJ King? I was extremely underwhelmed with Bragg, more so impressed with Pardon, his teammate, and for the second straight year at State I thought VJ completely disappeared again.

beamga's picture

I only caught the championship games on Saturday so I did not see King play but I thought Bragg could have done a lot more with the matchup he had on offense.  Of course I think that could be said for almost the entire VASJ team.  

+1 HS
stripesman's picture

Bragg was not very good against a Bishop Ready team on Friday, going against a 6'5" player and scoring only 11.

Barnsey69's picture

No wonder UA, and ditto previous comment!

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

bergy22's picture

2015 is loaded in Ohio. 

+2 HS
MacG91's picture

I know its natural to make comparisons but some aspects of his game reminded of DeShaun Thomas'.


buckeye4life050233's picture

not as much of a shot selection that Thomas came in with and he is better defensively than Thomas ever was

Damonbuckeye's picture

I'm not usually a recruiting enthusiates but these kids coming out of Ohio in the next few years are remarkable..

+3 HS
bethesdabuck's picture
+2 HS
nrbuckguy's picture

So it kind of looking like he will be competing with esa ahmad for a spot in this class. If Bragg decides to go elsewhere...

In Urban We Trust

Seattle Linga's picture

I prefer Esa Ahmad from Shaker Heights - didn't make it to Columbus this year but a REAL player

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Ahmad added a Wisconsin offer tonight.

Seattle Linga's picture

Good for him - Does he have one from us? I don't want him going anywhere but here!

tennbuckeye19's picture

No OSU offer yet. But WVU, Maryland, IU, Iowa State, Miami FL, Xavier, and now Wisconsin, among others, have all offered him.

pdan46's picture

This is the kind of player we need to get!  Guys who outperform more highly touted players.  Guys who know how to play team basketball.

Would love to see us get Howard, Nichols, Ahrens, Ahmad and Giddens!  And, of course, Bragg too, and keep Mitchell!

+1 HS
wyatt's picture

Just watched UConn beat Kentucky for the national title. OSU sure needs some big men with good hands who can pass, catch and rebound with the big boys. I don't see it at this point, but Myles Turner is still available and could put this program to a new level.