Nelson eager for new challenges at next level
One of the best girls’ basketball players in the history of South Lafourche High School has a new home for the future.
Senior forward Victorianna Nelson signed with Southwest Mississippi Community College last Monday, ending a lengthy recruitment for the four-year Lady Tarpons’ starter.
Nelson was an undersized, 5-foot, 7-inch post player for a Lady Tarpons’ team which made the Top 28 this past season for just the third time in school history. She was a force, averaging a double-double, while earning All-District honors.
Nelson said she chose Southwest Mississippi over interest from several other programs around the Southeast. She said she’s blessed to officially have a home at the next level.
“It feels good,” Nelson said after signing. “I knew I just had to be patient and keep faith. I’m just really thankful.”
Southwest Mississippi Community College is getting one heck of a player.
With the Lady Tarpons, Nelson was a post, because that’s what the team needed because of its lack of size down low.
She played the role in style, serving as one of the area’s leaders in both scoring and rebounding for each of the past several seasons, while also helping establish the Lady Tarpons as a state playoff contender for all four of her seasons with the team.
But those who study the game and know Nelson’s history know that she has more to offer than a role as an undersized post.
Nelson has handles and can dribble like a guard. She was often one of the Lady Tarpons’ ball-handlers when pressed.
She’s also an amazing athlete, which allows her to defend multiple positions. She has the strength to work posts much larger than her, yes.
But Nelson also can defend guards and small forwards, as well.
Offensively, Nelson has a polished game. She has post moves and elite footwork, which will enable her to back down smaller defenders. But she also has a face-up game, which allows her to blow by or shoot over the top of bigger defenders. Nelson is a plus-free-throw shooter and has a soft touch from 14-18-feet.
At the next level, she figures to be a small forward or power forward. She said the coaches at Southwest Mississippi loved her versatility and her willingness to do anything to help the team win.
“Their basketball program has been doing really well,” Nelson said. “They liked my work ethic, my energy and my skill set. They think I’d be a great fit for some of the components that they’ll be losing with some of their sophomores leaving.”
But no matter what challenges and triumphs that come with the college game, Nelson said it will be weird to not be a Tarpon.
Since Biddy, Nelson has played with the same core group of players – young ladies like Traya Bruce, Ramey Messer and others who have helped spark a basketball resurgence for girls in Lafourche Parish.
Nelson won a Biddy International Championship as a member of the South Lafourche Biddy Basketball program. She won a State Championship at Larose-Cut Off Middle School. On both teams, she played with that same core group, which later ascended to South Lafourche and made the Top 28.
Nelson said she wanted to thank her teammates, the Tarpon fans and everyone who supported her throughout the past several years.
She said the first time she walks out onto the court not wearing Tarpon blue will be a little weird – even more so when she looks around the floor and doesn’t see Bruce by her side wearing the same jersey.
“It’s going to be a little weird,” Nelson said with a laugh. “But Traya and I and the rest of the girls will keep in touch. Now, for me, it’s time to meet new people and make new teammates and friendships.”
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