Boys Basketball: Mount Carmel’s David Nichols healed — and then some
By Pat Disabato email@example.com February 19, 2014 8:58PM
David Nichols, of Mount Carmel, makes a move the the basket against DeLaSalle at Mouth Carmel, Friday, December 13th, 2013, in Chicago. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 20, 2014 2:22AM
A year ago, David Nichols was rehabilitating a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee and a broken bone in his leg. His season abruptly had been ended by a fluke injury.
Before that, Nichols never had suffered a major injury in his life. Naturally, he was a little scared, knowing that, despite his youth, there were no guarantees he’d return to the form that made him one of the area’s most promising guards.
However, all of those concerns have been put to rest.
Nichols, a senior at Mount Carmel, has shown no ill effects from the injury. In fact, he ranks among the area’s leading scorers, averaging 19.9 points per game.
“The knee feels really good,” said Nichols, a South Holland resident. “It’s sore now and then, but I play through it. The trainers at Mount Carmel are wonderful. They deserve all the credit for how good my knee feels now.”
The injury occurred during the third game of the 2012-13 season at the Chicago Heights Classic Thanksgiving Tournament. A player from South Shore pushed a Mount Carmel player into Nichols.
“I heard a snap in my knee and it hurt like hell,” Nichols recalled of the incident. “I didn’t know how bad it was. Our trainer told me right away I had a torn MCL.”
A few days later, a doctor confirmed the original diagnosis.
After scoring 26 points in the season opener vs. Hillcrest and 18 in the second game vs. Bloom, Nichols’ season was over.
But the hard work was just beginning.
“I was disappointed,” said Nichols, who has three sisters and three brothers. “I felt like I let my teammates down by getting hurt. I thought we were going to have a really good year.”
Without Nichols, the Caravan struggled, finishing below .500. This season has been a different story. Entering play Wednesday, Mount Carmel was 19-7. On most nights, Nichols has led the way.
It’s not just because of the physical skills the 6-foot, 190-pound guard possesses. Nichols has an insatiable desire to succeed.
That intangible, along with an ability to knock down long-range shots, ranks the McKinley Junior High grad among the area’s best.
“He’s an incredibly strong-minded kid,” Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty said. “He has a hate-to-lose mentality. His best games are almost always against the best teams we play.”
And it hasn’t mattered whether he’s manned the point or slipped over to shooting guard. In fact, Nichols’ ability to play both positions should make him a more attractive commodity to colleges.
“He has shown he can play both positions,” Flaherty said. “He worked really hard to get his quickness and explosiveness back. He can play at the next level.”