This is an easy one, when I won the state championship my senior year playing for Chester. Playing high school basketball is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I also think playing for Chester is what really prepared me for major college basketball and eventually the NBA. You first have to understand what living and playing basketball in Chester is like. There is pressure there at an early age. The whole community rallies around the basketball team. It’s like we carry the torch for the whole city, because sometimes that’s all the city has. Chester basketball carries a positive message that not everything in Chester is bad. It is a city that has serious economic and drug problems. I don’t know if there was a kid on my team who didn’t know a drug dealer, or who had a relative who was in prison or just getting out of prison.
That whole staff instilled in me a confidence that I still carry with me today. They made you believe you could do almost anything on the court. I believed in what we could so much that I remember walking in my senior year on Mr. [Chester athletic director Randy] Legette ordering rooms in advance for Hershey [where the PIAA used to hold its basketball championships]. I remember telling him, “Go ahead, order the rooms, we’ll be there.” I remember it because we lost to Coatesville in the District 1 championship. But we didn’t think anyone could stop us. We got to the state finals and we crushed Uniontown [73-48, on March 26, 2000 behind Nelson’s 19 points and 11 rebounds]. We weren’t going to lose that night. I think something that helped that year was committing early to St. Joe’s. I never play for myself regardless of whether it’s pick-up game or in the NBA. But I knew where I was going to school, and I knew I didn’t have any extra pressure on me to perform. I could just play the game and do anything that needed to be done for us to win.
Please click title for the entire article. For more on Jameer's career on Hawk Hill click... A Tribute to Jameer Nelson.