First Year Stinger Nicholas Noble Cements His Place
Former Champlain Cavaliers Guard is Second Top Scorer on the Team
After coming off the bench for the Champlain Cavaliers basketball team in the past, Nicholas Noble now finds himself the starting guard for the Concordia Stingers.
Despite being restrained to a lesser role at Champlain, Noble is bearing a lot of expectations with his current team at Concordia.
“What attracted us about him is his shooting ability,” said Stingers assistant coach Damien Buckley. “We also saw that he can do other stuff he wasn’t getting the chance to do at Champlain because they had such good guards.”
Being a first year player, Noble admits that there are several aspects of his game he would like to improve—outlining his decision-making on the court being one of them. Noble also admitted that his on-court aggressiveness, and his play-making abilities, could also use some tuning.
“I was a little timid with the ball, but now, working on my handles all the time, I was able to do more of the point guard position in the game,” said Noble.
Noble is content with his improvement so far, but still wants to get better as the season progresses.
The Stingers have been unproductive from the three-point line and will lean on Noble to become a shooting threat as the season progresses.
“My role is pretty big right now,” he said. “I have to hit shots and we are not shooting well, so there is a lot of pressure on me and my teammates.”
With the little playing time Noble received at Champlain College, not everyone saw the potential he had. Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic did and it’s paying off this season so far.
“What attracted us about him is his shooting ability.” — Damien Buckley, Stingers assistant coach
“He can shoot the ball and I think he can be a very good player and be defensive down the road,” Popovic said.
While playing for Champlain College, Noble was being scouted from other universities in the United States, but those opportunities fell through as he opted to play basketball closer to home.
Bishop’s University and University of Ottawa were also on the lookout for Noble’s services. He chose Concordia University in the end; coach Popovic’s promise of playing time was the winning offer.
Noble said he was nervous playing his first University level basketball game so close to home.
“Everybody was there—my family and friends,” said Noble “I was able to hit two clutch free throws towards the end to seal the game.”
Noble’s ability to adjust to in game shows how important he is to his team. He’s also a major contributor on the team in both points and minutes played.
The Stingers currently have a 25 per cent success rate for three-pointers—the lowest amongst all U Sports basketball teams. Noble is the team’s second leading scorer and is currently averaging 9.7 points per game. Although he is putting up some impressive statistics for a first year player, Noble said that he doesn’t see his role getting any bigger. “I just have to stay consistent and improve as the season goes on,” he said.
Last year, the Stingers men’s basketball team’s main issue was shooting the ball. Popovic has already seen improvements with Noble on the court.
“He has already had some very good shooting games for us this year,” said Popovic.
Noble has some high ambitions for his first year with the team—winning the U Sports championship and becoming the league’s top rookie are among some of his priorities.
Noble is currently majoring in economics. His education is just as important to him as his responsibilities on the basketball court. “If you manage your time wisely and organize your calendar, you should be fine.”
The rookie’s improvements throughout the season are a determining factor on how the Stingers’ season will end. Concordia’s chances of completing its goal of the winning the championship will increase if Noble and his teammates improve their shooting game.
As a rookie playing such a huge role on the team with high expectations, Noble turns to Popovic and his teammates for guidance when things don’t go according to plan.
“Even when I’m not shooting the ball as well, my coach and teammates tell me to keep shooting—they always have my back,” said Noble.
The encouragement from teammates and coaching staff allow Noble to grow, as a player and this kind of encouragement will pay off as the season progresses.
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