Jameer Nelson Jr. Punches NCAA Tourney Ticket 18 Years After His NBA Father Started March Madness Legacy

(Photo: Getty Images)

There is nothing like a parent’s love, and Jameer Nelson Jr. knows the power of his parents, who had a tender celebration moment as junior punched his team’s NCAA ticket to the playoffs.

The junior guard helped his Delaware Blue Hens win the Colonial Athletic Association title at the Entertainment and Sports Arena on Tuesday night.

Nelson Jr. joined the Blue Hens at the beginning of the 2021 spring semester after transferring from George Washington University.

Like Father. Like Son.

It’s been 18 years since Jameer Nelson Sr. led his St. Joseph’s team to the NCAA Tournament. Now, his son has done the same thing for the Delaware Blue Hens, lifting Delaware to its sixth conference tournament title in program history. It is also their second in the Colonial Athletic Association. Now the team is waiting to learn its NCAA Tournament status during the selection show on Sunday, March 13.

Nelson and Nelson Jr. embraced before the Delaware faithful watching in the arena and before the world watching on television.

Junior Steps Up

Jameer Nelson Jr. joined teammate Ryan Allen in scoring 10 points for the Blue Hens. The team limited the UNCW Seahawks to 37.0 percent shooting from the field.

It was Delaware’s third consecutive solid defensive effort. The Blue Hens edged the second-seeded University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) 59-55. Delaware was the fifth seed.

Tournament MVP Jyare Davis dropped 18 points to lead the charge for the Blue Hens. Davis made a basket with a minute left in the game to help solidify the Blue Hens’ victory.

The Team Steps Up

In addition, Andrew Carr, who was named with Davis and Kevin Anderson to the all-tournament team, dropped a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

“I can’t say enough about our team, and our guys’ belief in each other and our program,” said Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby. “We dug in and guarded against a really good team.”

It was a full-circle moment for Jameer Nelson Sr., who began his collegiate career at Saint Joseph’s University in the 2000–01 season.

The point guard was named unanimous National Freshman of the Year.

The Nelson Way

Nelson Sr., led the Saint Joseph’s Hawks to a 27–0 regular-season record in 2003–04. Nelson and junior guard Delonte West formed arguably the nation’s most formidable backcourt.

Nelson helped the Hawks earn a No. 1 seed in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Elite Eight before losing to Oklahoma State. Saint Joseph’s finished with a 30–2 record, the best in the university’s history. Nelson’s number was retired by the university in 2004.

Black Men Show Love

Nelson Sr., would have a 14-year NBA career, playing with six teams across that span. In 2020, the Delaware Blue Coats, an NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, named Jameer Nelson as the team’s assistant general manager.

Jameer Nelson gets to watch his future mimicking his past. When Black people are finally being shown more holistically, it was a refreshing family moment for people as deserving as the basketball-playing Nelsons.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.