Nicole Melious has been with the Hoopers NY since the sixth grade. So, it is only fitting that as her AAU career draws closer to its final curtain, she is kicking it into high gear, making a profound basketball statement with her dazzling hardwood actions.
Melious, a Staten Island, New York, native, has averaged 29.1 points per game, with an incredible 44 made three-pointers in seven contests between Orlando Splash and Ohio National Basketball AAU tournaments.
More importantly, Melious has carried the offensive and team-leading workload, as the Hoopers NY 17U squad was hit with a rash of injuries, including Maine-Endwell’s Kaety L’Amoreux, who endured a raptured appendix, and Arlington’s Maya Watts, who went down with a concussion.
But the 17-year-old dynamo has had a ton of help from a cast of gifted players: New Dorp rising sophomore guard Jordanna Schrecker, Ursuline School rising senior guard Sofia Santorelli, rising 6-foot-3 Millbrook rising junior forward Natalie Fox and rising junior combo guard Grace Ziogas.
Proof positive, Melious gathered the talented, determined troops and went on to edge the Alabama Twisters, 48-46, on Sunday morning to advance to the semifinals of the Ohio National Championships. The 5-foot-9 guard drained 29 points in the quarterfinal win.
Melious’ productivity is not lost on the competition, as well as Hoopers NY director Bryan Williams, 17U Hoopers NY Head Coach Dan Melious, the father of Nicole Melious, noted.
“According to a few AAU coaches, ‘you know playing the Hoopers, you have to slow down Nicole,”‘ he said. ‘”You look up and she has 30 points. You realize once she steps on the court, it’s 25-plus.”‘
Wiliams said, “Nicole is the female (Stephen) Curry. In 20 years, I’ve seen great players but no one that shot and scored the ball like Nicole. She has held down the program for a long time and is great. With all the injuries that happened this season, Nicole kept her team in games by doing it all. She has been a great leader.”
Melious will conclude her AAU career with one more summer stop in Atlanta from August 20-21 at the All-Star Girls Report, and then a short fall season with three tournaments and the Rose Classic in Brooklyn.
After that, it is back to Wagner High School hoops, where Melious, who has posted 2003 points, will chase the 3000-point scoring mark and a second New York Sports Writer Player of the Year honor. Plus, if things fall accordingly, another trip to the PSAL finals and hopefully, a championship. She also within reach of becoming Staten Island high school’s all-time scoring leader, male and female.
As far her AAU career goes, “It’s been a great run with Hoopers for Nicole,” Dan Melious said. “Nicoel competes, she battles, and this year she has really showed leadership, mentoring younger, budding stars like Jordanna, Natile Fox and Grace Ziogas.”
Melious admitted that not having top players such as Watts and L’Amoreux in the lineup was a tough pill to swallow. But she has not looked for way out if things do not work out for Hoopers NY.
“Losing Maya and Kaety was really rough, and I know I can’t make excuses,” Nicole Melious said on Saturday. “We did our best we could. Whatever happens today and tomorrow, I had fun.”
Melious went on to express gratitude to some of the people responsible for her unparalleled success.
“I want to thank Bryan Williams, my dad, Coach Paul Lee and Coach Kevin Johnson,” she said. “I look forward to the fall season, and then high school.”
— Jerry Del Priore