After traveling around for the past four years playing division one hoops, former Lincoln Park star Nelly Cummings is finally coming home.
Tonight, Cummings’ Colgate team will be in Pittsburgh to take on Pitt at 8 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center, which will be his first game in the city since his decorated high school career years ago.
“I’m excited,” Cummings told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Not a lot of times you get this opportunity, so I am just very excited. Want to take the opportunity, not take it lightly, and really come in and be focused on the task at hand.”
After spending the first year of his career at Bowling Green and the second sitting out due to transfer rules, the 6-foot guard has played each of his last two seasons at Colgate. In all of those seasons, not once did his team travel to Pittsburgh to play any of the three area teams, Pitt, Duquesne, or Robert Morris.
Now, finally getting his chance as a senior, Cummings is ready for the opportunity to play in front of what he said will be “a lot” of family members and friends in attendance.
“Being away from my family for so long, now, it’s like, that’s what I miss the most,” he said. “That’s what I value the most. I would definitely have to say that growing up with the people that I know and being from the neighborhood that I am from, the support that I get from them, there’s just nothing like that.”
Cummings graduated Lincoln Park back in 2017, leaving as one of the best players that the school had ever seen. A three-time All State selection, Cummings also made the All-WPIAL team three times in his career and was the driving force behind Lincoln Park’s four consecutive state quarterfinal runs in his time there.
“I traveled around pretty much everywhere around Pittsburgh playing different types of teams, different types of players, and different AAU programs. Playing for Lincoln Park was really good as well because we won a lot of games. My legacy there speaks for itself. The whole Pittsburgh area, basketball is not what it’s known for, but we have a lot of talented players.”
Now, almost four years after graduating, Cummings is playing the best basketball of his life. He is coming off a career-best 26-point performance in a win over Columbia in which he hit six of his seven three-point attempts, had four steals, and dished out three assists.
On the year, he is now averaging a team and career-high 17.7 points per game and has shot the ball as good as just about anyone. Cummings is shooting a remarkable 55.2% from three-point territory, which ranks fourth in all of division one hoops.
“It’s not just as of late, it’s a product of a lot of hard work, a lot of opportunity, and all that coming together in one,” Cummings said when asked about his stellar play this season. “This isn’t something that’s happened overnight. The process has been in the works since I was a kid, and now it’s all coming to the light.”
As a team, Colgate (4-5, 1-4 on the road) has lost three of its last four games after taking down Syracuse 100-85 back on Nov. 20. The Raiders are ranked as the No. 127 team according to Kenpom.com and No. 134 according to the NCAA’s NET rankings and will surely be a tough matchup for a struggling Pitt team.
“We let some tough ones slip away from us that we wish we could get back, but you know, last year we didn’t get the chance to play these out of conference games, so we’re just confident that we’re embracing this process. We lost some games that we wish we could get back, but we’re confident in our abilities and we are just focused and locked in and ready for whatever comes next.”