BLOOMINGTON — Jordan Nelson, the former Lincoln High School all-state basketball player, confirmed Monday he is transferring from Division I Evansville to Illinois Wesleyan.
“I talked to my family and (IWU) Coach (Ron) Rose and decided it would be the right fit for me,” Nelson said. “Wesleyan is a great opportunity for me to continue playing basketball and get a good education.”
Nelson, who turned down a scholarship offer from Division II Illinois-Springfield after being released by Evansville, brings tremendous shooting skills and two seasons of eligibility to the Titans.
The Pantagraph Player of the Year in 2011, Nelson averaged 21.5 points and 3.1 assists as a senior to help the Railsplitters to a 25-6 record.
The 6-foot-1 guard was named to the Associated Press Class 3A all-state second team. Nelson connected on 111 3-pointers that season and finished with a school-record 346 career baskets from beyond the arc.
Nelson played in 27 games in both his freshman and sophomore seasons at Evansville. He averaged 2.2 points with a high scoring game of 11 this past season.
“Being away from home kind of got to me. It stressed me out a little I guess you could say,” said Nelson. “I wanted to start over and have a new career somewhere else. I thought it would be more comfortable closer to home where my family could watch me play.”
Nelson joins a Titans team that finished 23-6 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division III Tournament last season. IWU returns 10 of its top 11 scorers.
“Coach Rose knows what he’s doing. It’s a tremendous team to be a part of,” Nelson said. “I think we can do some pretty big things.”
Nelson believes he can help Wesleyan at either shooting guard or point guard. “I got some point guard experience at Evansville,” he said. “I’m pretty comfortable with either one.”
Wesleyan has had success with former Lincoln standouts over the years in a list that includes Matt Schick, Jason Osborn, Adam Osborn, Mike Thomas and Larry Lessen.
Rose said he cannot comment on the addition of Nelson until all of Nelson’s paperwork has been received by the university.
Nelson also is an accomplished golfer, finishing second at the 2009 Class 2A State Tournament.
“I’m not sure about that yet,” he said when asked about also playing golf at Wesleyan. “Basketball is my main thing right now.”