Feb 112010
 
Authors: Adam Bohlmeyer

When the CSU Rams practice, he’s usually first on the court. When practice ends, he’s usually the last player to head to the locker room. He is Adam Nigon and his hard work is helping to change CSU basketball.

Nigon, a 6-foot-3 guard, has been a critical part of the Rams’ success this season, starting every game for the green and gold while averaging 8.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. The junior first came to CSU as a walk-on his freshman year and through sheer determination has steadily improved from every season since.

Nigon said it’s nice to see the hard work he’s put in the past three years finally show up on the court.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It’s just hard work in the gym paying off. I wasn’t guaranteed anything, I just kind of worked my tail off and good things came my way. I have to be happy about that.”

The most noticeable improvement in Nigon’s game is in his offensive consistency. The Broomfield High School graduate has been a sharp shooter from three-point range for the Rams this season and is currently riding a streak of 11 straight games with a made three-pointer.

To improve his shot, Nigon said he worked in the gym the majority of the off-season and tries to shoot 500 three-pointers every practice. The former high school state champion said he can see the results of his offseason training.

“I tried to take my offensive game to the next level,” Nigon said. “That’s how coaches told me the way to find my way on the floor was to be a consistent knock-down shooter. I think I’m starting to get that.”

Although head coach Tim Miles said he can see improvement in most areas of Nigon’s game, he agreed it’s Nigon’s shooting that is keeping him on the floor.

“(Shooting is) what’s gotten him more minutes,” Miles said. “I think he’s a weapon; I like the way he plays. He’s got a great voice as far as leading the team, and all those things really build into the confidence he’s growing by knowing he’s a weapon on the floor.”

Last season, Nigon compiled only six three-pointers while shooting only 25 percent from behind the arc. With six regular season games left this year, Nigon has already connected on 41 shots from downtown and holds a .394 shooting percentage from deep.

Nigon’s deep ball isn’t the only thing that has improved as he’s matured. CSU freshman Dorian Green explained Nigon’s leadership is his most important contribution to the team.

“He’s one of the leaders of our team, just the way he plays,” Green, a fellow guard, said. “He’s just always moving on offense, and he hits shots. I think the biggest thing is that he is a leader for us and he’s one of the most vocal guys on the team.”

Nigon said he does feel like a leader on the team and explained that his main goal as a leader is to foster a work ethic in some of the younger guys.

“They see me in here before practice working on my game or working hard practicing defense and it shows them we’re here to win. We’re here to build something bigger than ourselves and that’s really what I try to do.”

Even though Nigon has shown tremendous growth this season, he explained there is always room for improvement. While personal success and accolades are nice, it’s improving his team and program that drives the in-state product the most.

“We lost so many games my first two years, and I don’t want to go through that again,” Nigon said. “I think from where we came is just huge and that comes with hard work. We’ve been working hard since I got here so it’s great to see the hard work pay off.”

Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at sports@collegain.com.

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