By Cristiana Votta
One door has closed as another has opened in the life of former junior guard of the men’s basketball team, Nurideen Lindsey.
Lindsey, a Philadelphia native, transferred from St. John’s basketball program with two more years of NCAA eligibility. He has officially withdrawn from Rider to pursue a professional basketball career. Lindsey brought big hopes for the Broncs, starting 30 out of 32 games after posting a strong start to his only season at Rider.
“There was a lot of expectation placed on his shoulders,” said Kyle Franko, a reporter who covers the Broncs for The Trentonian. “He didn’t do himself any favors by scoring 26 points in the opener. All of a sudden, people thought they had an all-conference guard.”
Supporting his family has always been Lindsey’s main concern and a large reason for his transfer here last fall. His decision then to leave St. John’s was strongly influenced by his family’s needs, and his intentions have always been the same. Lindsey was hoping he could come into the MAAC, gain some positive statistics and then take his talents to the pros.
“It wasn’t a surprise at the end of the year when we met,” Head Coach Kevin Baggett said. “I wasn’t 100% sure if he wanted to come back and try to have a better year or if he wanted to move forward and turn professional.”
The final decision was made after the Broncs’ last game of the season.
“I decided I was leaving after our last game against East Carolina in the CIT,” Lindsey said. “I sat down with my family and had a long talk about whether this would be the best decision and ultimately that’s what was decided.”
Lindsey is currently in Los Angeles working with an undisclosed agency and is following the path of his dreams.
With his goals in mind, Lindsey heads into the future with a strong will to compete.
“I just know that he’s determined,” Baggett said. “Nuri is a fighter — he’s always been. He’s been through a lot in his life and he always finds a way. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds a way of doing pretty well professionally.”
Baggett emphasized Lindsey’s importance to the program and what he brought to the court during his time at Rider.
“Nurideen was a very good teammate to our guys,” Baggett said. “I think they looked up to him — the freshmen and sophomores did. He came, competed and brought a level of being someone that played in the Big East at a higher level. He brought an understanding of what it takes to play at those levels and tried to translate it into this level here.”
From an outsider’s perspective, Lindsey brought a certain drive to the Broncs’ success.
“He was a guy that could score off the dribble and attack the basket,” Franko said. “I think they will miss that the most. You can always use a guy like that who can carry the team for a stretch.”
Lindsey’s intentions are clear and concise heading into the future.
“My goals for the short term are the same as the long term: continuing to work hard, staying dedicated to the game that I’ve been so blessed with being able to play and making sure I’m able to take care of my family,” Lindsey said.
Beyond personal obligations, Lindsey knows exactly where he’d like his basketball career to take him.
“My plan is the NBA, and from there, however things go is how they will go,” Lindsey said. “The initial plan from day one is pursuing my NBA dream and opportunity. If that doesn’t work out, I will look to go overseas.”
Lindsey’s season ended on a different note than expected — averaging only 8 ppg with 102 turnovers. He was scouted by multiple NBA teams throughout the season. The fate of his future lies in the hands of his prospective coaches.
Even though his future pulls him away from Rider, he will always have support from its basketball program.
“I wish him all the best,” Baggett said. “I want to see him be able to take care of his family. Any time a young man goes through adversity with his family, you root for him. I’m certainly here for him and I wish him nothing but the best. He knows that he can always come back here if he needs me for anything. I’ll always be here for him.”
Beyond basketball skills, Lindsey learned many life lessons that he will take with him on his journey.
“I’ve learned a lot about maturity and staying mentally strong,” Lindsey said. “It will help me a lot on the next level.”
Deciding to leave meant one big loss: the connection that was made over the last year with the team.
“I’ll miss my teammates the most,” Lindsey said. “I built a relationship with the guys on the team, they were like my brothers. I wish the best for all of them and hope everyone continues to work hard so that they can bring something back to Rider that has never been done.”
Though Lindsey has withdrawn from Rider, he looks to finish his degree at some point and will leave the university on good terms.
“I sincerely appreciate the opportunity Rider gave me and I just want to thank everyone there that has supported me and my family throughout the year as I continue my journey toward reaching the NBA,” Lindsey said.
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