By: Gavin Smith
If you’ve lived in Henderson County, or even Western North Carolina, within the last four years, you’ve probably heard the name Austin Nelson.
The senior guard has played a major role in establishing North Henderson as the best basketball program in the county since his arrival as a freshman, posting career averages of 23.8 points per game, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.5 steals while leading the school to a 73-36 overall record in his time at North.
This year has been a busy year for Nelson; putting up career highs in points, rebounds, and assists, while racking up countless accolades including a nomination for the McDonald’s All-American game and Conference Player of the Year. Most recently, Nelson has been named Third-Team all-state by the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association. The team was picked by coaches around the state.
He was the only player in WNC to be named to any all-state team, averaging 28.7 points, 3.5 assists, and 9.1 rebounds, and also posting 15 double-doubles. Nelson also committed to play college basketball at USC Upstate, making him the first male player in North Henderson history to play Division 1 basketball (alumni Morgan McMinn played women’s basketball for Clemson).
Upon the finale of his high school career, Austin holds the career points record at North, steals, and single season points (861) and also became the 3rd all-time leading scorer in WNC history. While his presence on the court will be missed, he will definitely be a site worth seeing when college basketball comes back around.