Darius Nelson has offers from the major conferences - Pac-10, Big East, SEC, ACC - but it could be UTEP that's making a serious run at the Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon small forward. New coach Tim Floyd is the main reason and Nelson said he is certainly listening to the pitch.
"Mainly, Tim Floyd is an awesome coach," Nelson said. "He coached in the NBA for a couple years and he knows what he's doing. He's here to get the players better and get them to the next level. That's why I'm considering UTEP as one of my choices. I mainly just want to go to a school where I can get better basically."
Nelson, rated as the No. 30 small forward and No. 142 prospect nationally by Rivals.com, was one of the top players on Team Odom last weekend at the Pangos Sweet 16 in Long Beach, Calif.
Dropping a few pounds is a necessity for Nelson, whose brother, Demarcus played at Duke, but he believes his school list will grow even more this summer when coaches see him on the AAU circuit. Whether it's on the perimeter or down low, Nelson is a smooth player that has lots of charisma on the court.
"The list is going to get bigger because I put in a lot of time and work in with my skill set," said Nelson, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound recruit. "I can shoot more and shoot the ball better and drive. I try to mimic my game off Carmelo Anthony a little bit where I can score, pass it and rebound."
Nelson listed UTEP, Southern Cal, Loyola Marymount, North Carolina, NC State, Washington, Washington State, Memphis and Kentucky when asked for a school list and he said there are plans to trim it to five by the end of summer. The only school he said that will definitely make the cut so far is UTEP.
California, Fresno State, Georgetown, Oregon, SMU, Tennessee, Texas and Villanova are also listed on his Rivals.com database page.
"I really don't know yet when I'm going to make a decision," Nelson said. "I'm probably going to make a decision on my top five by the end of the summer. I'm just going to keep playing and see which schools keep calling and keep offering."