Bucs sign top-notch recruit

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF

   JOHNSON CITY- East Tennessee State will be providing Nuckle sandwiches at its basketball games starting next season.
   Brad Nuckles has become one of the Bucs' most highly sought-after signees. The 6-9 senior forward from Council High School in Council, Va. signed to play for ETSU Wednesday.
   "We're fortunate to get him," ETSU head coach Ed DeChellis saidWednesday afternoon. "He's a big man with great perimeter skills. He liked where he would fit in our program, so he decided to join our family."
   Nuckles, who even received a phone call from North Carolina, narrowed his choices down to ETSU and UNC-Charlotte. But when he thought about it, he realized that ETSU provided the best opportunity for him.
   "I had a good time on my visit," Nuckles said. "I listened to my heart, and I decided on ETSU. I felt like I could make an impact early.
   "The thing about Charlotte is they have quite a few kids ahead of me. They were also bringing in a forward from the Charlotte area. It would probably be two or three years before I could play. It was tough to turn them down, but I wanted to go somewhere and play right away."
   The numbers on Nuckles are impressive. Last season, Nuckles averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and three assists per game. Nuckles was the state Player-of-the-Year in Group A last season, and has been a first-team All-State selection the last two seasons.
   Nuckles wanted to sign early so he could concentrate on the upcoming season.
   "It's really been hectic," Nuckles said. "I've been focusing on nothing but recruiting. North Carolina called me and said they might recruit me if I waited, but I really wanted to sign early. I just wanted to focus on my senior year.
   "DeChellis thinks a lot of Nuckles' basketball ability, but also realizes he has recruited a great student. He's a coconscious student," DeChellis said. "He has a chance to be valedictorian of his senior class."
   Nuckles probably made a good choice. ETSU is the defending Southern Conference regular season champions, and has a great group of young talent.
   "Coach DeChellis has done a good job with the players they already have," Nuckles said. "I think we can be a pretty good team."
   Nuckles may be a big man, but he says he can shoot the ball from the outside.
   "I'm a post guy, but I can shoot the three," Nuckles said. "I understand the game and how to play it."
   Nuckles hasn't lost much since he's been at Council, losing seven games in three seasons.
   "I know how to win," Nuckles said. "If you're a winner, you play like a winner. I still have some improving to do in my game, which is good. I'm not cocky, and I don't think I'm better than anybody else."
   Local basketball fans will have their chance to see Nuckles in action before he arrives in Johnson City. That's because Council is making an appearance in the Arby's Classic this year, a tournament that Elizabethton and Unaka are both in.
   "I'm looking forward to the Arby's," Nuckles said. "I think it's going to be a great tournament. Hopefully, we can get some wins."