Richard Nelson Courage Award
Nick Doland, Chaparral
He may have been on the end of the bench most of the year, but persistence paid off for Chaparral’s Nick Doland.
The senior basketball player did not score his first three years with the team. He entered mostly in blowouts, but last December was fouled during a shot and went to the line. Doland is a special-needs student, and though stories like his have been seen of a player scoring, this one was different.
There was no coordination by either team or the officials, and when Doland sunk a free throw, the bench exploded with genuine jubilation.
He hit a 3-pointer later in the season. He’s not on the team as a feel-good story, but instead because he’s a hard-working player who took advantage of an opportunity presented to him.
Nick Doland is the 2017-18 recipient of the Richard Nelson Courage Award.
“He was an asset. It wasn’t like we saved him a spot. He brought a lot to the team during the games that he wasn’t playing. He was encouraging his teammates and cheering them on, giving them encouragement.”
— Chaparral basketball coach Steven Bentz.