« Men’s Basketball 2007-08

DeMarcus Nelson

Duke University


Nelson is a cultural anthropology major with a 3.0 grade point average in his major. He is scheduled to graduate in May 2008 and will have a minor in theater studies.


Duke Athletics sponsors several community service activities for its student-athletes, but Nelson has gone above and beyond by actively seeking out other ways to make an impact. He has shown the reason he was elected as a team captain the past two seasons, including being the only team captain in 2007-08, by being a role model for Durham youth. He has been a mentor for local high school players as well as kids who attend the John Avery Boys and Girls Club to learn how to become better citizens. Another example of Nelson’s selflessness is a story of him meeting a homeless man in downtown Durham, offering him a pair of his shoes since he was barefoot, giving him a ride to a local homeless shelter and then giving the man his contact information. A short time later, the man called Nelson to thank him for what he did and tell him that he was doing great. Nelson also tries to learn the names of people who work in the athletics department and talk with them whenever he sees them, showing his outgoing personality and respect for the people who work around him.


Nelson’s community involvement includes the Verizon Read with the Blue Devils program where players read books to elementary school kids and as a School Days speaker where several hundred inner-city middle school kids come to Cameron and current student-athletes speak about various topics including the importance of staying in school. He headed up annual visits to Duke Children’s Hospital the last two years and is a member of the Captain’s Leadership Series program where all the team captains meet once a month to discuss different aspects of being a leader. He is a volunteer at the John Avery Boys and Girls Club where he talks to kids about being a good citizen and striving to do their best. He volunteered for a semester at the Forest at Duke, a local retirement home, where he would visit with residents. He is a mentor for two local high school players where he is a Big Brother and spends time with them working on their game or just hanging out and talking about life. He spoke to the Hillside High School football and boys’ basketball teams in Durham. He is also a speaker at the Brian Shaw and Glen Graham summer camps.


Already this year, Nelson was selected as a member of the EA Sports Maui Invitational All-Tournament Team and is a mid-season candidate in both the Naismith and Wooden Awards. and Preseason Second Team All-ACC selection (Athlon, Lindy’s, CBS Sports.com). He was voted the ACC’s Best Leader by The Sporting News and the No. 10 small forward in the nation by Lindy’s. He is the team captain. As a junior, he was Honorable Mention All-ACC, ACC All-Defensive Team (media), ACC Coaches’ All-Defensive Team, College Basketball Experience (CBE) Classic All-Tournament Team, CBE Classic Durham Regional MVP, a preseason Naismith Trophy candidate and the team captain; As a freshman, he was selected to the ACC All-Freshman Team, as the ACC Rookie of the Week (1/17), and to the preseason All-ACC Rookie Team (ACC Basketball Handbook).