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Paying it Forward: RCSD Graduate Plans to Help Other City Students to Succeed

By Staff


derrellAlthough former Wilson Magnet High School student Derrell Nelson has moved on from the Rochester City School District, the current starting shooting guard at Cardiff University in Wales, said he plans to pay his success forward, by helping other city students to succeed.

Nelson is presently pursuing a master’s degree in Business Administration at Cardiff, which is a public research university located in the United Kingdom.

Once he graduates, he said he plans to earn a spot in the British Basketball League (BBL), then use the opportunity to develop his own basketball program for inner-city youth in Rochester.

“After I graduate, I’m going to play professional basketball here in Europe for a few years,” Nelson stated. “I’ll be able to save funds for my camp, to prevent taking out bank loans like most startups do. This will give me time to raise awareness, and reach out to sponsors.”

According to Nelson, the camp would aim to provide city youth with positive role models, while at the same time developing their basketball skills, and focusing on assisting students with achieving their academic goals.

“I hope to provide a safe place for youth to train competitively, and focus on academics, emphasizing the importance of both avenues,” Nelson stated. “Once the campers graduate high school, they’ll have a full scholarship to college, where they can then decide to pursue basketball after college, or begin a career of their choice. The main purpose is to give them an opportunity that may have not been there before.”

Nelson said his camp would be geared toward city youth ages 12 to 19, with a “reasonable” monthly fee for students to participate in the program, and also said he would provide free memberships to eligible high school students who would like to complete the program.

“I grew up in the inner city of Rochester, so I feel personally connected to the community,” he stated. “When I was young, the only basketball courts I could play on were at local rec centers. There was never a place I could go to practice my skills, and receive coaching.”

However, until his plans come to fruition, Nelson said he plans to continue developing his ideas for providing additional guidance to city students, as well as to begin seeking sponsors for his new venture.

Still, he said he’s prepared to share his insight with those individuals who may be interested in participating in the program.

“The camp will be for students who enjoy playing basketball, and want to take their game to the next level,” Nelson stated. “They will receive mentorship, on and off the court, at a young age. I want students to reach their potential, and realize there is opportunity out there, if they work toward a goal.”

Nelson has also recently started a charity to donate school supplies to youth in Kingston, Jamaica, with a local drop-off at Rochester’s School 19.

Visit for additional information regarding the charity, or to find out how to contribute.

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