Landers Nolley II is not worried about the pressure of being the go-to person this season for the University of Memphis Tigers.
A transfer student from Virginia Tech, Nolley has received a waiver from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which made him eligible to play for Memphis in the upcoming season.
The basketball standout averaged 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season with the Hokies. The thought of having to sit out a season weighed heavily on him. He was forced to sit out his freshman year at Virginia Tech as the NCAA looked into his academic eligibility.
“Everyday my thought process was horrible,” said Nolley, who said he actually considered the possibility of turning pro. “I did not think I was going to see the court until the day I actually got the news. I was thinking the worst. I did not want to sit out another year.”
His time in Memphis so far has been fun, on and off the court.
“I’ve had an amazing time getting better in every aspect of my life,” Nolley said. “I am taking it as a challenge, and I am loving it.”
Nolley has been active on social media, where critics from time to time take aim at him
“This past year at Virginia Tech, there was stuff I just let slide under the radar. A lot of stuff that was said about my game or as me as an individual, I do not have to take that role anymore and just letting them run over me. It is going to be different this year,” he said.
“I love the way they (Memphis) have been using me and trying to get me back to the old me; playing on the wing and being a guard. I am focusing on getting my footwork better.”
Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway had tapped Nolley and DJ Jeffries as his go-to players even before the NCAA cleared Nolley.
“If he feels that way about me, I am going to just work even harder,” Nolley said.
Memphis’ basketball schedule has not been released as the team awaits the latest news from the American Athletic Conference. The NCAA pushed back the start of the 2020-21 basketball season from November 10 until November 25 because of COVID-19 concerns.
The Tigers’ first game of the season might take place in Sioux Falls, SD, this year’s site for the popular Battle 4 Atlantis. Normally, the tournament is held Thanksgiving week at the Imperial Arena at Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas.
Duke University was scheduled to be a part of that event but the school decided not to participate. Ohio State, Texas A&M and West Virginia are some other teams that were scheduled to take part in the tournament.