Nobody likes to be held away from the things they love to do, but for Canadian NCAA basketball player Nate Darling, that unfortunate circumstance is working wonders.
The 21-year-old from Bedford, Nova Scotia is thriving in his first NCAA season with the University of Delaware, playing a big role in their perfect 6-0 start, and the last standing perfect record across the whole of the NCAA.
For Darling, it is his three-point shooting which his making him stand out and drawing the eyes of American fans and NBA teams looking to bolster their high scoring players. Through the five games he’s played this season, he has scored 23 three-pointers, good for the second-most in the NCAA. the all-time record belongs to Fletcher Magee, who graduated from Wofford College last year. He scored 509 three-point shots through a career of 134 games, averaging roughly 3.8 shots scored per game. Compare that with Darling, who is currently shooting at a rate at 4.6 per game, and he could eclipse the record if he maintains anywhere close to his current pace. He is also averaging 26.4 points a game, leading the Fightin’ Blues in that category.
He began his NCAA career at the University of Alabama, but he did not fit in with the coaching staff or teammates and figured he needed a change of scenery to find his game. “I didn’t like the style of play, nothing personal, but I wasn’t playing my best.” said the six-foot-two guard, to CBC Sports. Clearly, his style of play has been clicking in his new position, as he has been having a stellar season at the new school.
“It was tough not playing the last year, but I am glad I made the switch,” he said to CBC when asked about what it was like to not be on the court last year. Per NCAA regulations, players who transfer schools have to sit out a year before they can play for their new programs, that’s why Darling was unable to participate last year.
That’s not to say he didn’t begin tog et to know the team; he did. He practiced with the team all of last season, and even travelled with them to a few away games, he just couldn’t play for them. The integration of the team he went through last year made his transition to gameplay much easier than it could have been otherwise.
For any athlete, there comes a time in one’s life when the decision to make a stride for an elite level. For Darling, that time was at 14 years old when he decided to leave the friendly town of Bedford to attend an American preparatory school where he would be in the view of many American college coaches. It was a hard decision at the time for both him and his family, but his success and happiness this year shows that it was the right decision for all parties.
Just yesterday, Darling led his team to their sixth win of the season with his 28 points scored against St. Francis University, as he continues to show how good Canadian basketball players can be.
Darling is just the latest Canadian to begin making his mark on the American game, and if his team keeps it up, he could become the fifth ever Canadian to win NCAA’s March Madness Championship.