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Jameer Nelson Jr. finds a home at Delaware and has his supportive, former All-American dad right there with him

Jameer Nelson Jr. is a starting guard at Delaware after transferring there, and his father can watch over him while serving as the Delaware Blue Coats general manager.

Jameer Nelson, Jr. of Delaware  warms up during the game against Temple at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 27, 2021.
Jameer Nelson, Jr. of Delaware warms up during the game against Temple at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 27, 2021.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Jameer Nelson Jr. had family and friends waiting for him at the Liacouras Center after Temple beat Delaware, 75-74, on Saturday.

The George Washington transfer didn’t use to have his family there but now at the University of Delaware, Nelson is closer to his home in Haverford and his dad, Jameer Nelson, who is the Delaware Blue Coats general manager.

“We’re a really family-oriented group of people,” his dad said. “We probably have 25-35 people waiting for him after the game, and it’d be the same when we go to Delaware.”

Jameer Jr. joined the Blue Hens this offseason, and he’s already making an impact as a starter. Against the Owls, the 6-foot-1 guard had 13 points, a team-high 11 rebounds and made 3 of 6 three-point attempts.

When Jameer Jr. played at The Haverford School, he was recruited by Delaware before he committed to George Washington in 2018. Then when he entered the transfer portal in 2020, after two seasons with the Colonials, Delaware came calling again.

“I just felt like if I stayed at George Washington, it wasn’t the best for my career,” Jameer Jr. said. “I feel like leaving was the best choice for me.”

Jameer, who had a successful college career at St. Joseph’s and played 14 NBA seasons, always wanted his son to create his own path because he knows there’s pressure behind the name, but he believes his son has handled it well.

“I’ve helped him out with certain things, but he has to continue to take the steps to get better himself,” Jameer said. “If anything my support comes mentally, you have the mental side seeing the game through a coach’s lens.”

Jameer Jr. always appreciated that his dad took a hands-off approach growing up, which allowed him to gain his own perspective of the game and come to Jameer for advice when he was ready.

During the offseason, Jameer Jr. worked on his jump shot, which his dad has seen his son grow confidence in since Jameer Jr. is not a natural jump shooter.

Although the two have different playing styles — dad would say he’s ball-dominant versus his son, who is more of an off-the-ball scorer — Jameer sees his son becoming primarily a ballhandler.

“I was able to work with him for one or two summers,” Jameer Jr. said. “That was a real wake-up call for me to learn how to work.”

At Delaware, Jameer trusts the support factor behind the coaching staff, especially associate head coach Bill Phillips, who was Jameer’s former teammate at St. Joe’s.

While at St. Joseph’s, Jameer helped the Hawks to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in the 2003-04 season. After college, he played in the NBA as a point guard from 2004-18.

While Jameer is local to the Philadelphia area, he and his family spent most of their time in Orlando during his 10 seasons with the Magic.

“[Jameer Jr.] claims Florida, he thinks he’s from Orlando,” Jameer said. “But his roots are from here. He grew up in Florida, most of his life, but the thing is, he’s a local kid, and he has a lot of support here.”

Watching Jameer Jr. grow up, his dad wasn’t sure if he would take a liking to basketball since he started off playing baseball. It wasn’t until later in high school that Jameer Jr. took basketball seriously and told his dad he wanted to develop his game.

“I always tell my kids, I’m not putting 100% unless you put 100%,” Jameer said. “Once he did that, we started to focus on giving him the resources and the tools to be a good basketball player and a great person.”