BGSU’s Nurse is close with her ‘Uncle Don’Written by Ryan Fowler | | email@example.com
An athletic bloodline is flowing through the veins and family tree roots of Tamika Nurse.
Her dad, Richard, played professional football for the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tigercats. Her aunt, dad’s sister Raquel, was a Division I basketball player on scholarship.
A warm smile fills Tamika’s face when speaking of family. Her parents aside, she claims her relationship is closest with Aunt Raquel and her Uncle Don.
“They are like my favorite people ever,” Tamika said.
Uncle Don knows a thing or two about being an athlete. He’s been a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles since he graduated from Syracuse University in 1999. In Tamika’s world, Donovan McNabb is family.
“He’s always just been my goofy uncle,” Nurse said.
On more than one occasion, she’s received care packages from her uncle filled with endorsement deal goodies.
“She’s had her fair share of Vitaminwater,” Donovan said. “The Chunky Soup we kind of took out of her diet.”
It was a decision earlier in Tamika’s collegiate career where Donovan and his wife were called upon to help their niece with a career-changing choice.
But to understand Tamika’s hard court crossroads, we must rewind to her high school days.
Tamika grew up and played high school basketball in Hamilton, Ontario. She was arguably one of the best players in Canada.
Tamika says she had dreams of one day representing her country in the Olympics. So when it came down to deciding where to play ball in college, with Bowling Green head coach Curt Miller trying to woo her, the University of Oregon just made more sense.
The Ducks head women’s coach was also the coach of Canada’s Olympic women’s team. Thus, it made it easier to achieve those Olympic dreams down the road.
The frustration that followed was not so much because of Tamika’s skills on the court; she played as a true freshman, but the strength of the PAC-10 as a whole. Oregon was the small duck in a huge pond of talent. The Ducks were at the bottom of the food chain when it came to competing for conference titles and post-season berths.
“I followed BGSU awhile after I went to Oregon,” Tamika said. “I was thinking, ‘You know what? What kind of decision did you make here? I’m at the end of February and my season is done and they are still playing’.”
Tamika said her Ducks made one trip to the National Invitational Tournament which was enjoyable, but this playmaker wanted to experience the true meaning of March Madness.
“I’ve played three years of college basketball and I have yet to see a NCAA tournament,” Tamika said.
Enter Bowling Green’s basketball program back into the picture. Remember how Tamika’s aunt played Division I basketball? Well, that was at Syracuse University when Curt Miller was part of the coaching staff.
Coach Miller is still close with Aunt Raquel and Uncle Don. He has also placed MAC women’s basketball on the map. His Falcons have reached the NCAA tournament and pulled off those Cinderella upsets more than once.
“I just wanted the opportunity to accomplish something bigger,” Tamika said.
Thanks, in part, to the advice of her aunt and uncle, Tamika joined the Falcons last season, having to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules. In this her senior season, Uncle Don believe his niece’s skills blend well in the Falcons offense.
“Tamika definitely fits in with what coach Miller likes to do,” McNabb said. “He likes to push the ball up the court and likes his guards to be able to penetrate and kick it out to the three point shooter. She can do both.”
And just in case she forgets what to do with the ball come game time, Uncle Don is happy to spew advice from the stands.
“Shoot it! From behind the bench in my ear, shoot it, shoot it, shoot it,” Tamika said of Uncle Don’s game day advice.
Tamika led the Falcons in their season opener with 21 points against Chicago State.
How aboot that, eh?
Ryan Fowler is the weekend sports anchor at NBC24. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.