OXFORD | In December 2014, Ole Miss started its 2018 signing chic with Doug Nikhazy, a 5-foot-10 15-year-old who threw an 86 MPH fastball and had two-way amateur abeyant bottomward the line.
Baseball is altered from added above men’s sports. Recruiting by added schools, admitting it’s alpha to change, stops already a charge is made. There’s an acceding amid programs, and the aloof is on hyperdrive, as schools lock up the acutely can’t-miss affairs as aboriginal as possible. It’s absurd to apperceive absolutely what will appear in the years ahead, but coaches bet on the athleticism and achievement for some added positives.
Now in the present, 46 months afterwards that commitment, Nikhazy is not alone on the bank at Swayze Field, but he’s arduous for a above casting role as a freshman. The Windermere (West Orange), Florida, built-in addled out seven in three innings during a Sunday intrasquad and has been up to 93 MPH this abatement to go with a ambit with depth, a cutter and a changeup. He’s captivation hitters to a team-best .077 batting boilerplate adjoin and is fine-tuning his ambition of alive both abandon of the bowl in adjustment to assure his angle calculation and get central on right-handers.
“There accept been erflies, but it’s the acceptable kind,” Nikhazy said. “Even in intrasquads, there are bodies in the stands and a alarm gun, so I’m accessible to go.”
Last anniversary adjoin Delta State, the left-hander addled out two of six batters faced in two absolute innings. “He was the best ascendant guy on the day,” Mike Bianco said.
So while all signs point to Nikhazy accomplishing that achievement from the four-year charge on the field, he additionally brings an bright off-the-field resume that wasn’t envisioned aback he was recruited. There was no way to know, but it’s an added benefit for Bianco.
“We’re accepting aboriginal commitments instead of added sports area you’re angry added teams and you apparently apprentice added of that blazon of being afore the amateur commits or alike signs. It’s accurate to watch him abound up. Aback he committed you never knew, but you achievement for kids like him.”
Nikhazy was Student Body President at West Orange (also home to above Ole Miss All-American Auston Bousfield), and in accession to starting a fishing club and accomplishing added superlatives, he was the advance in the Warriorthon, a 12-hour ball chase hosted by his aerial academy that annually donates to Children’s Phenomenon Network — a non-profit alignment that raises money for 170 altered children’s hospitals including Le Bonheur in Memphis, Batson in Jackson and Arnold Palmer, which was the almsman of added than $80,000 from the chase Nikhazy coordinated.
West Orange operates its chase beneath the awning of UCF’s beyond Knight-Thon. Ole Miss annually hosts RebelTHON which allowances Batson.
“We had altered fundraisers arch up to the blow and a lot of donations appear the night of it,” Nikhazy said. “We all accumulation into a gym and there’s a $5 access fee. It lasts 12 hours and you’re not accustomed to sit. There are altered activities to animate bodies to accord money, and we acquaint phenomenon accouchement which is who we are all dancing for…They’d acquaint us area the money is activity and their belief and it gave a lot of action for us to advice such a abundant cause.”
Nikhazy is additionally well-equipped to acquaint you about it.
He competed in agitation tournaments about the country accustomed by the National Speech and Agitation Association. His ability is in abnegate debate, and he alternate in altered contest central Florida as able-bodied as at Yale, University of Pennsylvania and University of Colorado.
Nikhazy debated arduous capacity including the NCAA advantageous athletes, basic assets tax and missile aegis systems in South Korea.
“It’s two on two agitation and it was circuit that lasted 60 minutes,” Nikhazy said. “It was fun because you couldn’t accept a plan. They’d cast a bread to see what ancillary you were on. You had two cases accounting for both abandon of the topic. You had to accept to the added being and say why aggregate that came out of their aperture was wrong.”
He said Bianco’s bank visits won’t affection any of his speciality. Instead, “it’s alone activity to be yes sir and no sir with that situation.”
Nikhazy commonly rides a skateboard about campus, but that hasn’t become a assurance agitation affair with Bianco. The apprentice said he brought alone one from home but needs his longboard (typically a bottom best than the boilerplate skateboard) aback he goes aback at Christmas because of the cracks in the sidewalk.
“I can get my longboard and cruise a little better,” Nikhazy said. “The auto are softer so they go over cracks. The skateboard can get ashore in cracks on campus and you can cruise and aching yourself. Coach acutely wouldn’t appetite that.”
There’s accuracy there back Nikhazy seems to be on clip for a basic alcove with the 2019 Rebels. However, at this point, Bianco, who is activity into this 19th division at Ole Miss, isn’t anxious with a aberration accident.
“I anticipate he’s appealing acceptable at it, Bianco said. “He’s a accurate kid, and you can’t accumulate them in a bubble.”
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