Since her freshman year Laura Nickel’s demeanor on the basketball court could best be described as calm, cool and collected.
“I don’t really feel pressure, I just go out and play my game,” said the Marshall High School senior.
That sense of being under control was one of the reasons why Northern Illinois University recruited the 6-foot forward, and she reciprocated by making a verbal commitment on Twitter to the DeKalb, Illinois school last week.
“I’ve seen a lot of great schools over the years, but when I went on (NIU) campus I had the gut feeling that this was where I was going to go to school,” Nickel said. “NIU checked all my boxes of what I was looking for in a school.”
Her Twitter post read: Thank you to all the coaches that have recruited me, I’ve met some great people and programs along the way. Thank you to my family who have supported me and believed in me. Thank you to all my coaches, trainers and teammates who have helped me become the player I am today. I’m excited and blessed to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at Northern Illinois University! Thank you Coach Carlsen and the NIU coaching staff for giving me this opportunity to play basketball at the highest level! Go Huskies!
Because of COVID-19, Nickel could not meet with NIU head coach Lisa Carlsen or the staff, however, she did meet some of her future teammates.
“They were very welcoming and made me feel part of the team already,” she said.
Nickel plans on following a pre-physician assistant rout, majoring in biology with a minor in Spanish.
In just three seasons Nickel has scored 1,051 points, becoming only the sixth player in program history to reach the milestone, while adding 516 rebounds, 202 assists and 142 steals in 82 career games.
Along with Anna Lutz and Mia Morel, Nickle was named a starter as freshmen at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. Together they led the Cardinals to back-to-back undefeated Capitol South Conference seasons and consecutive WIAA Division 3 state championships.
But this past season Marshall came up one game short of attempting a three-peat after losing to Platteville in the sectional championship game.
“Winning those two state championships was amazing; not knowing what this year is going to look like just yet, the goals is still to compete for another state title,” said Nickel.
Nickel has played for two head coaches, Alex Koeller her freshman and sophomore years, and last season for Doug Pickarts.
“They both have different styles and it was an adjustment, but we have adjusted well and are ready to work hard this season,” said Nickel.
Nickel will officially sign her National Letter of Intent in November.