Steamboat Springs Nelson Brassell will wear just about anything to put on a competitive basketball jersey again.
The 2009 Steamboat Springs High School graduate will attend Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., to play football and basketball. There, he said he hopes to earn a college basketball scholarship.
Brassell, who wore gym shorts, a T-shirt and flip flops to high school almost every single day, will now be decked out in a full uniform.
"Dress socks, slacks, blazer and a tie," Brassell said. "It's the whole nine yards. It's like the military."
But it's fine with Brassell, as long as he is allowed the opportunity to play competitive sports again.
Brassell was on the waitlist at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, waiting for a scholarship to play basketball. When that didn't come through, he enrolled at the University of Colorado. But when the coach at Exeter realized he couldn't get Brassell a scholarship, he sent Tabor Academy boys basketball coach Chris Millette Brassell's film.
Millette took one look, researched Steamboat's program and offered Brassell a $38,000 scholarship.
As part of the scholarship, Brassell has to play two sports. He played football for part of his senior year, before focusing full-time on basketball. Still, football or not, he had to jump at the opportunity.
"I'll enjoy it. I like playing football," said Brassell, who was a year young for his grade. "But I just love basketball more. I'm going there for a year to catch up and then hopefully go and play somewhere in college."
Brassell said assistant Steamboat Springs High School basketball coach Jim Bronner was a huge help in his development and progression toward Tabor Academy.
Brassell was an integral part of the Steamboat boys basketball team last season, earning first-team all Western Slope League honors and proving to be one of the most versatile players on the court.
"I think he brings a lot for any team in terms of he's a 6-6 or 6-7 kid that can shoot the ball extremely well," Steamboat basketball coach Luke DeWolfe said. "But he also has a good sense around the basket. He brings a lot to the table. It's a great next step for him. He's going to a place that is going to give him the opportunity to be seen by a lot of college coaches. There are a lot of high-level college coaches out there."
Tabor Academy has been ranked one of the top 50 schools to prepare students to gain acceptance to top universities in the United States by the Wall Street Journal. The team plays in one of the best New England prep leagues and went 6-10 last season.