Northern Illinois sophomore wing Abdel Nader has decided to transfer after two years with the Huskies. NIU coach Mark Montgomery said Nader just needed a new environment.
“I think he needs a fresh start somewhere else. It wasn’t just one thing. I think he’s always had greener pastures in his mind,” Montgomery said. “I just thought it was in the best interests for him and the team that he has a fresh start somewhere else.”
The Skokie native committed to New Mexico before signing with the Huskies, and Montgomery said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Nader end up at a BCS school. He wished Nader “nothing but the best.”
According to Rivals, Nader’s offers out of high school included Baylor, DePaul, Marquette, Mississippi and USC.
Nader was NIU’s best offensive threat on a team that struggled to score, and led the Huskies in points a game as a freshman and sophomore. He averaged 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds a game this season, leading NIU in both categories. Nader scored a career-high 26 points against Kent State and hit the game-winning shot in the final seconds to give NIU one of its three Mid-American Conference victories this year.
After making the All-MAC freshman team in 2011-12, Nader was honored as a preseason All-MAC selection. However, Nader was suspended at the beginning of his sophomore year for an unspecified violation of team rules and missed the first seven games of the season.
He also missed the final four games of the season, including NIU’s loss to Eastern Michigan in the MAC Tournament, because of personal and family issues, Montgomery said.
The Huskies may be losing their leading scorer, but Montgomery felt his team played well at times without Nader at the end of the season.
“You never want to lose a player but I thought we played unbelievable team baskeball against Eastern Michigan and Ball State,” Montgomery said. “I like the team I have coming back and the recruits I have coming in. You just have to move on.”
Nader is the second NIU player to leave the program in 2013. Freshman guard Akeem Springs also left the team in February.