Pasadena City College student-athlete Nigel Wilson has been recognized as one of this year’s recipients of the CalHOPE Courage Award for overcoming adversity on and off the basketball court.
The award, which recognizes student-athletes at California colleges and universities who have overcome personal hardships, injury, or life circumstances, was presented by the College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA) and CalHOPE, a crisis support resource operated by the California Department of Health Care Services.
Wilson, along with the Gray twins of the University of California, were honored at Oracle Park in San Francisco before the Giants hosted the Washington Nationals.
To support other students battling through mental health challenges, a $5,000 donation will be made in the names of Wilson and the Gray twins to support mental health services at their respective schools.
Monthly awards were presented from September through April to other student-athletes who had also overcome challenges.
Wilson began his collegiate career at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California, during the 2020-21 season but struggled with depression due to a foot injury and several serious COVID-related family illnesses.
However, he spoke to an athletics counselor who recommended that he see a therapist, who along with his teammates and coaches, helped him get back on track.
The center transferred to Pasadena City College in 2022-23 and excelled as a starter, averaging 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds on a Lancers squad that made it to the regional finals.
He will attend Bellevue University in Nebraska in the fall.
Wilson’s selection was made for the month of March by CoSIDA and an Associated Press panel.
Among the other winners were Cameron Brink (basketball, Stanford), Garrett Jensen (baseball, San Francisco State), Lexi Zandonella-Arasa (soccer, Sonoma State), Sam Nimmo (lacrosse, Whittier College), Ian Gilligan (golf, Long Beach State), Mike Asante (basketball, Academy of Art), Gretta Kirkby (volleyball, Chico State), Anastasiia Slivina (rowing, Southern California), Yuliia Zhytelna (tennis, California State University, Northridge), Nathan Merren (volleyball, CSUN), Jordan Smith (soccer, Cal State East Bay), Amiyah Aponte (softball, University of the Pacific), Malia Talavou (track & field, Long Beach State), and Bailey Jones (track & field, Cal Poly).