Player Profile: Men’s Basketball’s Nelly Cummings

Colgate Men’s Basketball’s Renell Cummings, known by many as “Nelly,” recently capped off a successful career for the Raiders. In his three years on the team, the point guard helped win three Patriot League regular season titles and two Patriot League Tournament championships, resulting in two NCAA Tournament appearances, including one this year. 

Cummings had a breakthrough year during the 2021-22 season. He set career highs in points per game (14.7) and assists per game (3.4), which was enough to earn him a First Team All-Patriot League selection. With the departure of key players like Jordan Burns after a very successful 2020-21 season, the team needed Nelly to step up and become the lead ball-handler, and head coach Matt Langel knew that Nelly was ready for it.

“I know that he knew the whole time that he could also do other things. I think that this team this year was going to allow him the opportunity to have the ball in his hands more and attack more. He led us in scoring but also in field goals attempted. That was the opportunity that was there for him,” Langel said. 

As Cummings is set to graduate from Colgate after the spring semester, he recently entered the NCAA transfer portal for his final year of eligibility. After receiving interest from dozens of major programs, Cummings decided to return home to the University of Pittsburgh, just 45 minutes from his hometown of Midland, Pa. This played a big role in Cummings’ decision, reports Pittsburgh Sports Now

Nelly is going to be sorely missed by his coaches and teammates at Colgate next year, both for his contributions on and off the court. Sophomore center Jeff Woodward, Cummings’ locker neighbor, has an especially strong relationship with the senior guard.

“He’s another really smart, intelligent basketball player and he’s really passionate and always wants to get better and compete at the highest level. Getting to be out there with him helped us not only have great chemistry but a great understanding of what each other liked to do and how best we played off each other,” Woodward said. “He’s constantly pushing, not only me but everybody. Always trying to get extra work in, whether it be before or after practice… that really helps you develop that mindset of doing the things you love and doing them well, not just with basketball but with anything.”

This relationship between the two was just as strong off the court as it was on.

“Nelly and I are really close. Obviously he’s a couple years older than me. Ever since we got here we’ve been close…we’re always talking, always hanging out even outside of basketball,” Woodward said. 

For all the on-court production Colgate Men’s Basketball is going to miss with Nelly’s production, it’s his personality off the court that the team is going to miss most. Woodward said that this year’s team felt especially close, like a family. 

“I’m going to miss getting to interact with him everyday in the locker room. No matter what, that kid will always make you smile. This team felt really close and connected, so losing him will be a big loss for our family,” Woodward said. 

For coach Langel, there was no hesitation.

“His smile. There’s no doubt about it,” Langel said. “Yeah, we’ll miss his points, and his jump shooting and competitive spirit, but the person that he is is what we’re gonna miss. He’s a quality guy that cares about all the right things. Hopefully the guys will be able to keep that.”