COLLEGE: St. Joseph's
VITALS: 6'9", 207 lbs.
YEAR DRAFTED: 2009 by Dallas (Round 2, Pick 56)
RIGHTS HELD BY: New York
Nivins was a New Jersey boy who played his collegiate ball at St. Joseph's. It was a transitional time for the Hawks as they were coming off the Jameer Nelson/Delonte West era. During that time, St. Joe's had an undefeated regular season and made an Elite Eight. Coach Phil Martelli won Coach of the Year and Nelson won National Player of the Year. It was going to be a tall task for the players that had to follow that period of bliss in Philadelphia. That task fell on the broad shoulders of Ahmad Nivins.
Nivins played at least 30 games in each of his four seasons at St. Joseph's. He was a good scorer and rebounder and is still one of the most efficient shooters in Atlantic 10 history. Paired with fellow forward Pat Calathes, Nivins and the Hawks made the NIT his freshman year. They were defeated in the second round by Hofstra. His scoring average would go up by ten points his sophomore season but team success did not come with it as they finished 18-14. He'd regress slightly his junior year but the Hawks would make the NCAA Tournament for the firs time since 2004 as an 11 seed. Nivins had 14 points and 5 rebounds but the team couldn't recover from a 2-for-11 shooting day from Calathes and were downed by a 6th seeded Oklahoma team led by Blake Griffin.
The forward cemented himself as a player his senior season. Though once again he could not will the Hawks to postseason play, the 6'9" Nivins led the A-10 in rebounding at 11.8 RPG and was the third leading scorer at 19.2 points per. His 11.8 rebounds a contest were fifth best in the entire country. He won Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors, Big 5 Player of the Year (given to the best player in games between Philadelphia area rivals), and was an AP Honorable Mention All-American. Upon graduation, Nivins was selected in the second round by Dallas. Dallas also traded for Nick Calathes that draft day, the brother of Nivins's former St. Joseph's teammate.
The Summer League was Nivins's next test. He performed admirably in five games for the Mavericks before being one of the first cuts. It was a strange decision because Ahmad was getting decent minutes and was averaging over 11 points a game. Nevertheless, instead of waiting until the D-League Draft Nivins took the overseas route to continue his basketball career. His first stop was in Spain for Basquet Manresa but that ended abruptly when he injured his knee. After his recovery, Nivins's form returned as he played a season for Dexia Mons-Hainaut in Belgium. After winning the Belgian Cup the year before, they were only able to reach the semifinals in Nivins's one campaign. However, his work in Belgium caught the eye of French club Poitiers. He increased his production yet again for the recently promoted club, making the French All-Star Game, and for his hard work landed him in the cross hairs of Pau Orthez, one of the most successful clubs in French basketball history. His stat lines grew more impressive with the French giants and he made his second consecutive All-Star Game last year scoring 28 points in a loss.
While Nivins was abroad his draft rights were traded to New York as a bit piece in the Tyson Chandler trade. The summer after the acquisition of said rights Nivins was invited by the Knicks to play for their Summer League team. He didn't have any more luck this time around, once again getting only a five game showcase of his skills. Even as a URI supporter I wouldn't mind seeing Nivins playing at MSG. He has a starting gig for a big European team so he may still have that chance one day. This article may be over but the book on Ahmad Nivins is not yet closed. I'll be signing off now but first, let Ahmad take a selfie.
Thanks for reading the sixth edition of Draft Rights Retained right here on Bleeding Your Colors! I hope you enjoyed it and look forward to bringing you more wacky stories of players who the NBA has long since forgotten, but not their draft rights. Stay locked for a new profile each and every day until the list is exhausted. For more of me, check out my Twitter
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Image Credit: Nivins holding jersey (marca.com), Nivins selfie (ning.com)