NINO SAMUEL'S BASKETBALL TRAINING
Personal Trainer Certificate, International Sports Sciences Association Certified - 1996
Salina Central High School All-American—1969-1972
University of Kansas—1972-1974
Bachelor of Science in Sociology at Marymount College—1974-1976
Kansas Central High School Two Year State Champ, MVP—1971
Professional Basketball Player, Athletes In Action—Indianapolis, IN 1976-1977
Professional Basketball Player, Led League in Scoring—Manila, Philippines 1977-1978
Professional Basketball Player, Las Vegas Dealers—Las Vegas, NV 1978-1979
Amateur Athletics Union Division One Basketball—1980-1991
Scout for North American Sports; Coach High School & College; Conduct Skills Training Basketball Camp—1991-1995
Assistant for Professional Women’s Basketball Team, the Atlanta Glory of the American Basketball League—1996-1998
Sports Director, Atlanta Inner City Games (Basketball, Football, Baseball, Track & Field and Swimming) - 1995-1996
Theresa Edwards—Olympic 4 Time Gold Medalist
Lady Hartman—All-American WNBA Player
Saudia Roundtree—University of Georgia All-American
Tarrance Mathis—Atlanta Falcons
Katrina McClain—Olympic 2 Time Gold Medalist
Inducted into the
Kansas Basketball Coaches Association
Basketball Greats Hall of Fame
|A story about Nino
Former prep star Nino Samuel teaching fundamentals of life
Posted by: Ernie Webb, The Topeka Capital Journal Online
The sounds are clear as a bell. In the background, basketballs carom off the floor, rim and backboard as Nino Samuel describes his journey over the telephone.
It's been a journey full of twists and turns, highs and lows, good times and bad. From high school legend at Salina Central to flameout at Kansas to his current gig as a personal trainer in Covington, Ga., the former Jayhawk has been on a roller coaster equivalent to the Coney Island Cyclone.
"I've been through a lot. I've been at the top and all the way at the bottom," said Samuel, now 53. "But I believe those things happened for a reason, and it's helped me in what I do now."
Remembering the hype
Samuel was an early 1970s version of Kansas State's Bill Walker. Arguably the best prep player in state history up until that time, he won two state championships at Salina Central and was a can't-miss phenom.
"I remember it like it was yesterday," Samuel said. "I was on top of the world. I was 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, athletic and strong with a 46-inch vertical. I just knew I was going to be in the NBA."
He trimmed his list to two schools — Kansas and Arizona — before opting to stay close to home.
Less than two years and a knee surgery later, Samuel was out of Division I basketball. He ended up playing at NAIA Marymount College in Salina, and the school finished third at the 1976 national tournament.
"I knew in my heart of hearts when I left Kansas that I was not going to the NBA. I was a broken person," Samuel said. "One of things that really helps me with these kids is that I can tell them to go to schools that are a fit for them. I still love Kansas, but that was not a good fit for me. I was a greyhound, and that wasn't the style of play. But I hold no animosity for anybody there. I still love Kansas."
Samuel toiled around in pro leagues for a few years, playing in the Philippines and for the Las Vegas Dealers in 1978-79. He had an invite to the Chicago Bulls training camp after the Dealers folded but suffered another knee injury, one of six in his career.
Seven years after all the hype and in his mid-20s, Nino Samuel was out of basketball. "It was time to move on," Samuel said. "I had my degree in sociology, so I went into counseling and did that until I moved to Atlanta. "I don't regret any of it. I take comfort in the fact that I'm doing what I should be."
How he got there
It's 1992. Nino Samuel describes it as the lowest point in his life. His basketball career has been finished for years, and he lives in Las Vegas.
"I needed a kidney transplant," he said. " I was on dialysis for more than a year. I couldn't do anything. At one point, I blew up to 375 pounds.
"But, I was blessed with a kidney transplant. I knew that was a second chance." That second chance came in Atlanta the same year. He became a certified physical trainer, opening his business shortly thereafter.
He also travels around the country for mini-camps and clinics.
"It's really amazing how it's all worked out," Samuel said. "I've got to go to a lot of places and meet a lot of people. This is the right situation for my family."
Fundamentals of life
Dribbling, shooting, rebounding, lifting weights. It's all part of the physical training business Samuel owns and operates in the Atlanta area.
But the physical training is just a piece of the puzzle. "You'll learn all those skills here, the fundamentals," said Samuel, "but the most important thing I'm doing is teaching life skills. I'm teaching these kids the game of life. "I've been through it all, so I can tell these kids about setting goals, getting an education and being strong."
Samuel, who is married to high school sweetheart Tressie and has two children and six grandchildren, works with more than 150 athletes from youths to young adults. He's helped several land scholarships in basketball, football, wrestling, baseball and track and field.
More importantly, the man known affectionately as "The Big Fundamental" and "Old School" has helped shape the lives of troubled children.
"I work with a lot of kids from single-parent homes," he said. "I'll even get calls that have nothing to do with sports — just parents wanting me to talk to their kids and point them in the right direction."
Ernie W. Webb III is filling in for the vacationing Rick Dean, whose column will return Thursday. Webb can be reached at (785) 295-1102 or firstname.lastname@example.org