Torrey Pines High basketball player returns to court after beating cancer

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SAN DIEGO — The Torrey Pines High School varsity basketball team tips off the season next Wednesday and point guard Nick Herrmann can’t wait to get back out on the floor.

The junior sat out last season while battling cancer but he beat it and now he’s ready to play again.

“I always kind of knew that I would be back,” Herrmann said. “It’s a lot harder than it looks, a lot harder than it seems. I kind of try to make it look easy, keep a smile on my face.”

But Herrmann’s journey back to the basketball court was anything but easy.

“It hurt kind of a bit starting and it was a process to get my legs back into it but now that I’ve got everything back into it, it’s kind of just maintenance now,” Herrmann said.

Last September, the junior was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer in his left fibula. Over the course of the next nine months, Herrmann underwent chemotherapy, forcing him to watch his team play from the sidelines.

“What he went through last year and the seriousness of what he was dealing with, really shook us all up so to see him back is remarkable,” said head coach John Olive. “I mean it’s a minor miracle that he’s back playing again so soon.”

Herrmann learned he was in remission in May and wasted no time working to get his legs back to full strength.

“You aren’t exactly the same as you used to be, but it was fun, it was kind of a good challenge to learn how to become a better basketball player in different ways than I used to play and it was just a process to get back,” Herrmann said. “It was pretty frustrating at first but I just kind of reminded myself that I’m so lucky to be playing again.”

“He’s got a willpower, he really does, a tremendous willpower,” Olive said. “When he’s committed to something, you can’t stop him from achieving it. He’s very driven.”

The 18-year-old says his faith and perseverance beat cancer and while he’ll always have a permanent reminder of what he’s overcome, it’s the future he’s focused on — and that means stepping back onto the court in a Falcons jersey.

“Everybody texting me all the time, when are you going to be back — it really motivates you to get back out here and it makes you feel really happy when you get back out. I’m sure it will make everybody really happy and hopefully I can inspire a lot of other people to do that same,” said Herrmann.

It’s another shot at life and at basketball that Herrmann doesn’t intend to miss.

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