When Caleb Nero moved to Ogden, he did not know what to expect. The freshman had just come from Oklahoma to begin his career as a guard on the Weber State University men’s basketball team.
The first difference Nero noticed was a major change in topography.
“In Oklahoma, it is straight flat land,” Nero said. “Here, it is nothing but mountains, so that is a big difference. I also noticed the roads are very different. It doesn’t snow as much in Oklahoma.”
After completing his first semester and with his freshman season on the basketball court nearly in the rearview mirror, Nero feels right at home.
“It’s definitely been good overall,” Nero said. “When I first came here, I had to get adjusted to things such as time management and how much of a grind college is. Overall, my teammates have really helped.”
Nero said is he learning how to balance his time while being a student-athlete.
“I struggled a little bit in the first semester. I was just trying to balance everything out,” Nero said. “But I finished with good grades and it is going well now.”
Nero has consistently been the sixth man off the bench for Wildcats head coach Randy Rahe, a role that he has enjoyed.
“I don’t mind coming off the bench,” Nero said. “We have some older guys in front of me. Whatever the team needs, I’m willing to do it.”
Rahe said he appreciates that Nero has complied with any tasks required during the season.
“He’s an absolutely wonderful kid,” Rahe said. “I love coaching him. He’s a hard worker, great teammate and comes from a wonderful family. We couldn’t be happier that he is in our program. He has come a long way from when he first got here.”
Nero is averaging 7.1 points per game through Feb. 20. Some of his most important contributions have come in crucial contests for the ‘Cats. In a Dec. 8 Beehive Classic showdown against Utah State University, Nero scored 15 points, including 13 in the second half.
His team did not come away with the victory, but Rahe was proud of the effort Nero showed in an in-state rivalry game.
“We came back, and he was a big reason why,” Rahe said. “He gave us a spark. He is a good athlete and can get the ball into the paint.”
Rahe pointed to the Big Sky Conference opener at Eastern Washington as a turning point for Nero.
“He really came out of his shell that day, scoring 19 points,” Rahe said. “After the game, he said ‘I know I can do this.’ That was his one real breakout game.”
Weber State junior guard Jerrick Harding said he has tried to be a mentor for Nero this season.
“I feel like freshmen sometimes hit a wall in the middle of the season. I’ve just been trying to stay in his ear and keep his confidence up,” Harding said. “He’s been doing a good job of that.”
As the regular season nears its conclusion, Nero said it will be important to stay strong.
“Whatever coach needs me to do, I will bring it every night,” Nero said. “I need to be that spark and help this team win in any way.”