Regretful Nusser opens up about dismissal from Belle Vernon basketball team

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Thursday, April 30, 2020 | 6:48 PM


The latter stages of his senior basketball season took a sharp turn into the abyss, and Cam Nusser admits he could have done some things differently to avoid the unfortunate outcome.

The fiery guard from Belle Vernon was here again, gone again throughout the Leopards’ run in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs and eventually was dismissed from the team.

The 17-a-game scorer gave his coaches and teammates a lot to unpack and has regrets. Ultimately, he wants people to know what happened sits hard on his shoulders and that he is viewing it as a life lesson.

But he also doesn’t take full blame.

“I feel remorse toward my teammates whom I let down with this whole deal,” Nusser said. “They knew and I knew I was better than that. And of course, I would’ve loved to play in the semifinals and the state run.”

An initial ankle sprain in the WPIAL first round against Derry sidelined Nusser briefly, but he was absent from the building completely when Belle Vernon took on New Castle in the semifinals at North Allegheny.

“There was an incident in school, a weird accident actually, causing me to be suspended the remainder of the day,” Nusser said. “I was not ineligible like some people said.”

Nusser watched the game online at home and said, “I was the happiest man alive when they went out there and got the job done.”

Nusser was brought back for the WPIAL title game against Highlands at Petersen Events Center. He played a few minutes and buried a long 3-pointer in the loss.

“I didn’t have to play him then,” Leopards coach Joe Salvino said. “Other people wanted to take the blame. But I felt like I should give him an opportunity.”

Nusser, who holds several 3-point records at BVA including nine in a game, had hoped to play more minutes in the championship but said school officials thought he should be suspended further.

He thought the suspension had passed and was ready to move on. He turned to the internet but he admits that only compounded the problem.

“Some people in the sports department didn’t think I should play,” Nusser said. “After the game, I posted something on Snapchat calling someone out, saying they were persuading my coach not to play me.”

School officials saw the post and advised Salvino to dismiss Nusser, which he did. “It was a violation of social media conduct,” Nusser said. “We signed something at the beginning of the season. That was really that.”

His season finished, he missed the team’s run to the PIAA second round where the Leopards lost an epic, four-overtime thriller against Lancaster Catholic, 84-82, at Altoona.

Talking about the incident could be what gives Nusser closure and allows him to start the next chapter of his playing career.

He has accepted a preferred walk-on offer to play at Cal (Pa.).

“I don’t wish any young person any wrong,” Salvino said. “I hope he learns his lesson when he gets to Cal. If he hasn’t by now, though, it’s going to be tough for him. He’ll have a lot of new people around him. He has to change his ways, and we hope he does.”

With that being said, what was the main lesson Nusser learned from his ordeal?

“Never take anything for granted, and control what you can control,” he said.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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