Photo by Gerald Castillo
Shooting guard: Tre Nottingham grows into major role with Texas State
All Tre Nottingham needs is to see one shot fall.
Nottingham likes to call his style a blend of Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard. He likes Thompson’s catch and shoot, and Leonard’s defense prowess. But the Texas State senior guard’s best weapon is his off-the dribble 3. He uses it to activate what he calls his “domino effect.”
“If I see one going in, the rest are going to go in,” Nottingham said. “So, after I make the first one, I feel like any shot I shoot off the dribble, specifically, it’s going to go.”
He credits his dad, Matthew Nottingham, for teaching him his go-to move. But his father argues that the off-the-dribble 3 is all Tre.
“That one is all him,” Matthew Nottingham said. “I taught him the basics of the game: How to understand the game, how to read the game. All the other extra showman stuff that came from him.”
Tre comes from a basketball family. His dad played for Weber State University and was on NBA practice squads with the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets. One of Tre’s sisters, Tre’Shonti Nottingham, was a three-time All-Big West Conference honoree for the University of California-Riverside.
Tre’s mom Crystal Nottingham bought him a small basketball hoop when he was four years old, and his dad put the ball in his hands. He’s been playing ever since.
Matthew remembers when his son came to him when he was nine years old and told him he’d like to play college ball.
“I was like ‘Son, if we do this, that’s going to mean it’s going to be a different kind of commitment. That means it’s going to be a different kind of training. We’re not going to do this for fun. That means let’s get serious. Your priorities are going to change,’” Matthew Nottingham said. “And he said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”
After that, Matthew devised a training regimen for Tre. He taught him the game and began helping him revolve his life around basketball.
“He taught me how to play. He taught me how to shoot. He taught me all the moves. He taught me the game of basketball. He taught me how to play. He’s everything,” Tre Nottingham said. “Playing with him and having someone in your family there to teach you the game of basketball, it gives you a bigger advantage because you’re with them everyday. They know you better than anybody else, and he prepared me for college and high school.”
Matthew coached his son through AAU and high school. During his senior season at Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, Calif., Tre amassed 9.7 points, 7.4 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game. But he still didn’t garner the kind of college attention he wanted.
Tre knew he could play at the Division I level. So, he decided to go the junior college route. His dad advised against it.
Tre started his collegiate career at Mt. San Jacinto College in San Jacinto, Calif. He quickly made his presence known. He tallied 16.4 points, 4.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game as a freshman. Tre was named the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He increased his production as a sophomore, where he averaged 19.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.3 steals.
Tre’s dominating performance in junior college helped him receive offers from Colorado State, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Hawai’i and Quinnipiac. He chose Texas State because it felt like a brotherhood.
“I love the coaching staff, the chemistry me and the guys got, the chemistry me and the coaching staff got, it’s a lovely place to be,” Nottingham said. “I’m glad I made this decision.”
The 6-foot-2 guard’s first year in San Marcos was a challenge. After then-sophomore guard Marlin Davis suffered a season-ending knee injury, Nottingham was thrusted into the starting point guard role, which isn’t his natural position.
The extra grind from the new spot took toll on him, Texas State head coach Danny Kaspar said. This year, however, he’s moved back to shooting guard, thriving in his role off the ball.
“Jaylen (Shead) and Mason (Harrell) are playing point guard for us and that’s allowed him to open up his scoring and his scoring is very valuable to us,” Kaspar said. “We need him to score points in an efficient manner in order to win.”
Through 22 games this season, the Moreno Valley, Calif. native has recorded 13.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and two assists per game. Junior guard Nijal Pearson calls Nottingham a big piece of Texas State’s team.
“Tre’s development from this year to last year is amazing,” Pearson said. “Like, when he came in, he was just a scorer. He was a good teammate don’t get me wrong, but he wanted to score the ball. But he’s translating into just playing hard. He don’t care if he’s got eight points or 25, he’s going to dive on the ground, hustle, take charges, rebound. Tre’s just got a vocal voice. He wants to win every single game. I love playing with Tre.”
Nottingham says the biggest difference this season is the amount of guys returning, which has helped him on the court.
“Anybody can score 20 points a game,” Nottingham said. “We’ve got Peacock, Jaylen (Shead) and Nijal, myself, Eric Terry, anybody can go. So, playing with these guys, they give me a lot of shots. Jaylen, his IQ, he finds me a lot. Nijal finds me a lot and we’re just having fun out there sharing the ball.”
Matthew Nottingham has enjoyed watching his son grow as a player at Texas State. He taught Tre how to dominate on the ball. He’s loved seeing the senior dominate off of it.
When Tre’s basketball career comes to a close, he’d like to follow in his father’s footsteps as trainer and coach. Matthew was surprised to hear his son wants to do what he does, but he also believes he’d be good at it.
“The stuff that we went through, the way we banged heads, I’m surprised he wants to train,” Matthew Nottingham said. “But I wouldn’t put it past him. I mean, his impact, the things he’s accomplished, what he’s been through to get to right here and his goal all beyond this, I can definitely see him being a trainer because he’s also a guy that’s an example: Hard work, commitment, trust the process. So yeah, I mean I can see him being a great trainer.”
Tre just wants to help players learn the game the way his father taught him.
“It’s more about guiding players on the right path,” Tre Nottingham said. “Getting them ready for the outside world. So, If I want to do anything, I want to follow my dad’s footsteps be a trainer, be a college coach and just keep kids on the right path and getting better.”