May 7, 2021 – By NJP

During the 2018-2019 season and through last years pandemic wait and see season that was eventaully cancelled, we had the chance to interact with Nithin Kumar from WWPN quite often. As a junior, Nithin was an absolute standout in NJ high school volleyball and made the NJP first team all state. But beyond his athletic abilities on the volleyball court, we found him to be a genuine, articulate, and caring soul who thought more about his teammates than he did about himself. He handled himself with the maturity of someone 5-10 years beyond his age. And we are happy to call him our friend and colleague now that he is past his high school years.

There are so many student athletes that opt to play club volleyball at college rather than play NCAA. The rigors of being a D1/D2/D3 athlete can sometimes conflict with academic priorities set by the student. Having something that is more fun than competitive can be a great release for students. And suprisingly, as you can see from some of Nithin’s comments, the level of play can be insanely high. It’s quite evident that some club teams at certain Universities are playing at a higher level than some lower level NCAA programs.

Nithin and WWPS player Tyler Tam

We wanted to give the NJ volleyball community some insight into the experiences of student athletes from New Jersey at the collegiate level at both NCAA, NAIA, and Club. We thought Nithin would be a perfect example of a player that can share valuable tips about his experience at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. IU is a Big 10 school with enrollment approaching 65,000 students.

Many thanks to Nithin for taking the time to share his experience.

Here is our interview with Nithin Kumar… and check out his player interview from two years ago at this link as well:

Tell us a bit about yourself, Nithin?

My name is Nithin Kumar, I currently attend the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington. I am from West Windsor, New Jersey and I was a WWP North 2020 graduate. My college graduation year is 2024, but I am trying to graduate college a semester early if possible, so December 2023 is the goal. As far as my family, I was blessed with two hard working, role model parents who I got a lot of traits from. I also have an older brother who got me into Volleyball when I was younger, and he’s been one of my biggest inspirations for a while.

All Stars!

You were one of NJP’s highest rated players for high school volleyball during the 2018-2019 year when you graduated. You chose a path aligned with your academics to attend University of Indiana. Tell us about your
experience transitioning to College life away from home during a pandemic year?

It was an honor that NJP recognized me as a top player during my 2019 season, and I was really looking forward to doing even better in 2020, but unfortunately did not get to play. I know how hard it’s been on others, and I still wish my team got to play in 2020 because there is no doubt in my mind we would have made the State tournament and been a contender for winning the Conference. Transitioning to College from High School is definitely an adjustment. There are definitely so many great benefits to college, but at the same time, the workload is often overwhelming to many people. I try to be as efficient as possible and get everything done in a timely manner while still enjoying my time here.

Many college bound athletes opt to play club volleyball rather than NCAA D1-3. Tell us about your college club
volleyball experience.

I chose to play club volleyball even though I had interest from several D2 & D3 schools, and even some D1 schools at some points. My decision was based on looking after my long-term goals and understanding that playing college volleyball officially will be a time commitment that I may not be able to give my all. I’ve always given Volleyball everything I had, and I could feel myself wanting to pursue the Club Volleyball path. So far, playing at Indiana University’s club team has been great. I will admit, it was a new experience going from being the Team Captain in
High School to a rather average player on this team. Some of my teammates are insanely skilled and I wonder why they are not playing officially at another college. We were able to arrange weekly practices as a team which has been fun, however, I have not played in over a month due to some injuries that I am hoping to heal soon. I have been keeping active though by lifting weights everyday and ensuring to get my exercise in. I can’t wait to play more vball in the summer in NJ.

Indiana University Hoosiers Mascot Arch Logo Short Sleeve T Shirt - Ca –  Underground Printing

What was the toughest aspect of the transition for you as a student and a player?

The difficulty of coursework is definitely one of the hardest aspects of the transition from High School to College. I try to push myself academically and take challenging courses. Another tough aspect is that I miss playing for High School North with my teammates who I spent years getting to know and building those close bonds. Like other 2020 grads, we got robbed of our senior year, but it has been nice seeing younger teammates take over and lead the way now at North.

What are you studying in college or what is your career path?

I plan to double major in Finance and either Accounting or Business Analytics as well, depending on what career path I want to pursue.

Do you recommend club volleyball to other students are currently making college decisions for Fall 2021?

I definitely recommend club volleyball to other students looking to continue playing volleyball. For many players who want to focus primarily on their academics while still being involved in the sport, club may be the right choice for you.

Do you have any video or clips from your games that we can share with the NJ volleyball community?

Unfortunately, our club team at Indiana was shut down, and we were only allowed to practice so I do not have any video clips.

What has been the best part for you as a new college student at Indiana?

I think the best part of IU and going to college is experiencing new things and meeting people from all over the world. Even though many classes were online, it was still relatively easy to meet people and make new friends.

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