Leaving His Mark Off The Basketball Court

By Jeremy McDonald


SALEM, Ore.— Western Christian’s Alex Nicoli wanted to leave his mark somehow off the court of basketball.

Yes, he played in three State Championship Games and left his mark on the court the past four years with his three-point shot and strong defense with the Western Christian Basketball program on-the-court.

The idea of showing that he was more than just a basketball player stemmed from trying to think of something to do for his Senior Project. Something that would impact the world and show the light of Christ.

Struggling, his mom suggested an idea:

Why not make cloth masks and help out with the Health Care Providers? Nicoli thought it was a good idea, so he went after it.

Nicoli (with ball) left his mark on-the-court the past four years, but wanted to leave his mark somehow beyond the basketball court (Picture by Jeremy McDonald)

“I was really struggling with trying to do a senior project that would impact the world and show the light of Christ. That’s when my mom asked about making masks for health care providers, I was 100% on board and ready to go,” said Nicoli. “It was very important for me because I want to be known more than just a basketball player. I want be known for showing Gods light and love in not just Salem, but all over.”

The goal was a 1,000 mask when he started his Senior Project by April 1. But by the end of it, the Pioneer Senior and an army of family and friends made about 1,100 masks in total.

Nicoli, after getting done with online school, would get going at about 1pm and go until 6 or 7pm. During that span, the crew made about 100 masks. The help was awesome said Nicoli. They collected the necessary supplies, sewed together and see what they were able to do in such a small period of time.

“I mean it was just cool to learn a new life skill and just coming together as a community was super cool,” said Nicoli. “We had people volunteer to help and it was so amazing to see! The initial goal was 1000 but we made about 1100. Me and my mom made about 300 and I had grandma’s, aunts’ and close family friends help us sew and get supplies. It was an awesome feeling to be extremely blessed by my friends and family.”

Missouri Baptist University, where Nicoli will be a freshman at in the Fall, recognized Nicoli for his effort in creating the masks

The project portion is done now, but Nicoli is currently continuing the project for companies and individuals looking for masks during the Coronavirus pandemic. Nicoli knows the importance of the masks in people’s safety from the virus and the comforts of feeling safe while going out, especially when he sees one of the masks he had created.

“It means a lot to continue it. I do continue it because i know there are a lot of people that are struggling. By making these masks, I want people to be able to go out feeling safe while wearing these,” said Nicoli. “It’s actually super cool when you walk into a store and you see one of the masks you made being worn by someone else. That just makes me happy. It may be a senior project and a grade to people, that’s not what it is for me. I want to help out as much as I can and do my part.

“It was super cool! I immediately called my mom and told her and was pretty excited,” Nicoli added about seeing someone wearing one of his masks.

The idea maybe a small part of his journey, but even the littlest of pebbles can create some of the biggest waves.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Tom Rohlffs says:

    Tom Rohlffs has shared a OneDrive file with you. To view it, click the link below.

    2020 Record Book (Draft) no stories.pdf


    I enjoyed your article on Alex Nicoli, especially what he’s doing for his community. I got the Western Christian basketball records from Gary Hull. Conner Marchant now holds the career 3-point record. I’m sending you a PDF copy of my record book, less the 6A All-Tournament teams and the 19 basketball stories at the end of the book. Keep up the great work. —Tom

    Tom Rohlffs
    OSAA Basketball Historian


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