BELLEVILLE — Guard Nick Van Osdale is looking forward to a healthy senior season for the Belleville West Maroons.
But that's not all. Van Osdale, who was sidelined 15 games by a broken right wrist as a junior, also is upbeat about his future at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.
The 6-foot-1 Van Osdale, who averaged 15.1 points and 2.9 assists per game last season, will sign a letter of intent Nov. 14 with the Division II Lions, who play in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
"They started recruiting me last December, before I broke my wrist," Van Osdale said. "I went over there last year to watch some games and I really liked them. They offered me (a scholarship) in the spring."
Van Osdale already had strong relationships with Lindenwood coach Brad Soderberg and his assistants, Terry Hollander and Marshall Newman. An official visit to the Lindenwood campus in September made Van Osdale's decision a slam dunk.
"I really liked it," he said. "I liked the players. I liked the style they play. The coaches all treated me great. The campus itself was really nice. I fell in love with it."
Lindenwood's success played a role. The Lions were 28-3 last season, and are 80-19 in three years under Soderberg.
"He's had great success over there," Van Osdale said. "That was another huge factor --going to a school where I thought I could win."
That's all Van Osdale cares about, according to West coach Joe Muniz.
"Nick's about winning," Muniz said. "He's a team player. I think Nick will take 10 points a game if we can win 18. He's going to score, but I think if he scores 25 or 26 a game and we lose, that's not going to make him real happy."
Van Osdale said he also considered Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Northeastern and Eastern Kentucky. Lindenwood was the most aggressive.
Staying close to home wasn't a huge priority for Van Osdale, whose primary strengths are attacking the basket and passing.
"It was, but it wasn't at the same time," Van Osdale said. "(Lindenwood) is far enough away that I can still kind of feel like I'm away at college, but I'm close enough that I could come home if I wanted."
Van Osdale didn't want to delay his decision.
"It was a big deal for me to try to commit before the season so I could worry about the season," he said. "It was pretty difficult. There were a lot of colleges coming in and out. You didn't really know what was going to happen."
Van Osdale, the son of Gary and Rhonda Van Osdale, of Belleville, has not declared a major. Accounting and education are options, and Van Osdale said he is intrigued by a career that could include coaching.
Van Osdale has played point guard and shooting guard at West. Soderberg has indicated to him that he will be a point guard at Lindenwood.
"This year, they lose their starting point guard," Van Osdale said of senior Alex Bazzell. "There's one kid that's in front of me. (Soderberg) said (playing time) is basically up to who plays the best. He said as long as you play well, you'll play."
Muniz said Van Osdale is versatile enough to play either spot.
"Nick's a basketball player," Muniz said. "He can play any position. It doesn't make any difference. He's going to be successful if he's at the point or the off-guard."
Muniz said Lindenwood is a "great fit" for Van Osdale.
"They've got a great coaching staff over there and they really wanted Nick," Muniz said. "They definitely showed it. Basically, from the time he got back from his injury and throughout the entire recruiting process, they made him their No. 1 priority.
"They run that program like a Division I program at the Division II level. (Soderberg) has been coaching that program like a Division I program. They want Division I players to go there. The longer Brad is there, the closer they're going to get to the national tournament."