Nick Herrmann, inspirational Torrey Pines guard, dies at 20
Nick Herrmann, the Torrey Pines guard whose valiant battle with cancer and his game winning shot in the 2021 CIF Open Division championship game inspired countless people across the world, has died after a second battle with the disease.
Herrmann was 20.
With 0.5 second left in a 60-60 game against rival Cathedral Catholic, Herrmann got open on the left wing had hit a 30-foot shot that gave the Falcons the Open Division title over the team that had beaten them the year before in the same game.
The emotional post-game celebration saw Herrmann tearfully embrace his mother, Nicole Elliott-Herrmann, who had also endured a cancer battle at the same time as her son.
Within weeks of the shot, Herrmann's dreams of playing Division 1 college basketball were on the precipice of coming true, as Cal State Northridge offered him a full scholarship, and he accepted.
But he never played a college game, as the same bone cancer he had beaten returned shortly after he accepted the scholarship.
Known by family and friends as an iridescently positive person with a tireless work ethic, Herrmann, a talented and decorated basketball player, was originally diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his left leg right before the start of the 2018-19 school year.
A serious cancer with a 30 percent five-year survival rate, the disease threatened to end Herrmann's career just as it was getting started: he was starting to curry interest from several Division 1 schools after a strong travel basketball season with Gamepoint when he received the diagnosis.
Doctors initially feared they would have to amputate the leg in order to excise the cancer.
But Herrmann vowed to fight the disease. He missed the entire school year and doctors had to remove a portion of his fibula in a surgery that required nearly 50 staples to close it.
Herrmann received encouragement from countless onlookers and admirers, including then-Marquette star guard Markus Howard, who met Herrmann as part of a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In May of 2019, Herrmann finished his final round of treatment and rang the bell symbolizing that he was cancer free.
He returned to the basketball court during the winter of 2019, working his way back into the starting lineup and helping the Falcons reach the 2020 Open Division finals, where they fell to Cathedral Catholic.
Then, in his final year of high school, he paired with fellow senior Chris Howell to lead the Falcons on a historic season that saw them go undefeated through the regular season and win the CIF Open Division title in storybook fashion, with a shot that cemented his status as a basketball legend in San Diego.
The shot went viral, drawing coverage from every major news and sports media outlet.
The Falcons would fall one game short of an undefeated season, losing in the CIF Regional Finals to Etiwanda 68-65, a game in which he had 24 points and 7 rebounds and made a big impression on the Etiwanda players and fans.
Herrmann was named to the All San Diego Section First Team after averaging 18.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
In recent weeks, friends and family had streamed to Rady Children's Hospital to visit with Herrmann, whose condition had worsened. Tributes poured in from hundreds of people, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr, who each sent videos encouraging Herrmann in his battle.
Torrey Pines coaches have said that they are working on creating a scholarship fund in Herrmann's honor. Memorial and funeral service arrangements are pending.