Prep Boys Basketball

Talkin' a good game: Palmyra's Nunnelly uses creativity as his strong suit

Palmyra point guard Bill Nunnelly, center, fights through a double team during the Missouri all-stars practice Tuesday night at the Hannibal Middle School in preparation for Saturday's 36th annual McDonald's/Herald-Whig Classic at Quincy University's Pepsi Arena. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 12, 2019 12:20 am Updated: Jun. 12, 2019 12:46 am


Bill Nunnelly has plenty to say and even more to share.

He figures that's his path to success.

"I like talking to people," said Nunnelly, the Palmyra product who played point guard on the boys basketball team and parlayed it into a scholarship to Culver-Stockton College. "I like saying my ideas. It's like I'm two different people from two different regions of the earth. It's providing unique perspective."

He never shied away from offering his thoughts to Palmyra coach Ryan Wood.

"I did that a lot this year," Nunnelly said. "I spoke up."

Sometimes those suggestions were welcome. Other times they fell on deaf ears.

"I'm not going to lie, sometimes Coach Wood took it like, 'Bill's just being crazy,'" Nunnelly said. "Sometimes he actually used it, too, and it actually helped us."

Being allowed to express himself is vital.

"I don't like to be all wrapped up in doing what everybody tells you to do," said Nunnelly, who will represent Missouri during Saturday's 36th annual McDonald's/Herald-Whig Classic at Quincy University's Pepsi Arena. "I don't want to be one of those people who has no say in what you want to do. I just like being me."

So who exactly who is Bill Nunnelly?

"I'm a calm, collected, laid-back person with a creative mindset," he said.

That creativity flows when he steps on the floor.

Nunnelly averaged 13.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last winter, starting all 26 games as the Panthers reached the Class 3 District 7 semifinals. He shot 52.7 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free-throw line, earning second-team All-Clarence Cannon Conference honors.

"He has ability to beat the defense off the dribble and make plays for himself or others," Wood said. "He's creative that way."

He'll pair well with Hannibal's Dezi Jones and?Monroe City's C.E. Talton and Blake Hays to give the Missouri all-stars a lightning-quick backcourt capable of ending Illinois' win streak. The Land of Lincolners have won nine straight Classics and own a 33-2 record overall.

Nunnelly said winning this game starts with thinking and believing it can happen.

"You've got to think about a lot of stuff," Nunnelly said. "In this world right now, if you don't think, you don't have a foundation to build stuff on and you need that starting point and that base."

Basketball is his foundation and his base because it is the most creative outlet he knows.

"I feel it is more creative than any other sport on this earth," Nunnelly said. "It's the work ethic that goes with it, too. You can create anything you want. Ball-handling, finishing, shooting, it gives you the chance to be creative in a lot of ways. I just love how it does that."

It's sparked his interest in being creative in other avenues.

"I'm going to be a marketing manager," Nunnelly said. "I hope to own my own business."

And he's going to talk to anyone who will listen and hopefully find inspiration in one of his ideas.

"That's what talking will do," Nunnelly said. "It opens doors."