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An all-star on the court and in the community | TSU player wants to solve food desert problem

Joirdon Karl Nicholas is playing in this weekend's HBCU All-Star game. His goal off the court -- nutrition.

Part of the Final Four weekend fun in Houston is an all-star game for players from HBCUs. That game airs on KHOU 11 Sunday at 3 p.m. 

One of the all-stars who will play in the game has been filling up a different type of stat sheet.

As a graduate student starring for Texas Southern, Joirdon Karl Nicholas fills many roles -- most expected, one unexpected. 

"Here's the scouting report I have on you. Energy, rebounding, expert on grocery stores," KHOU 11's Jason Bristol said. "Is that right?"

"Yes, sir," Joirdon said. 

Before we get to the obvious, you should know most people call him Karl. Tigers' coach Johnny Jones calls him invaluable 

"Just his passion, really for the game," Jones said. "And when you have that type of passion and that type of love, teammates have a tendency of rallying around you. His presence has really been special for us." 

Nicholas led the conference in rebounding while averaging nearly 11 points a game. So playing pro is the mission, but he's also been focused on nutrition. 

"I have a little sister. She's 13," he said.  

Nicholas said he was struck by all the advertising of not-so-healthy foods, targeting kids like his younger sister. 

"I'm watching my little sister just chill in the house and when she's hungry, you know, she just gets on her phone and orders something to eat," he said. 

And that led him down another road.

"In Third Ward, there is only one H-E-B," he said, speaking to areas known as food deserts. "Say if you live in Sunnyside, they don't really have a lot of grocery stores. They have a meat store and they have like a small grocery store. If you really want to go to like a Walmart or Sam's Club, you got to go to Pearland. It's just an ongoing thing. And it was very interesting to me." 

It was so interesting that it became the subject of his thesis.

So what can be done about it?

"I really feel like we had the means to do it," he said.  

Though he doesn't have all the answers, years from now, he hopes to be part of the solution. 

"My true, honest goal, like the end goal, is I want to be an entrepreneur," he said. 

To be an all-star, you have to put in the work. Whether it's basketball or assisting others, Joirdon Karl Nicholas is hungry to do more.

Jason Bristol on social media: Facebook | Twitter

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