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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hawks legend and current NBA baller Jameer Nelson will be among the nearly 2,200 students graduating from Saint Joseph’s on May 19.

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The Chester-native will receive his Bachelor of Science degree in sociology.

“Saint Joseph’s has been a big part of my life since I was first recruited to play there,” Nelson said. “It was important to me to finish work on my degree and to set an example for my own children and young student-athletes who look up to me.”

The 14-year NBA pro led the Saint Joseph’s Hawks to the NCAA tournament three times and remains the school’s all-time leading scorer.

In 2003-04, Nelson led the Hawks to a 27-0 regular season as they made a memorable run during March Madness that ended in the Elite Eight.

Nelson was the consensus National Player of the Year that season, earning the Naismith College Player of the Year Award.

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“Jameer has, once again, moved me to tears,” said Phil Martelli, head men’s basketball coach at Saint Joseph’s. “His drive and determination to become a graduate of SJU is extraordinary, but pales in comparison to the why – for his children, for young people he supports through the Pete and Jameer Nelson Foundation, and as an example to the young guys in the NBA. May 19 will be his greatest accomplishment. I am blessed to have Jameer in my life, and I know that I join an army of Hawks, past and present, in standing to congratulate him on this milestone.”

Nelson began the process of completing the coursework for his degree again during the summer of 2016, earning his credits online while playing for the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons.

Jameer Nelson St. Joe's

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

“Our goal is to be a national leader in support for student athletes,” said university president Mark C. Reed. “Jameer, like all of our student athletes, recognizes and appreciates that education is essential.”

The undergraduate ceremony at Saint Joseph’s begins at 9 a.m.