Five years ago, at age 13, Darnell Nurse was running sprints with his famous uncle in a workout in Arizona that started getting competitive.

They had been working out together for a while. Nurse had begun lifting weights, getting stronger and stronger

“You know what? I want to be the best hockey player that’s out there,’” Nurse told his uncle that day.

“Well, that’s great,” former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said. “I hope so and that’s why we’re working.”

“No, I’m serious,” Nurse shot back.

During the 2010-11 season, the defenseman/son of McNabb’s sister impressed minor-league scouts with 11 goals and 18 assists in 38games with the Don Mills Flyers Minor Midgets. The next season, he was selected third overall in the OHL draft by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. This season, he exploded onto the scene with 12 goals and 29 assists in 68 games and was named an assistant captain.

Nurse’s stock rose tremendously in the past year and he’s projected to be a high pick in this June’s NHL Entry Draft. Many project him to be the second defenseman chosen behind Portland Winterhawk and almost-certain No. 1 pick Seth Jones.

Dave Isaac covers the Flyers for 97.3 ESPN and The Courier Post.  Reach Dave Isaac at Follow him on Twitter @davegisaac.

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