Player Profile: 2026 Mainland G Nate Kirk

2026 Mainland G Nate Kirk sits down for an interview with The Hoop Vibe..

DAYTONA, FLORIDA – Nate Kirk gained a plethora of experience this past year between his 8th grade season and AAU ball.

The 2026 5-11 point guard averaged 12.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.4 APG and 2.7 SPG at Ormond Beach Calvary Christian as an 8th grader.

Kirk transferred to Mainland after the school year and interestingly enough, his top-scoring performance last season came against his new squad. He dropped 31 points in the loss to Mainland in game No. 4 of the 2022 campaign.

Mainland is a school that Kirk is very familiar with as his mother Nitasha used to be the girls’ basketball coach there.

“It’s been a dream of mine to play high school basketball there, so for me to now actually be there, it’s just crazy,” he said. “I’m just excited to be there because I know coach Joe [Giddens] is going to push me to be my best and I’m excited to play the top competition and give my all every game and practice.”

Kirk earned his first offer back in December from Bethune Cookman while receiving his second offer in June from Jacksonville. He also has interest from Troy.

With a varsity year under his belt previously at Ormond Beach Calvary Christian, he said it truly helped him get a feel for that style of basketball.

“When I was playing with my age group (junior varsity), the game was very slow, but once I got into my first game with them, it just felt so fast-paced to me,” Kirk said. “Now it just feels normal. It doesn’t even feel sped up at all.”

This past July, Kirk earned a unique opportunity to play for the 17U Loyalty United program after starting out the summer with the 15U group.

“It was great a experience to play with the older guys in front of a lot of different college coaches and it was great competition,” he said. “I feel like they pushed me to be better.”

Loyalty United’s 17U head coach Charles Coffel told me that he wishes they moved up Kirk earlier in the summer.  

“We wanted him to get comfortable with AAU basketball before we moved him up. Once he was with us, it was easy to see his talent after the first tournament,” Coffel said. “He scored 18 points and added eight assists in his first game as the starting point guard.”

During the July Live Period event Hoop Seen’s ‘Best of The South’, Kirk averaged 13.5 PPG for his side.

“I liked that he is a real point guard. He has a grown man type of poise and is fearless. With him on the court, he is a true leader and warrior,” Coffel said. “He demanded our defense and communicated; it was impressive. I loved coaching him and look forward to having him next year.”

From Kirk’s perspective, he pointed out one noticeable difference in playing up in the 17U division during the AAU summer, the physicality.

“They are much older and they’ve grown into their bodies before me, so they are stronger and they will have an edge on you a bit,” he said.

Adding strength is the number one focus for Kirk among other things this fall as he prepares for his second varsity campaign and freshman year at his new stomping grounds.

“I want to get faster. I want to get better on the defensive end and then I also want to become a more consistent shooter because I kind of struggled in that regard last year,” he said.

Basketball runs in Kirk’s blood and his connection to Mainland has been long valued.

His mother Nitasha was not only the coach for the girls’ team there previously, but she also played four years of collegiate ball at Auburn.

Kirk said he is excited to don the Mainland blue and yellow uniforms just like basketball alumni, eight time NBA All-Star Vince Carter and NBA players Tony Bobbit, George McCloud and Tim Pickett.

Recent Mainland grads, 2020 G Jordan Sears (Tennessee-Martin), 2019 G RJ Rhoden (Long Beach State) and 2019 forward Johnny Brown (Florida State College at Jacksonville) are just the latest notable prospects to experience success there.

Kirk is now following in their footsteps as he looks to leave his own mark for the Buccaneers.

Jake Perper has covered sports as a writer since 2010 and a basketball scout since 2015. He was the Southeast Scouting Director for the Prep Hoops Circuit and the lead scout for Prep Hoops’ Florida site for seven years. You can follow him on Twitter @thehoopvibe.