Impressive walk-on with athletic talent and great instincts for the game ... Valla was rated as one of the best point guards in Chicago as a senior and was a sensational prep wide receiver as well ... He should provide the Bears with needed depth at guard this winter and will use his solid work ethic to push for time in his first season.
A two-sport standout at Chicago's Marist High School, Valla helped the Red Hawks to a 12-16 record his senior season as a four-year starting point guard and three-year letterman for coach Gene Nolan ... Was a prolific scorer, averaging 20.1 points his senior season while being named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Assocation all-state team ... Also averaged 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 2009-10 while earning Regional Player of the Year, all-conference, and all-area honors ... Broke school career scoring record with 1,493 points and also topped Marist single-game records for points (42) and free throws (17) as a senior ... Rated as the No. 11 point guard in Chicago class of 2010 with "good control over the basketball, he can shoot well and has great floor vision"... Earned East Suburban Catholic Conference all-league honors three seasons ... Averaged 20 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a junior in 2008-09, once again earning Regional Player of the Year laurels and leading the Red Hawks to a 15-15 campaign ... As a sophomore, he averaged 15.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists for the 16-13 squad ... Team was 19-5 and won the conference his freshman year ... Helped Marist to a state 8A runner-up finish in football and 11-3 record for coach Pat Dunne ... Chicago Tribune called him the No. 2 wide receiver in Illinois his senior season ... Had 50 receptions for 768 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior for a 9-3 squad and followed up that effort with 50 receptions for 1,032 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior year ... Played AAU basketball for the Illinois Kings.
Nicholas Brandon Valla was born 3/10/92 in Hazelcrest, Ill. ... Son of Ken and Nancy Valla of Tinley Park, Ill. ... Has a sister, Jamie ... Plans to earn a degree at Missouri State's esteemed College of Business Administration with an emphasis in sales and management ... Biggest sports thrill was playing in the Illinois state football championship ... Favorite food is steak and lobster ... Loves to watch Spongebob and ESPN SportsCenter ... Favorite movies are Hoosiers, The Blind Side, and The Hangover ... Participated in team service projects at The Kitchen, and Cox Pediatrics ... Wants to coach college basketball someday.