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Nebraska Men's Basketball Photo Credit: Savannah Hamm/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Travel to No. 7 Purdue


Nebraska Men's Basketball Photo Credit: Savannah Hamm/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska takes on its second ranked opponent in four days on Friday, as the Huskers travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on the No. 7/5 (AP/Coaches) Purdue Boilermakers. Tipoff from Mackey Arena is slated for 5:30 p.m. (CT) and the matchup will be carried on FS1 and the Huskers Radio Network. Live video is also available on the Fox Sports app, while the Husker app will feature the Huskers Radio Network call.

Friday's matchup in West Lafayette marks the Huskers' first trip to Purdue since the 2018-19 season, as no current Husker has played in Mackey Arena.
  

Game 18: Nebraska at No. 7/5 Purdue
Date: Friday, Jan. 15
Tipoff:  5:30 p.m. (CT)
Location: West Lafayette, Ind.
Arena: Mackey Arena (14,240)

Nebraska Cornhuskers
2021-22 Record: 6-11, 0-6 B1G
Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record at Nebraska: 20-56 (3rd year)
Career Record: 135-112 (8th year)

No. 7/5 Purdue Boilermakers
2021-22 Record: 13-2, 2-2 B1G
Head Coach: Matt Painter
Record at Purdue: 368-186 (17th year)
Career Record: 393-191 (18th year)

Series History
Series History:    Purdue leads, 17-6
Last Matchup: PUR 75, NEB 58 (2/23/21)

On the Air
Radio: Friday's game will be carried on the Huskers Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington. It is also available on Huskers.com and the Huskers app. 

TV/Online: Friday's game will be televised on the FS1 with Brandon Gaudin and Nick Bahe on the call. It is also available on the web, mobile devices and connected TVs via the Fox Sports App.

The Huskers (6-11, 0-6 Big Ten) are looking for their first Big Ten win after battling with No. 25 Illinois but falling short in an 81-71 setback Tuesday evening. Nebraska had tied the game with 3:57 left after a pair of Bryce McGowens free throws, but Illinois responded with a decisive 12-2 spurt to pull away. It marked the second straight home game where NU had a chance to knock off a ranked opponent, but fell short in the final minutes. McGowens continued his solid run, leading the Huskers with 19 points and adding six rebounds in a losing effort. McGowens, who is third nationally among all true freshmen in scoring at 15.9 points per game, has reached double figures in seven straight games dating back to Dec. 11. The 6-foot-7 guard from Pendleton, S.C. is also second on the team in both rebounding (5.5 rpg) and assists per game (1.7 apg).

McGowens was one of three Huskers in double figures against the Illini. Alonzo Verge had 14 points and a game-high nine assists, while Derrick Walker had 14 points and seven boards. Walker's efforts helped limit Kofi Cockburn to just 16 points on 18 shots, as the Illini center shot under 50 percent for just the second time in 2021-22.

The Huskers will need another big effort from Walker, as No. 7 Purdue (12-2, 2-2 Big Ten) has been off since a 74-67 win over Penn State on Saturday after Tuesday's matchup with Michigan was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.  Trevion Williams came off the bench for 21 points and nine rebounds at Penn State to lead four Boilermakers in double figures. The post combo of Williams and Zach Edey combine for more than 28 points and 16 rebounds per contest.

Friday's game continues a three-game, seven-day stretch, as NU returns home to face Indiana in a special MLK Day matchup. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m.
 
B1G Number
13.6 - Derrick Walker is averaging 13.6 points per game on 67 percent shooting over the Huskers' last five games. Walker has reached double figures in five straight games, the longest stretch of his career.

3- Alonzo Verge's three games with 10+ assists tie for fourth nationally, and matches the most by any power conference player in 2021-22 (also Kentucky's Sahvir Wheeler and Kansas State's Marquis Nowell) as of Jan. 12. Verge never had 10+ assists in his two seasons at Arizona State.
 
About Purdue
Purdue comes into the week as the highest of the five ranked Big Ten teams, as the Boilermakers are 12-2 and ranked seventh in the country. Matt Painter is in his 17th season at Purdue and has guided the Boilermakers to NCAA appearances in six of the last seven seasons (no NCAA Tournament in 2019-20 because of COVID). Purdue returned all five starters and all but one letterwinner from a team that went 18-10 before being upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In 2021-22, Purdue  started the year 8-0 including wins over North Carolina, Villanova, Florida State and Iowa to move to No. 1 in the AP poll. The Boilermakers lost at the buzzer against Rutgers than rattled off four straight wins before dropping a 74-69 game to nationally ranked Wisconsin.

Purdue features three players on the midseason Wooden Award Watch list in Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey and Trevion Williams. Ivey leads Purdue with 16.2 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range. Edey is averaging 14.9 ppg on 71 percent shooting and 7.4 rpg, while Williams is at 13.5 ppg and a team-high 8.8 rpg. Sasha Stefanovic is the fourth Purdue player in double figures, as he averages 11.3 ppg while shooting 42 percent from 3-point range.

Series History: Friday's game between the Huskers and Purdue will be the 24th all-time meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 1947. Purdue holds a 17-6 lead in the all-time series, including a 11-4 mark (10-3 in regular season; 1-1 in Big Ten Tournament) since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011-12. Nebraska's last win over Purdue in 2019 featured the first triple-double in school school history by Cam Mack. The Huskers are looking for their first-ever win in West Lafayette.

Last meeting: Purdue used a 19-4 second-half run en route to a 75-58 win on Feb. 21, 2021. NU led 49-46 after Teddy Allen's jumper with 13:14 left, but Purdue took control over the next six minutes as Sasha Stefanovic had eight of his 14 points off the bench, including a pair of 3-pointers in an 8-0 run, which stretched the Purdue lead from six to 14 with 6:50 remaining. The Huskers pulled to within 67-57 with 4:19 left, but Stefanovic hit a pair of 3-pointers to keep NU at bay.

Jaden Ivey paced the Boilermakers with 15 points, while Brandon Newman added 10 points and seven rebounds. Shamiel Stevenson led the Huskers with 10 points off the bench, as the Husker reserves combined for 37 points. Thorir ThorbjarnarsonKobe Webster and Trey McGowens had nine points each.
 
Last Time Out
Nebraska stood toe-to-toe with No. 25 Illinois, but the Fighting Illini used a 12-2 run in the final four minutes to stave off the Huskers, 81-71 at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Jan. 11

In a tightly contest battle, neither team led by more than five in the second half until the final stretch after Nebraska pulled even at 65-all on a pair of Bryce McGowens' free throws with 3:57 left. Coleman Hawkins' offensive putback started a decisive 7-0 run, as the Illini took a 72-65 lead on a 3-pointer from Da'Monte Williams with 2:20 left. NU pulled to within five at 72-67 on a pair of Alonzo Verge Jr. free throws, but Illinois ran off five straight, including a 3-pointer from Trent Frazier, who led all scorers with 29 points.

Frazier's 29 led three Illini (12-5, 5-0) in double figures, while Kofi Cockburn (16) and Jacob Grandison (12) also finished in double figures as Illinois won for the 10th time in the last 11 contests.
McGowens paced three Huskers (6-11, 0-6) with 19 points and six rebounds. Verge and Derrick Walker each added 14 points. Walker added seven rebounds while Verge tallied nine assists.  The Huskers shot 45.8 percent from the field (25-59) and were 6-for-12 from the three-point range (50 percent).
 
Worth Noting
• Nebraska faces its fourth ranked opponent in the last five games on Friday, as the Huskers will be looking for not only their first-ever win in West Lafayette, but their first top-10 road win since a 60-51 win over No. 9 Michigan State on Feb. 16, 2014. That is one of three top-10 road wins in program history (also at No. 7 Iowa State in 1996-97; at No. 1 Missouri in 1981-82).
 
• The Huskers are 2-11 all-time against teams ranked seventh in the AP poll with the wins coming at Iowa State (2/22/97) and against Duquesne (12/9/69).
 
• Derrick Walker Jr. is one of only seven players nationally averaging double figures while shooting at least 70 percent from the field as of Jan. 12.
Walker is shooting 73.5 percent from the field this season and has shot 50 percent or better in 13 of the last 14 games dating back to Nov. 19. The only game he didn't shoot 50 percent was against Michigan when he didn't attempt a field goal in a season-low 18 minutes of work.

NCAA Players with 10.0 PPG/70% shooting

Player School FG Pct. PPG
Derrick Walker Nebraska .735 10.2
Zach Edey Purdue .710 14.9
Daniel Akin Cal Baptist .720 12.9
Ryan Kalkbrenner Creighton .710 12.3
John Harrar Penn State .701 11.1
Kris Bankston Norfolk State .756 11.3
Precious Ayah Miami (OH) .725 10.1

 
• Alonzo Verge Jr. enters Friday's game at Purdue with 971 points at the college level and needs only 29 to reach 1,000 for his career. Verge has averaged 14.3 ppg in his two-plus seasons at the college level. When he reaches 1,000 career points, Verge would be the fourth current Husker to reach that plateau, joining Kobe WebsterTrey McGowens and Trevor Lakes.

• Friday's game is a homecoming for Kobe Webster, who grew up in Indianapolis. Webster has come off the bench this season and is averaging 6.5 points and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 36 percent from 3-point range. Nebraska's other Indiana native is Trevor Lakes, but he is currently out because of an injury.
 
• Nebraska Head Coach Fred Hoiberg began his professional career in Indiana as he was a second-round draft pick of the Indiana Pacers in 1995 and played four seasons with the Pacers (1995-96 to 1998-99).
 
• The Huskers will be looking for their first road win in Mackey Arena, which is one of two Big Ten road venues where NU has never won since joining the confernece in 2011-12 (also Michigan's Crisler Center).
 
• Nebraska is starting to find its shot from 3-point range, as the Huskers are 42-of-105 (.400) in the last five games dating back to Dec. 22. In the previous five games, NU shot just 21 percent from beyond the arc.
 
• Nebraska's 15 3-pointers against Kennesaw State on Dec. 22, were not only a season high, but marked just the sixth time since 1990 that Nebraska hit at least 15 3-pointers in a game. It was NU's highest total since Nov. 6, 2018.
 
• Nebraska players have combined for eight double-doubles (Verge-4; Walker-3; B. McGowens-1) in 17 games this season after just having three in 2020-21. The last time NU had 10 double-doubles as a team in a season was 2007-08 (17). In all, NU has six players who have had at least one double-double in their respective careers (Trevor Lakes-2; Kobe Webster-1; Lat Mayen-1).
 
• Nebraska guard Bryce McGowens ranks third nationally among all true freshmen in scoring at 15.9 points per game. McGowens is one of only three true freshmen nationally averaging at least 15 points per game as of Jan. 11. McGowens, who leads all Big Ten freshmen in scoring and is second in rebounding, is on pace to break NU's freshman single-season scoring mark (15.5, Joe McCray, 2004-05).
 
NCAA True Freshman Scoring Leaders (As of Jan. 13)

No. Name, School PPG
1. Paolo Banchero, Duke 17.7
2. Jabari Smith, Auburn 16.1
3. Bryce McGowens, Nebraska 15.9

 
• Nebraska has produced a total of ten 20-point efforts this season (Bryce McGowens-4; Alonzo Verge Jr.-4; Kobe Webster-1; Keisei Tominaga-1). Last season, NU had just 12 20-point efforts in 27 contests. McGowens' four 20-point games this season already ranks fourth all-time among Husker freshmen and is the most by any NU freshman since Joe McCray had a school-record 10 in 2004-05.

• Alonzo Verge Jr.'s 16-point, 12-assist performance against Kennesaw State on Dec. 22 marked the eighth points-assist double-double by a Husker in Fred Hoiberg's two-plus seasons at Nebraska (Cam Mack-4; Dalano Banton-1; Alonzo Verge Jr.-3). Over the previous 30 years (1989-90 to 2018-19), it occurred just five times. Verge is only the second Husker to have multiple points-assists double-doubles in the same season since 1990.

• For most of the year, the Huskers have done a good job of limiting turnovers.  Following the Illinois game, Nebraska now ranks 52nd nationally in turnover rate after ranking 205th in that category last year. Fred Hoiberg's teams have traditionally been among the nation's best in that category. Prior to last season, his last three teams ranked in the top 30 nationally in that category.

• Alonzo Verge Jr. has become more of a playmaker during his time at NU. He leads the Big Ten with 5.8 assists per game after averaging 2.9 assists per game during his two-year career at Arizona State. Verge has three games
with 10+ assists as of Jan. 11, while the rest of the conference has combined for five. Verge's 5.8 assists per game ranks 20th nationally as of Jan. 11.

• Nebraska has been opportunistic on the defensive end, forcing a Big Ten high 16.1 turnovers per game as of Jan. 11. NU leads the Big Ten in steals (7.9 spg) and ranks fourth in turnover margin (+3.0 per game). NU has 10-or-more steals five time this season.

• Nebraska added a player over the break as Denim Dawson enrolled for the start of the spring semester. Dawson is a 6-foot-6 wing who attended Southern California Academy as a postgrad. He played at Orange Lutheran in 2020-21, averaging 16 points and five rebounds per game as the school reached the California Division 2AA CIF-SS quarterfinals last spring. Dawson, who started practicing on Dec. 29, is expected to redshirt this season.

• Nebraska's 2021-22 roster features a trio of college graduates in Derrick WalkerAlonzo Verge Jr. and Kobe Webster. Walker became the first member of his family to get a degree when he graduated in May of 2021, while Webster (2020, Western Illinois) and Verge (2021, Arizona State) came to Nebraska as graduate transfers.
 
"Good things happen when we play through Derrick"
Fred Hoiberg understands the importance of having Derrick Walker on the floor for the Big Red, and Walker's play has been a focal point for the Huskers.  Walker, who is in his third year at NU, has provided the Huskers a much-needed inside threat since becoming eligible last January.

The 6-foot-9 center is enjoying his best year in 2021-22, averaging 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game while shooting nearly 74 percent from the field. He is ninth in the Big Ten in blocks per game and 19th in rebounds per game as of Jan. 12.

• Walker has played his best against NU's ranked opponents, averaging 13.8 points on 74 percent shooting, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game in four contests.

• He joins Iowa's Keegan Murray as the only two Big Ten players currently averaging more than 1.0 steal and 1.0 block per game.

• In the Huskers' loss to No. 25 Illinois, he finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, while helping to limit Kofi Cockburn to 8-of-18 shooting

• He turned in a strong performance at No. 10 Michigan State on Jan. 5 with 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting to match his career high in points.

• Walker has been in double figures 11 times in NU's last 14 games, and he tied or set a career best in scoring in three straight games, including 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting against Tennessee State on Nov. 23.

• He matched a school record with 15 consecutive made field goals from Nov. 21 to Nov. 27.

• Walker has three double-doubles since Dec. 1 including 12 points and 13 rebounds in a career-high 50 minutes in the four OT loss at NC State. In the loss at No. 18 Auburn, he had 10 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. Walker's most recent double double came against No. 13 Ohio State on Jan. 2 when he had 15 points, 10 rebounds and four steals against the Buckeyes.

Super McGowens Brothers
The high-flying duo of Trey and Bryce McGowens will be sidelined for a bit, as Trey recovers from a broken foot suffered against Creighton on Nov. 16. The 2021-22 season marked the first time the brothers were on the same court together since they were kids and provided a number of early highlights.

• Bryce is 11th in the Big Ten in scoring at 15.9 ppg while grabbing 5.6 rebounds per game as of Jan. 11. He ranks among the B1G leaders in scoring, free throw percentage and minutes played.

• A three-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week (Nov. 15, Nov. 29, Dec. 20), he leads all conference rookies in scoring and is second in rebounding.

• He is the only Husker freshmen in either the Big 12 (1996-97 to 2010-11) or Big Ten (2011-12 to present) eras to be a three-time honoree as a freshman.

• McGowens has reached double figures in scoring 13 times, including four 20-point efforts. His most recent 20-point game was a 24-point, nine-rebound effort in the 4OT loss at NC State on Dec. 1.

• McGowens has been in double figures in each of the last seven games dating back to Dec. 11 following his 19-point effort against No. 25 Illinois.

• He collected his first career double-double on Nov. 21 against Southern with 18 points and 11 rebounds. McGowens also had four assists and two steals in 31 minutes.

• He is just the second Husker freshman to ever put up multiple 25-point games, as he had 25 in the opener against Western Illinois and 29 in the win over Sam Houston. He joins Dave Hoppen, who accomplished the feat during the 1982-83 season (27 vs. K-State; 25 vs. Iowa State).

• As a high schooler, he totaled 2,341 points, including 285 3-pointers and was selected for the 2021 Iverson Classic. He was also selected to the Jordan Brand Classic, but the event was not held.

• Last season, he was the Gatorade South Carolina Player of the Year, averaging 21.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest for Legacy Early College and Coach BJ Jackson. 

• Trey has been a proven performer throughout his career, as he has started 94 of 96 games at the college level for Pittsburgh and Nebraska and scored over 1,000 career points.

• Trey started the first three games and was averaging 6.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game before suffering his injury midway through the first half against Creighton on Nov. 16. McGowens also drew the opponent's top perimeter defender and shared point guard duties. He helped limit Sam Houston's Demarkus Lampley, a returning first-team all-conference performer, to 2-of-14 shooting on Nov. 12.

• Last season, Trey averaged 10.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, while starting all 27 games. He reached double figures 17 times in 2020-21, including a season-high 20 points against No. 17 Michigan State.

• The McGowens brothers are one of 15 brother combos on the same college roster this season.
  
Zo Takes the Point
Alonzo Verge took over the point guard duties from 2021 NBA Draft pick Dalano Banton, and Verge has provided an immediate impact, averaging 14.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The 6-foot-4 guard from Chicago ranks among conference leaders in both assists (first) and steals (sixth) as of Jan. 12.

• He has a 1.60-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio after posting a 1.29-to-1 ratio in his two seasons at Arizona State.

• His 5.82 assists per game would rank fourth in school history, while only four players in school history have averaged at least 5.00 assists in a season.

• Verge is sixth in the Big Ten with four double-doubles (vs. W. Illinois, vs. Tennessee State, at NC State and Kennesaw State).

• He nearly collected his fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and nine assists in the loss to No. 25 Illinois on Jan. 11

• He collected his fourth double-double of the year with 16 points and a career-high 12 assists in the win over Kennesaw State on Dec. 22

• He had his fourth 20-point effort of the season with 21 points, five assists, five rebounds and four steals in the loss to Kansas State on Dec. 19.

• Verge posted his second career 30-point game against Michigan on Dec. 7, as he had 31 points and eight boards. It was his first 30-point game since the 2019-20 season when he was at Arizona State.

• Verge nearly had a triple-double in the Huskers' epic game at NC State on Dec. 1 with 25 points, a career-high 11 assists and nine rebounds before fouling out in the fourth OT.

• He led NU with 18 points and 10 assists in the Huskers' win over Tennessee State on Nov. 23.

• He posted his first collegiate double-double in the opener with 26 points - the most points ever in a Husker debut - a career-high 13 rebounds and five assists.

• Verge was a combo guard during his two seasons at Arizona State, where he teamed with current Kansas guard Remy Martin in one of the highest scoring backcourts in the Pac-12.

• He averaged 14.0 points, 3.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game in 2020-21, ranking among the Pac-12 leaders in scoring (15th), assists (seventh), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55-to-1, sixth), steals (1.2, 13th) and free throw
percentage (.809, 13th).

• In his first season at ASU, he was the 2020 Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year and an honorable-mention all-conference pick after averaging 14.6 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

• A two-time NJCAA All-American at Moberly Area (Ill.) CC, he ranked in the top three nationally in both scoring and assists in 2018-19. He tallied 1,086 points (30.9 ppg in 35 games), but also dished out 8.2 assists per game en route to first-team accolades.
 
Keisei for 3
The addition of Keisei Tominaga has helped the Huskers' 3-point shooting. The 6-foot-2 guard is fourth on the team in scoring at 7.9 points per game while connecting on a team-high 31 3-pointers entering the Purdue game. He has also committed just six turnovers in 364 minutes this season.

Tominaga started slowly as he had just three points in his first three games, but is averaging 9.4 points per game on 40 percent shooting in NU's last 13 games dating back to Nov. 19. He has six double-figure games in that stretch, including a career-high 23 points against South Dakota on Nov. 27 and 18 points in the win over Kennesaw State on Dec. 22.

Last summer, Tominaga represented Japan in 3x3 basketball in the Tokyo Olympics, helping Japan reach the medal round. He finished third among all players in scoring (6.9 ppg), fourth in 1-point shooting (74 percent) and seventh in 2-point shooting (36 percent).  He was one of only two active NCAA players to play in the Olympics, joining Virginia's Francisco Caffaro, who played for Argentina in men's basketball. 
 
Four OT Thriller at NC State
Nebraska's four-overtime game at NC State on Dec. 1, was one for the record books. The four OT game matched Nebraska's school record set in 1979 and was the longest Big Ten game in at least a decade. It tied for the second-longest Division I game in the past 10 seasons, trailing only a five OT game between Louisville and Notre Dame on Feb. 9. 2013.

• It was the longest game in Big Ten/ACC Challenge history, but was one of three OT games in the 2021 challenge. The Big Ten won the challenge, 8-6, with three of the six losses coming in overtime.
• It marked only the eighth time in school history where both teams scored over 100 points.
• The 100 points NU scored marked the 44th 100-point game in school history, but only the fifth time that NU scored 100 points and lost.
• Nebraska had a pair of double-doubles from Alonzo Verge (25 points/11 assists) and Derrick Walker (12 points, 13 rebounds). Verge (assists) and Walker (rebounds) both set personal bests on their way to double-doubles.
 
Husker Injury Update
The Huskers have a trio of scholarship players out with injuries. The most recent was Trevor Lakes, as he will be out indefinitely because of a lingering shoulder injury. Lakes, who underwent surgery on his right shoulder last March, managed the injury throughout the year, but had a recent setback. He had played in eight games, most recently at Rutgers on Jan. 8

Wilhelm Breidenbach underwent season-ending leg surgery on Dec. 22 for an injury suffered in Nebraska's game against Michigan.  Breidenbach, a 6-foot-10, 227-pound forward from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., had played in each of Nebraska's first 10 games, averaging 3.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game.

Trey McGowens has been out since undergoing surgery on Nov. 17 to repair a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot. He has not played since suffering the injury on Nov. 16 against Creighton. McGowens had started all 30 games since transferring to Nebraska prior to the 2020-21 campaign. He ranked second on the team in both scoring (10.7 ppg) and assists (2.3 apg) in 2020-21.
 
NU Graduation Success Rate Hits All-Time High of 95 Percent
Nebraska student-athletes have posted a 95 percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR), continuing the Huskers' long tradition of being a national leader in the classroom. The NCAA released its GSR scores on Dec. 2, with Nebraska improving its GSR for the 11th straight year.

• The 95 percent GSR rate for all student-athletes ranks third among 14 Big Ten schools. On the national scale, Nebraska's GSR is tied for 10th out of 130 FBS institutions. The 95 percent GSR rate marks the 11th straight year Nebraska has increased its GSR.

• The Husker men's basketball program achieved a 100 percent GSR for the second straight season and was one of 13 Husker programs to post a 100 GSR in the latest rankings. NU was one of five Big Ten teams with a perfect GSR this year.
 
Husker Recruiting Class Seeing Stars
The Huskers brought one of the nation's top recruiting classes to campus this fall. The class is ranked as high as 13th by ESPN as well as 18th by 247Sports and 21st by Rivals and is the third-highest ranked class in the Big Ten.
 Nebraska's five signees are headlined by five-star Bryce McGowens and four-star recruit Wilhelm Breidenbach, both of whom were top-100 recruits. McGowens was a consensus top-25 recruit who played in the Iverson Classic and was selected to the Jordan Brand team. NU rounded out the class with junior college All-American Keisei Tominaga and freshmen Oleg Kojenets and Quaran McPherson.
 
Up-Tempo Basketball

One trait of any Fred Hoiberg-coached team is to play at a fast pace. The Huskers have led the Big Ten in pace in each of the last two seasons, ranking 16th nationally by KenPom in 2019-20 and 35th in 2020-21. NU has been the only Big Ten team to rank in the top-50 nationally in each of the past two seasons.

In seven full seasons as a college head coach (five at Iowa State and two at NU), Hoiberg's teams have ranked in the top-50 in tempo five times, including three times in the top-20.  Prior to Hoiberg's arrival, the last time a Husker team was in the top-100 nationally in tempo according to KenPom was in 1999-2000 under Danny Nee.
 

Year Hoiberg-Coached Team Big Ten Leader
2010-11 Iowa State (34th) Iowa (100th)
2011-12 Iowa State (128th) Iowa (70th)
2012-13 Iowa State (30th) Iowa (95th)
2013-14 Iowa State (12th) Iowa (29th)
2014-15 Iowa State (10th) Minnesota (47th)
2019-20 Nebraska (16th) Nebraska
2020-21 Nebraska (35th) Nebraska
2021-22 Nebraska (20th) Nebraska

 
All in the Family
Several members of the 2021-22 Huskers have family members who have played basketball at the college or professional levels. The list is led by former NBA players Eric Piatkowski, who spent 14 years in the NBA after scoring nearly 2,000 career points at Nebraska, and Fred Hoiberg, who played in the NBA for a decade after a standout career at Iowa State. Keisei Tominaga's father didn't play college basketball, but was a center on the Japanese national team at the 1998 FIBA World Championship and played professionally in Japan for a decade.
 

Player Relative College (Sport)
Jackson Cronin Steve (Father) Tufts (MBB)
Keon Edwards Kyre (Brother) Texas A&M-Kingsville
Sam Hoiberg Fred (Father) Iowa State/NBA (MBB)
  Jack (Brother) Michigan State/UT-Arlington (MBB)
Oleg Kojenets Aleh (Father) UNC Wilmington
  Jurga Paliaukaite (Mother) UNC Wilmington
Trey & Bryce McGowens Bobby McGowens (Father) Clemson (FB)/South Carolina State (MBB/FB)
  Pam Owens (Mother) Western Carolina (WBB)
Jace Piatkowski Eric Piatkowski (Father) Nebraska (MBB)
Keisei Tominaga Hiroyuki (Father) Played Internationally for Japan
Alonzo Verge Jr. Alonzo (Father) Eastern New Mexico (MBB)
C.J. Wilcher Sergio (Father) Morgan State (MBB)

 
NBA Coaches Go Back to School
Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg is one of nine active NCAA coaches to have coached in the NBA, as he spent three-plus seasons with the Chicago Bulls. Hoiberg's 270 regular-season NBA games rank third among the 10 former NBA coaches in the collegiate ranks.
 

Coach, School NBA Head Coach, Years
John Calipari, Kentucky New Jersey, 1996-99
Leonard Hamilton, Miami Washington, 2000-01
Fred Hoiberg, Nebraska Chicago, 2015-18
Lindsey Hunter, Mississippi Valley State Phoenix, 2013
Eric Musselman, Arkansas Golden State, 2002-04; Sacramento, 2006-07
Rick Pitino, Iona New York, 1987-89; Boston, 1997-2001
Reggie Theus, Bethune-Cookman Sacramento, 2007-09
Darrell Walker, Arkansas Little Rock Toronto, 1996-98; Washington, 1999-2000
Mike Woodson, Indiana Atlanta 2004-2010; New York, 2011-14

 
It is Academic For Webster
Kobe Webster became the latest Husker men's basketball player to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, as he was a third-team selection in May of 2021. Webster, who graduated from Western Illinois in 2020, has a 3.75 GPA while working on his master's degree in educational administration.

Webster was the first Husker men's basketball player to be honored since Shavon Shields in 2015 and 2016.  NU Head Coach Fred Hoiberg was a two-time Academic All-American at Iowa State (1994 and 1995) and was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Hall of Fame in 2016. Entering the 2021-22 school year, Nebraska leads all NCAA Division I schools with 347 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.


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