April 25, 2015

Petteway declares for NBA draft

Terran Petteway and the Huskers come up short against Baylor.

Terran Petteway 

University of Nebraska junior guard Terran Petteway announced Thursday morning that he is forgoing his senior season to declare for the 2015 NBA Draft.  Petteway, a fourth-year junior from Galveston, Texas, is on track to earn his degree in May and has spent the last three seasons at Nebraska after transferring from Texas Tech.

“I want to start off by thanking the city of Lincoln and state of Nebraska for all of the love and support that you guys have shown me over the last three years,” Petteway said. “This is a bittersweet moment for me because Lincoln has become a second home to me, but in the same instance has helped me grow as a man and ballplayer, and I love y’all.”

“I’m happy for Terran and his family,” Nebraska Coach Tim Miles said. “While I had hoped he stayed with us for his senior year, I completely support his decision, and we will help him as much as we can through this process. I believe any team in the NBA or otherwise would love to have Terran on their team.”

A two-time All-Big Ten performer at Nebraska, Petteway earned first-team honors in 2013-14 and third-team accolades this past season. He started every game for the Huskers over the last two seasons and ranks 20th on Nebraska’s career scoring list with 1,143 points.

He holds two of the top-10 scoring seasons in school history (579, seventh, 2013-14; 564, eighth, 2014-15), while his 18.1 points per game career scoring average at Nebraska ranks second in school history. Petteway joined Dave Hoppen as the only two players in program history to score 1,000 points in their first two seasons at Nebraska, and Petteway reached double figures in 59 of 63 games as a Husker.

This past season, Petteway topped the Huskers and ranked fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 18.2 points per game, while also placing among the Big Ten leaders in 3-pointers (2.2, eighth), assists (2.8, 14th) and steals (1.1, 15th) per game. He led NU in scoring, assists and blocked shots (27), while ranking second on the team in rebounding (4.9 per game) and steals (35). A preseason Wooden Award Nominee, he was one of 15 players on the Julius Erving Award Watch List, recognizing the top small forward in the country. He reached double figures in 29 games in 2014-15, including 13 performances with at least 20 points. He closed the season with a strong performance against Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament, scoring a game-high 29 points, as he hit 4-of-7 from 3-point range and went 11-of-13 from the foul line.

Petteway put together one of the best sophomore seasons in school history in 2013-14, leading Nebraska to 19 wins and the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998. He averaged a Big Ten-leading 18.1 points per game along with 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, as he was second on the team in assists and rebounding. A first-team All-Big Ten performer, Petteway was also a first-team all-district honoree by both the NABC (coaches) and U.S. Basketball Writers Association.  He was a consistent scorer for the Big Red, reaching double figures 30 times in 32 games, including a pair of 30-point outings. His best performance came in a win over Minnesota, when he had a career-high 35 points.

He began his college career at Texas Tech during the 2011-12 season, where he played in 27 games and made 11 starts for the Red Raiders, averaging 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

Story courtesy NU Athletics

Omaha Benson star signs with Creighton basketball



Former Omaha Benson High School star Khyri Thomas has signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at Creighton. Thomas, the captain of the Omaha World-Herald’s All-Nebraska Boys Basketball team in 2014, spent last year at Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va.

He will join fall signees Martin Krampelj, Justin Patton and Marlon Stewart on the Creighton roster next season and have four years of eligibility remaining.

“We are thrilled to add Khyri to our basketball program,” said Creighton head coach Greg McDermott. “He is a tremendous athlete that has the ability to score from the perimeter and attack the rim on offense, while having a chance to become an elite defensive player because of his length and ability to defend multiple positions. His humble and unselfish approach to the game is exactly what we look for in a student-athlete.”

Thomas is a 6-foot-3 guard who hails from Omaha. He led Class A as a senior in high school when he averaged 19.2 points per game while contributing 6.9 rebounds per contest. Thomas was named the state’s Mr. Basketball by NebraskaHSHoops.com, and he led all players at the 2014 state tournament by scoring 78 points in three games while leading his team to a third-place finish. Thomas also surpassed 1,000 career points at Benson, where he was coached by former Creighton big man Donnie Johnson.

Thomas has spent the past year playing for Matt Donohue at Fork Union, where he averaged 18 points and seven rebounds per game.

Fork Union boasts a proud history and includes former NBA guard Shammond Williams, Under Armour Founder/CEO Kevin Plank, and Heisman Trophy winners Vinny Testaverde and Eddie George as alums.

Creighton went 14-19 last season under the direction of Greg McDermott, who owns 121 victories and three trips to the NCAA Tournament in five seasons with the Bluejays.


Pitchford passes on senior year at Nebraska

Walter Pitchford hits a three against Tennessee-Martin and reacts (photo/NU Athletics)

Walter Pitchford hits a three against Tennessee-Martin and reacts (photo/NU Athletics)

University of Nebraska forward Walter Pitchford announced he is giving up his final season of eligibility with the Husker basketball program. Pitchford will remain at the University of Nebraska and finish his undergraduate degree in ethnic studies.

“I thank Coach Miles for giving me the opportunity when I transferred from Florida,” Pitchford said. “I have learned a lot about myself in the three years I’ve been at Nebraska and it is not an easy decision to give up playing basketball. I believe it is in the best interest of both the team and myself that I devote my time to completing my degree at Nebraska and eventually go into a career in business.”

“I completely support Walter in his decision,” Nebraska basketball coach Tim Miles said. “It shows a great deal of courage for a young man to see his career path and pursue it. I know leaving behind basketball is not easy for Walter or his family, but I also believe this is the best thing for Walt because it targets what he wants to do.”

This past season he played in 30 games, including 26 starts, and averaged 7.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game to rank third on the team in both scoring and rebounding. Pitchford reached double figures nine times in 2014-15, including a career-high 19 points against Tennessee-Martin and at No. 16 Maryland.

Pitchford began his career at the University of Florida in 2011-12, helping the Gators to an appearance in the Elite Eight.

In the classroom, Pitchford is a two-time Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll member.

Tim Miles to coach all stars at NCAA Final Four

Tim Miles will coach at the NCAA Final Four

Tim Miles will coach at the NCAA Final Four

Tim Miles of Nebraska will serve as head coach of the East team at the College All-Star Game, which will be played during the NCAA Final Four weekend in Indianapolis.

The game, which features top senior NCAA basketball student-athletes, takes place on Friday, April 3, at 3:30 p.m. (CT) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The TV broadcast of the game will air on CBS on Saturday, April 4, at noon (CT).

The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) will announce additional game information, including team rosters, during game week.

UNK coaching legend calls it quits after 39 years

Tom Kropp (photo/UNK Athletics)

Tom Kropp (photo/UNK Athletics)

Nebraska-Kearney men’s basketball coach Tom Kropp will retire from coaching. Kropp spent 39 seasons with Loper basketball, the last 25 as head coach with a record of 482-245.

The Aurora native was an All-American basketball and football player at UNK and, after a professional basketball career, served as a graduate assistant and assistant coach under Jerry Hueser for 10 seasons.

“At 62 years old, I am one of the older basketball coaches in the profession, and every year I like to re-evaluate my options. My retirement from coaching is a timely decision, because the basketball program is showing strong potential for continued success under the leadership of Kevin Lofton, whom I fully support. In addition, I always wanted to return to teaching full-time toward the end of my career,” Kropp told Lopers.com.

He won three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular-season titles and two tournament titles, and reached the NCAA Division II Tournament 11 times. Kropp will teach full-time at the university. Co-head coach Kevin Lofton will become the sole head coach.