May 26, 2015

Burno hired as assistant basketball coach at Nebraska

Rashon Burno (photo/Florida Athletics)

Rashon Burno (photo/Florida Athletics)

University of Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles announced Friday the hiring of Rashon Burno as an assistant coach for the Husker program. Burno comes to Nebraska after spending the past three seasons at the University of Florida under Billy Donovan, who was named the head coach of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder last month.

Nebraska Coach Tim Miles said Burno’s coaching ability and recruiting acumen made him an ideal candidate for the opening on the Husker coaching staff.

“Rashon will be a tremendous addition to our already strong coaching staff,” Miles said. “He is a high-level recruiter and a smart coach. As a former point guard, he will really help out working with our guard play. He is a connector with all people and a high-energy guy. He worked with an elite-level program with Coach Donovan at Florida and brings great experience at the NCAA Tournament, including a Final Four appearance two years ago. Rashon also brings a life story that our players can relate to and that they can learn from.”

During his stint at Florida, Burno was part of two Southeastern Conference championship teams while the Gators reached the NCAA Elite Eight in both 2013 and 2014, while advancing to the  Final Four in 2014. In three years with Burno at Florida, the Gators posted an impressive 81-28 record (.743).

“Rashon is an outstanding coach, teacher and recruiter,” Donovan said. “Nebraska is getting an even better person. I will always be thankful for my time with Rashon, and I know he will be a great asset to Nebraska basketball.”

A former point guard at DePaul, Burno worked with the Florida backcourt players, coaching three Gators to All-SEC honors (Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Scottie Wilbekin) in his tenure. Wilbekin became the first Gator guard to earn SEC Player of the Year in 2014.

In Florida’s historic 2013-14 season, the Gators posted a 30-game winning streak that included the SEC’s first-ever 18-0 regular season, capped with the fourth SEC Tournament title in school history. In 2013-14, UF compiled an unblemished 10-0 record in games Burno served as the scout coach, including an early season win against Kansas, a sweep of Alabama, conference wins over LSU and Ole Miss and the NCAA Tournament victory against Albany. UF’s win over Kansas kicked off Florida’s program-record 30-game winning streak.

The Gators also posted an 11-1 record in 2012-13 when Burno handled the opponent scout, including a 5-0 record in SEC regular-season play and an NCAA Tournament victory over Northwestern State. Florida went 29-8, including a 14-4 record in the SEC, during the 2012-13 season, losing in the Elite Eight to Michigan.

As an assistant coach at Manhattan College, Burno helped the Jaspers to a 21-13 record in 2011-12 – the team’s first season under head coach Steve Masiello. The Jaspers added a postseason win in the Tournament to post just the 11th 20-win season in the 106-year history of the program while capping a massive 15-win turnaround for a team that went 6-25 in 2010-11.

Burno, a three-year team captain at DePaul who played for the Blue Demons from 1998 to 2002, reunited with his former head coach, Pat Kennedy, as an assistant coach at Towson University in 2010-11. Burno began his coaching career as head coach at Marmion Academy in the Chicago suburbs from 2007 to 2010, while also serving as an economics and physical education teacher.

During his playing career at DePaul, Burno started 58 games and helped the Blue Demons to two postseason appearances, advancing to the 2001 NCAA Tournament and the 2000 National Invitational Tournament. He finished his career ranked third in DePaul history with 201 steals and was named to the 2001 Conference USA All-Tournament Team.

As a high school player, Burno helped anchor back-to-back national championship runs in 1996 and 1997 at St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, N.J., under Hall of Fame head coach Bob Hurley.

Burno and his wife, Ellen, have three children, Micah, Rashon and Braxton.

MVC Player of the Year joins Nebraska women’s basketball

Kyndal Clark (photo/Drake Athletics)

Kyndal Clark (photo/Drake Athletics)

Kyndal Clark, the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year will join the Nebraska women’s basketball team as a fifth-year senior transfer for 2015-16.  Clark, who will officially graduate from Drake on Saturday, averaged 19.3 points per game while knocking down a Missouri Valley Conference-record 116 three-pointers as a junior for the Bulldogs in 2013-14. Clark hit 41.1 percent of her threes on the season, including a scorching 45.3 percent (78-172) in MVC play.

The Webb City, Mo., native started all 98 games of her Drake career, including the season opener against South Dakota in 2014-15, when she scored 17 points in 37 minutes before suffering a season-ending injury.

Clark will have one season of eligibility at Nebraska and will be eligible to play for the Huskers immediately. She produced 1,418 points, 422 rebounds, 270 assists and 171 steals in 98 career games at Drake, while earning All-MVC honors in each of her first three seasons.

“We are thrilled to add a player of Kyndal Clark’s caliber to our program, even if it is for just one season,” Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. “We recruited Kyndal out of Webb City High School, and we are excited to finally get a chance to coach her. She is coming off a pretty significant injury, but when she is healthy she is a talented player. She also can add a lot of leadership to our program.”


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, 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.