Omaha Central standout Akoy Agau recently told an ESPN reporter that Georgetown is his favorite choice for college.
Agau made the announcement during an interview at the Under Armour NY2LA Summer Jam tournament in Milwaukee.
“Of course, that prompted many phone calls and text messages,” Nebraska Express coach Scott Hammer said. “I think he's just very comfortable with the coaches, and he's comfortable with the offense they run. And the reputation of the school kind of really excited him.”
Hammer said Agau has been quiet about his choice since then.
The Express under-17 team is playing in the Tom Tietze Metro Sports Invitational in Kansas City, Kan., this weekend, and Hammer said Agau could narrow his list to a top 10 after that.
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati, Villanova and Nevada have joined the hunt for the 6-foot-9 power forward, who has offers from more than 40 schools.
“He's been really good,” Hammer said. “He's very active. He's hitting some jump shots, posting up, rebounding, just his all-around game has been really good.”
Teammate Nick Billingsley, who has transferred from Omaha North to Central, picked up an offer from the University of Nebraska at Omaha this week.
The 6-5 wing player also has attracted interest from Fairfield, Drake, Eastern Kentucky and Miami (Ohio).
Starlings win title at national tournament
The Omaha Starlings 18-and-under team won the gold bracket at the national Starlings volleyball championships in San Diego, going 9-1 to claim the title.
Samara West, a 6-4 middle hitter from Omaha North, led the team in kills. She's committed to Iowa State.
West also had offers from Creighton, UNO, Colorado State and Central Florida. Ohio, Ohio State, Auburn and Arkansas were among other schools that were interested.
“She's definitely an all-state caliber kid,” coach Shannon Walker said. “She does what she wants with that ball when she gets it.”
Omaha Northwest graduate Shelby Easley is going to College of St. Mary, and teammate Monique Sutton is headed to Highland Community College in Kansas.
The Omahans played in about 15 tournaments since starting the club season in January. They lost three players during the season, but picked up North's Anna Hoiberg and Northwest's Nyamal Pal.
Hoiberg started as a setter but switched to libero, and after a month of training, played that position at nationals.
“The year had a lot of highs and lows,” Walker said. “They came together by the end of the year. We definitely ended on a high note. It's kind of fulfilling for a team that had been through so much.”
Tupper leans toward playing volleyball
After playing club volleyball and basketball this summer, a tired Toni Tupper has decided that she likes volleyball best.
“I just decided in June or so that I do want to do volleyball in college,” she said.
The 6-3 Tupper, who will be a junior this fall at Lincoln Northeast, is a right-side hitter for coach Ryan Gray and the Nebraska Juniors volleyball team and a post player for coach Jim Hamsa and the Nebraska Force under-17 basketball team. She won the all-class gold in the shot put in May, too.
She's been playing competitive volleyball since she was 12. This is her first summer on a traveling basketball team.
She and her dad, Phill, who is 6-6 and played football at Wayne State, sat down at the start of the summer with a calendar and mapped out her schedule with the two sports.
“If they were at the same time, one day I'd go to volleyball, then the next time to basketball,” Tupper said. “I probably only missed like two or three full practices. Otherwise, I was mainly late.”
Tupper also has attended some camps, both by herself and with her high school volleyball team.
She recently attended an event at Missouri, which is one of her top three choices for college. The others are Iowa State and Kansas.
She at least had a chance to have a little fun at the AAU volleyball tournament in Orlando, where the Nebraska Juniors tied for 21st.
“We got to go to the beach,” she said. “I love my volleyball team. It's just a lot of fun.”
Griffin keeps teams' focus on fundamentals
Training, not winning, is the focus of a volleyball club in Lincoln founded by former Nebraska volleyball player Maggie Griffin.
The setter graduated from NU in 2008 and is now a volunteer assistant with the Huskers.
“I was a great bench warmer,” she said.
The vcNebraska program, which has grown to 12 teams since its start in October 2010, has a heavy Husker flavor. Former Huskers Tara Mueller and Lindsey Licht are coaches, as well as NU assistants Dan Meske and Nate Ngo.
Griffin says winning is great, but she and her other coaches are more concerned about fundamentals.
“We've found as a result of having great training, the winning will come from that,” she said. “Competing and winning is great, as long as the girls are learning and having a good time doing it. That's what is important to us.”
She's seeing some results.
Griffin's program sent its first team to the USA nationals in Columbus, Ohio, this summer. The vcNebraska 14 Darcy, coached by former Concordia player Darcy Lindner, finished 35th, but Griffin said it was a big deal for the club that they qualified.
The vcNebraska 14 Dan, a squad coached by Meske, placed second in the open division at the AAU nationals in Orlando. Brianna Boender, Allie Davis and Sophia Terwilliger made the all-tournament team.
“It was remarkable we finished that high,” Griffin said. “Some of the most competitive clubs in the country that have been around for 30 years play in that tournament.”
Area results from the AAU tournament:
14 Club: 3, Nebraska Elite Volleyball 14 Evolution. 16 Club: 41, Nebraska Elite 16 The Avengers. 15 Open: 9, Nebraska Juniors 151. 16 Open: 21, Nebraska Juniors 161. 17 Open: 38, Nebraska Juniors 171. 18 Open: 3, Nebraska Juniors 181. 15 Club: 9, Nebraska ONE 15 Velocity. 17 Open: 36, Omaha Wave 171. 14 Open: 2, vcNebraska 14 Dan.
Area results from the USA girls junior national championships:
17 open: 23, Nebraska Elite 17 Au. 15 open: 22, Nebraska Elite 15 Hakai. 14 open: 23, Nebraska Elite 14 Havoc. 12 national: 25, Nebraska Impact 12 Select. 23 national: 13, Premier 13 Gold. 14 national: 22, Premier 14 Gold. 15 national: 5, Premier 15 Gold. 16 national: 13, Nebraska Elite 16 Arsenal. 16 national: 10, River City Jrs 161. 17 national: 23, KVC Crush 17. 18 national: 27, Premier 18 Gold. 34, Nebraska Power 181 Nexus. 12 American: 7, Premier 12 Gold. 22, Nebraska Impact 12 Voodoo. 13 American: 5, Nebraska Elite 13 Thunder. 42, Nebraska Impact 131 Fierce. 14 American: 35, vcNebraska 14 Darcy. 15 American: 13, River City Jrs 151. 16 American: 25, Premier 16 Gold. 17 American: 5, Premier 17 Gold. 18 American: 23, Nebraska Impact 18 Select.
The High Flyers 171-M finished fifth at the boys junior national volleyball championships in Dallas.
Omaha Central's Lia Mancuso is hitting a team-leading .481 with 63 hits for the Wichita Mustangs softball team.
The leadoff hitter and outfielder recently helped lead the 16-and-under squad to the USSSA state championship in Kansas. The Mustangs went 5-0 and Mancuso went 8 for 14 with two doubles and a triple.
Three of seven Premier volleyball teams at the USA junior national championships in Columbus, Ohio, finished in the top 10.
Brittany Witt (Premier 15 Gold) and Makayla Maxwell (Premier 17 Gold) were selected to their age group's all-tournament teams after leading their squads to fifth-place finishes. Premier's 12-and-under team placed seventh.
The Cornhusker Shooting Stars' Gunnar Peterson has attracted the interest of several GPAC schools. Jarren Zimmerman, Jackson Schumacher, Jake States, Brandon Janssen and Malcolm Lancaster also are getting some local interest.
The 17-and-under squad was third in the Mississippi River Classic in Dubuque, Iowa, won the Lincoln MAYB tournament, reached the semifinals of the D1 Elite Gold tournament in Chicago and went 1-3 in the Pump N' Run Classic in Bloomington, Minn.
Turnovers have been killing the Bison Red boys team, which is 8-10. Seven of the losses have been by fewer than seven points.
The team made it to the championship game of the Classic Division of the Best Buy Classic in Minneapolis before some miscues cost it the lead in an overtime loss.
The Red's tallest player, 6-7 Nate Kuhl of Johnson County, averaged 11.5 points and 8.0 rebounds at that tournament and recruiting interest in him has picked up. Ralston's Jake Goltl, who was able to play in the final three games, only averaged 16 points.
The Reds, competing in Las Vegas this weekend, are seeing improved guard play from Damien Austen of Kearney and Easton Edmond of Lincoln Southwest.
— Marjie Ducey