Published Friday, February 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm / Updated at 10:10 pm
Gesell's stage for stardom
Iowa at Nebraska
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Devaney Center
Radio: 1110 AM KFAB

Nebraska (12-14, 3-10)
F Brandon Ubel, 6-10, Sr., 11.4
F Shavon Shields, 6-6, Fr., 7.9
F David Rivers, 6-7, So., 6.1
G Dylan Talley, 6-5, Sr., 13.8
G Ray Gallegos, 6-2, Jr., 12.6

Iowa (17-9, 6-7)
C Adam Woodbury, 7-1, Fr., 5.0
F Aaron White, 6-8, So., 13.4
F Melsahn Basabe, 6-7, Jr., 7.3
G Roy Devyn Marble, 6-6, Jr., 13.6
G Mike Gesell, 6-1, Fr., 9.1

LINCOLN — The basketball player on Saturday with the fondest memories of the soon-to-be-retooled Devaney Center likely will be wearing black and gold, not red and white.

Iowa guard Mike Gesell, a freshman out of South Sioux City, Neb., spent a lot of time in Lincoln in early March the past three years and had a lot of success. His South Sioux City Cardinals won Class B state titles in 2010 and 2011, and were the runners-up in 2012.

Now, Gesell is about to get his final look at the Devaney as a basketball venue when Nebraska (12-14, 3-10 Big Ten) hosts the Hawkeyes (17-9, 6-7).

“I definitely have some great memories from there,” Gesell said from Iowa City. “The new arena looks like it's going to be extremely nice. But Devaney is an awesome atmosphere. I played a lot of fun games there.”

That fun has followed Gesell into college.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder has started all 26 games, averaging 9.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He is shooting 39.7 percent from the field and 74.5 percent from the foul line.

“I've had some ups and downs,” he said. “I went through a couple of shooting slumps — natural things that occur during a season. But overall I know I'm working hard.”

He also feels he made the right choice in signing with Iowa over Nebraska.

“There are no regrets at all,” Gesell said. “I love everything about Iowa. I love my teammates, love the coaches and love the school in general.”

His work has impressed Husker coach Tim Miles.

“He's a heck of a player. Very impressive,” Miles said. “Fran (McCaffery) and his staff did an excellent job recruiting him. He's a great fit for their program.”

Gesell's strong decision-making for the Hawkeyes comes through in film sessions.

“He finds guys in the window off screen and roll, he delivers the ball and he can make shots,” Miles said. “He's an excellent player, and he's going to be a really good player in the Big Ten.”

McCaffery hasn't made the transition to college ball easy for Gesell, who started the season at point guard, then moved to shooting guard and now is back at the point.

“It hasn't been too bad,” Gesell said. “I just like to be out on the floor, regardless of position.”

In AAU play the past few summers, Gesell said he got used to both spots while playing with guard Marcus Paige, now at North Carolina.

“We would switch back and forth between playing the 1 and the 2,” Gesell said. “So it wasn't anything new for me.”

Iowa comes to Nebraska with a three-game Big Ten winning streak, its longest in six years. That surge has inserted the Hawkeyes into the NCAA tournament discussion.

“That's been the goal since the offseason,” Gesell said. “We've got to stay focused and take care of our business. But I think we're only going to improve.

“We're a very deep team. We're playing nine or 10 guys. If someone needs a rest, we can bring guys in and not lose a beat. That helps us push the tempo and will help us down the stretch in the season.”

Contact the writer:


Contact the writer: Lee Barfknecht    |   402-444-1024    |  

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald.



< >
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.'s Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Tokyo Sushi
$5 for $10 or $10 for $20 toward All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Purchase
Buy Now
< >