Published Monday, October 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm / Updated at 9:38 am
BASKETBALL
'Sky is the limit' for latest Husker commit Pinder

LINCOLN — Often in recruiting, it's not what you know but who you know.

Go back to the first season that Nebraska basketball assistant coach Chris Harriman played professionally in his native Australia. One of his teammates — former North Carolina State player Kendal Pinder — was nearing the end of his career.

Harriman took note of Pinder's son, Keanu, and his athleticism at an early age, and kept in touch.

That longtime connection paid off late Sunday night when Keanu Pinder, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward, committed to Nebraska for 2015.

Pinder will play this season and the next at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan.

Interest in Pinder among other schools zoomed when he arrived in Wichita in late summer and college coaches visited workouts, Sunrise coach Kyle Lindsted said Monday.

“I'm not going to say who all came in and wanted him,” Lindsted said. “That's kind of throwing guys under the bus. They all knew things were moving along with Nebraska, so a lot of them said if things don't work out there, let us know.”

Other sources said Indiana coach Tom Crean, Louisville coach Rick Pitino and Minnesota coach Richard Pitino were among those seeking more information on Pinder.

“He could be a big, big player for Nebraska,” Lindsted said. “The sky is the limit for him with his athleticism and background.”

Pinder's father, a native of the Bahamas, was a 1979 fifth-round NBA draft choice of the Atlanta Hawks out of North Carolina State. He later played for the Harlem Globetrotters, and on a trip to Australia signed with a professional team in Perth, where Keanu grew up.

Besides Nebraska, Keanu Pinder had offers from Auburn, New Mexico and St. Mary's, with other bigger names trying to get into the mix.

“He is really athletic, a good shooter for his size and is an excellent rebounder with his length,” Lindsted said. “He's got to get stronger around the rim — he's fine above the rim — but we've done a good job here of getting guys ready to move on.”

Recent Sunrise Academy players now in college include Iowa center Gabe Olaseni, Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield and Miami power forward Raphael Akpejiori.
Pinder, after clearing up academic issues in the next two years at Sunrise, will arrive at Nebraska at age 20 and with four years of eligibility.

He is the first commitment for the Class of 2015. Nebraska has one commitment for 2014 from 6-10 Jacob Hammond of Duncan, Okla.

The Huskers had hoped to sign three players in the November early period. They are still interested in Deng Deng, a 6-8 forward from Lee (Texas) Community College. Deng is an Australian citizen after having lived in Sudan and Egypt. He has offers from Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Washington State and Utah.

Contact the writer: Lee Barfknecht

lee.barfknecht@owh.com    |   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.

PHOTO GALLERY AND VIDEO »

 

< >
SPOTLIGHT »
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 Omaha.com? 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.
Omaha.com's Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from Omaha.com 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
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >