Published Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm / Updated at 12:10 am
Meet the Huskers: New faces for a new place

It might take you some time to get used to NU’s new basketball home, Pinnacle Bank Arena. It might also take you a minute to become familiar with the team the Huskers put on the floor. Juco transfers, Division I transfers and freshmen should see significant minutes this season for Nebraska.

Deverell Biggs, 6-0, junior, guard: Omaha Central product has intriguing get-to-the-basket skills, but must cut down on turnovers and learn to function inside the system to gain the staff’s trust.

Nick Fuller, 6-6, freshman, wing: Left-hander with a smooth shooting stroke on his high-arching shot. Has work to do on his quickness and defensive readiness, but a good fit in NU’s drive-and-dish offense.

Ray Gallegos, 6-2, senior, guard: He fired 8.2 3-pointers a game last season and averaged 37.5 minutes a game. Relief now is available on both fronts, giving the team’s lone senior a better chance at consistency with a lesser workload.

Terran Petteway, 6-6, sophomore, wing: Texas Tech transfer, voted a captain before ever playing a game, is a fierce competitor who often was the best player in practice while sitting out last season. Strong defender with a funky shot.

Walter Pitchford, 6-10, sophomore, forward: Florida transfer has a 40-inch vertical jump and doesn’t mind showing it off while dunking and blocking shots. He’s the kind of athlete NU has lacked the past decade, but must stay focused on the plan.

David Rivers, 6-7, sophomore, forward: Rail-thin as a recruit, he has added 30 pounds in strength and flashed potential last year with 18 points and six rebounds against Michigan State and 13 points and six rebounds against Ohio State.

Shavon Shields, 6-7, sophomore, forward: Had a strong freshman season and was among Big Ten leaders for rookies in five categories. Coaches call him “the go-to guy’’ and see him as an All-Big Ten candidate down the road.

Leslee Smith, 6-8, junior, forward: Junior college transfer who played a year at SMU has impressed with his strength, mobility and general skill level. Also, at age 23, has become somewhat of a camp counselor for younger players.

Tai Webster, 6-3, freshman, guard: Arrived with tons of hype from New Zealand courtesy of Fran Fraschilla labeling him a Top 50 player had Webster played in the U.S. Good athlete who is more crafty than physically dominant.

Nathan Hawkins, 6-5, freshman, guard: Coach Tim Miles likes size on the perimeter and savvy students of the game, and that’s what he got here. Hawkins’ high school team had three Division I signees.

Kye Kurkowski, 6-11, junior, forward: Walk-on from Grant, Neb., has continued to gain strength and contributes good, consistent effort in practice.

Trevor Menke, 5-11, junior, guard: Walk-on from Beatrice, Neb., is a popular teammate who helps in practice by keeping teammates on point and focused.

Benny Parker, 5-9, sophomore, guard: Found a role last year as a change-of-pace guy with his quickness and penetration. He must improve his outside shooting to prevent opponents from clogging the middle.

Mike Peltz, 6-2, senior, guard: Walk-on from Alliance, Neb., has battled patella knee tendon problems, but plans to play after surgery last winter. His toughness, scrappiness and hard edge make him a good teammate and an annoying opponent.

Jordan Tyrance, 6-3, junior, guard: Walk-on out of Lincoln Southwest who will pick up some spare minutes because of his experience and athleticism.

Sergej Vucetic, 7-1, sophomore, center: He played just 18 minutes as a freshman and continues to work on his strength and mobility for this level.

Tim Wagner, 6-3, freshman, guard: Walk-on from Galesville, Wis., whose season ended Oct. 2 when he suffered a dislocated and fractured ankle that required surgery..

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.



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