Nebraska coaches met Denim Dawson a month ago. But that’s all the time they needed to convince Dawson the Huskers were the right fit.
Dawson, a three-star prospect in the 2022 class, committed to Nebraska on Wednesday. He chose the Huskers over Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Iona and Pepperdine, citing the aggressiveness with which NU pursued him as a big reason.
“I knew they were serious about (recruiting me),” Dawson said. “That spoke out to me.”
He joins junior college center Blaise Keita and guard Ramel Lloyd in the Huskers' 2022 class.
The 6-foot-5, 180-pound prospect said the process took off after coach Fred Hoiberg and assistant Matt Abdelmassih came to one of his practices at Southern California Academy. Hoiberg and Abdelmassih told Dawson he had potential. And they wasted no time following up.
Within two days, Abdelmassih called Dawson to offer a scholarship. Soon after, Dawson received a plane ticket in the mail. He visited Lincoln for the first time last week.
As Dawson traversed campus to attend three Nebraska sporting events — volleyball, football and basketball — he couldn’t help but notice the passion of Husker fans. From the moment he woke up Saturday morning until he went to sleep that night, he saw Nebraska gear all over his hotel.
Dawson is excited to play for those fans under Hoiberg, whose NBA background also factored into his decision. He likes that Hoiberg knows the “ins and outs” of pro basketball, and impressed him with a list of players the third-year coach has developed, too. And Dawson thinks Hoiberg, whose shooting stroke helped him star at Iowa State and play in the NBA, is uniquely qualified to help Dawson perfect his jump shot.
Dawson said he tweaked his jumper during the pandemic. On Wednesday, his dedication bore fruit.
Nebraska still hasn’t seen Dawson play much — he went the postgrad academy route after averaging 16 points and five rebounds per game last season at Orange (Calif.) Lutheran — but has faith in his potential. And Dawson plans to spend this season proving them right.
“I’m trying to show Nebraska that I can play,” Dawson said. “I’m just here to show them that I can play on both sides of the ball. I have a lot of passion at the defensive end — they don't have to worry about that. Anything to help my team win I'm willing to do.”