Bryce McGowens is headed to Charlotte.
The Hornets picked him with the 10th pick of the second round, 40th overall, after acquiring the pick in a trade with Minnesota. He’s the third Husker drafted in the last four years, joining Isaiah Roby in 2019 and Dalano Banton in 2021, and the highest-drafted Husker since Tyronn Lue went 23rd in 1998. He’s the 29th draft pick in program history.
BRYCE ➡️ BUZZ CITY@BryceMcgowens5 | @hornets pic.twitter.com/38mv2pYY1r
— Nebraska Basketball (@HuskerHoops) June 24, 2022
“This day has been amazing, getting a chance to be here, celebrate this with my family,” said McGowens, who was in attendance for the draft in Chicago. “This was my dream since I can remember. So just being able to be here and get drafted, it means everything to me. I thank God.”
The Moment: #NBADraft Dreams Come True 💫🏀 @BryceMcgowens5 pic.twitter.com/DaCh0OFZCe
— Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) June 24, 2022
The Hornets traded their first pick (13th overall) and used their second (15th) on Duke center Mark Williams.
McGowens is the first 5-star recruit to pick the Huskers out of high school and the first true one-and-done player in program history. The Pendleton, South Carolina, native was a top-30 recruit according to both Rivals and 247Sports coming out of Legacy Early College in 2021. He originally committed to Florida State but later decommitted and picked the Huskers over Georgia.
The 6-foot-7, 181-pound wing finished third nationally among all true freshmen in scoring at 16.8 points per game during his lone season in Lincoln. He shot 40.3% from the field including 27.4% from 3 and 83.1% from the foul line while grabbing 5.2 rebounds and dishing out 1.2 assists per game. He garnered third-team All-Big Ten and All-Freshman Team honors this season and the AP named him Big Ten Newcomer of the Year after winning Big Ten Freshman of the Week eight times.
McGowens set school freshman records for points, scoring average, free throws made and free throws attempted. He’s also second in field goals made, fourth in rebounds and sixth in 3-pointers made. McGowens shouldered a lot of responsibility for a Nebraska team that lacked in offensive creation and floor spacing, and he saw plenty of defensive attention throughout the season as Nebraska’s No. 1 option.
A big part of McGowens choosing Nebraska was the opportunity to play with his brother Trey, and although a broken foot knocked the elder McGowens out for nearly half the season, the two brothers did get to share the court for 17 games. Trey also entered this year’s draft after two seasons at Nebraska.
Though Bryce wasn’t in Lincoln long and the Huskers didn’t have as much success on the court as they were hoping, he did put down some roots and make some connections in the community throughout the past eight months.
McGowens declared for the draft on March 21 and signed with Roc Nation Sports. He attended the 2022 NBA Combine in Chicago and took part in multiple team workouts, including a session with the Hornets. He was the seventh Big Ten Player selected, following Iowa’s Keegan Murray (fourth), Purdue’s Jaden Ivey (fifth), Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis (10th), Ohio State’s Malaki Branham (20th), Michigan’s Caleb Houstan (33rd) and Michigan State’s Max Christie (35th).
Nebraska fans will now have three Huskers to cheer for in the NBA with McGowens in Charlotte, Banton in Toronto and Roby in Oklahoma City.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.