On Thursday, the annual Metro Basketball Pro-Am Summer League comes to a close with the semifinals and championship going down at the Iowa West Field House in Council Bluffs.
Every summer, current and former college players with ties to the Omaha metro area and Nebraska as a whole get together to compete against each other in the summer league, which is free to the public.
One of the highlights for area fans each summer is the chance to see active players from both Creighton and UNO.
For the first time in many years, however, Husker fans in Omaha had one of their own to watch. Platteview product and Nebraska freshman Brady Heiman played for Apex Foster Care this season along with some of his former teammates and friends including Omaha Burke alumnus and recent Creighton commit Shereef Mitchell as well as Snow College commit and Omaha Central alumnus Roman Behrens.
Apex’s run came to an end on Monday night in the first round of the bracket portion of the event as they only had five players show up and ran up against a veteran-laden Winning Mentality team featuring former Husker Steffon Bradford. Winning Mentality went on to lose in the quarterfinals.
Heiman also participated in the event last summer on a team consisting entirely of high school seniors. The 6-foot-11 forward said he enjoyed his time playing in the league.
“It’s just fun basketball… Play a different role, you know?”
For Heiman, the league is a fun break from summer workouts down in Lincoln and also gives him an outlet to experiment with some of the skills he’s been working on.
“I don’t know how many 3s I took today, but it’s definitely more than what I shoot on game day, but I think putting them up in practice is definitely helping me,” Heiman said.
Heiman wasn’t shy about getting shots up from deep throughout league play. He shot 2-of-5 from deep on Monday with both of the makes drawing nothing but net. Heiman has also shown some mid-range touch, favoring a Dirk Nowitzki-esque fadeaway jumper out of the mid-post. With his slight frame, Heiman hasn’t been able to rely on getting deep post position in workouts and has been focusing more on developing that jumper.
“I think that’s just what it is — practice, keep doing it over and over again,” Heiman said. “That’s what they want, a four or five who can shoot.”
Heiman knows he’ll have to be able to hold his own inside when the time comes for him to set foot on the court at Pinnacle Bank Arena and his working hard this summer to help him prepare for that day.
“Lifts have been tough, trying to gain strength, which I have,” Heiman said. “It’s fun seeing the numbers go up every week. You get in a little better shape every week; just going up against those guys have been tough.”
“Those guys” refers to the likes of bruising walk-on Tanner Borchardt, uber-athletic Isaiah Roby and sharp-shooting Isaac Copeland.
“Going up against all those guys has been an experience because you learn how each of them play and kind of get ready for each of them,” Heiman said.
Hieman’s run in the Metro Summer League might be over, but he’ll likely be back next summer and perhaps he won’t be the only one from Lincoln. According to Heiman, talk about participating in the league went around the team but it was too late to sign up as teams had already been formed and schedules were set.
Nothing is guaranteed, but according to Heiman, the Metro league might be getting a bit more Husker flavor next season.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. 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.