Fred Hoiberg added another preferred walk-on to his program on Monday as Lincoln Pius X stand-out guard Charlie Easley committed to stay home and play for the Huskers.
I’d like to thank God, my family, coaches, and teammates for helping me become the person and player I am today. Thank you to the coaches who have recruited me. I’m excited to announce I will be pursuing my academic and athletic career as a walk-on at the University of Nebraska! pic.twitter.com/YXdtCTu9ic
— Charlie Easley (@CharlieEasley4) May 6, 2019
“I had a lot of people say they kind of just don’t know about me and then Hoiberg called me and he texted me again saying he thinks it’ll be a good situation for me at Nebraska,” Easley told Hail Varsity. “It just felt right. I’m a guy from Lincoln, it’s been my home-town, I just pulled the trigger because that’s where I wanted to be.”
Easley — a 6-foot-2, 190-pound guard — chose Nebraska over a walk-on offer from Creighton and a look from most of the Division II schools in the region. A few other Division I teams also showed interest and he received an offer from The Citadel last summer. But he passed on those scholarship opportunities to play for Fred Hoiberg.
“Hoiberg had a lot to do with it,” Easley said. “I saw that he got the coaching job and I liked everything about him. He called me and he said he’s going to give everyone a chance, walk-on or scholarship. The people that prove themselves in practices are going to get some minutes in the games and that’s all I can ask for. I’m just going go out there and work my hardest and see if something can happen. That’s all I can do. He said if you can shoot, you can play.”
As a senior, Easley led the Thunderbolts to a Class B state title to cap off a 27-2 season despite playing primarily a Class A schedule. He led Pius in nearly every statistical category, putting up 23.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.1 steals per game while shooting 51.5 percent from the field, 45.3 percent from 3 and 86.5 percent from the free-throw line.
Easley scored 20 or more in 21 of his 29 games as a senior with a high of 35 against Elkhorn in February. He recorded two point-rebound double-doubles including one in the state championship and had 11 games with five or more assists including a career-high of nine against Millard North in January. He had seven games with four made 3-pointers.
Easley put up 25 points, a career-high 13 rebounds, seven assists and four steals with just one turnover in the Class B state championship game, a 71-59 win over Omaha Roncalli in double-overtime.
As a junior, Easley averaged 17.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.9 steals. He finished his three-year varsity career as Pius’ all-time leading scorer with 1,412 points. Now he’ll continue his playing career at the next level in his home town.
“I’m beyond excited,” Easley said. “It means the world to have everybody that watched me throughout my Pius career, all my family, it’s just going to be a good experience to have everyone in the town with me. I hope I can make them proud.”
Nebraska now has three freshmen set to enroll this summer with Easley joining Omaha Creighton Prep forward Akol Arop (scholarship) and Elkhorn South guard Jace Piatkowski (walk-on). All three played AAU basketball together for two seasons with the Omaha Sports Academy Crusaders.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Easley said. “We’re already great friends from OSA and to be able to play on with them in college is going to be a great experience for all of us for sure.”
With redshirt freshman walk-on Justin Costello entering the transfer portal, Nebraska needed another guard for the scout team and Easley has the ability to play either spot in the backcourt. He’s a terrific shooter that can score at all three levels as well as make plays for others. He competes on the defensive and and has good instincts.
“I think I can bring grit and I’m never going to stop working,” Easley said. “I’m going to be tough and I’m going to do whatever I can to help Nebraska be as successful as possible.”
As part of his basketball journey, Easley has had the opportunity to play with his older brother Jack as a sophomore, he’s broken the school scoring record at Pius and he’s led the Thunderbolts to a state title. Now he’ll continue that journey in Lincoln as a Husker.
“I could not have asked for it to be better,“ Easley said. “To go out on top with a state championship and then get the opportunity to continue it and play here in town, it means the world. I thank God, my family, my teammates and coaches for making it possible.”
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.