Last week, before Nebraska men's basketball took on Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament, head coach Tim Miles joked with BTN's Mike Hall that the Huskers, down to six scholarship players, had asked for reinforcements from the football team.
Unfortunately, it was only a joke, but it was a good enough hypothetical to start the gears turning. If the Huskers needed a member of the football team to come in and give them serviceable minutes in a major college basketball game, who is that player?
Because everything this week must be bracketized, basketballized or both, ESPN was already going down that path. Its network of writers put that question to each of the football programs in ESPN's way-too-early top 25, a group that includes Nebraska.
Sophomore tight end Austin Allen (6-8, 245) earned the nod for Nebraska.
The 6-foot-8, 245-pound frame is a good start, but Allen's high school basketball coach says the former standout was more than just a big body. He averaged 15 points per game and picked up a few mid-major scholarship offers to play basketball after making the all-state team his junior year.
I'll buy that pick for one very simple reason: It was also one of two names mentioned by our resident hoops expert, Jacob Padilla.
The other? Sophomore quarterback Noah Vedral, a third-team all-state pick as a senior at Bishop Neumann.
That covers two spots on a just-for-fun football starting five. Nebraska's spring media guide mentions the basketball careers of 25 other Huskers in their bios.
Of that group, I'm drafting three to fill out my starting five:
OLB Alex Davis (6-5, 255): Before jumping into football as a high school upperclassmen, Davis was a hooper for Dyer High School in Florida. A pretty solid one as a 12 points, 7 rebounds, block-and-a-half a night guy as a junior and senior.
OL Christian Gaylord (6-6, 310): Yeah, perhaps not a name you expected to see here. But Gaylord did average 19.0 points per game and 7.3 rebounds for Baldwin City High School as a senior.
LB Jamin Graham (6-4, 230): Cheating a bit here as Graham isn't on campus yet, but he's one of those guys who probably could've drawn some basketball interest if he'd continued down that path. He was still the Etowah County Player of the Year in Alabama in 2018. He also had this first dunk below, which was all I really need to see.
Perhaps the most interesting basketball-adjacent note in the spring media guide, however, is this one. Tight ends coach Sean Beckton spent time at Mainland High School in Florida between 1993 and 1996 as an assistant on the football and basketball teams. Two of those basketball teams won state titles. Probably because they had Vince Carter.
That earns Beckton the head coaching job of my Nebraska Football Five if he wants it. Should he be busy with spring football, I'd look for an actual basketball coach who wasn't busy with a postseason tournament.
Somebody like Fred Hoiberg, just to pick a name totally at random.
The Grab Bag
- Jacob Padilla looks at the role positing changes might have on the Huskers’ offensive line.
- Mikaela Foecke is a finalist for the AAU George Sullivan Award.
- Thanks to his time in a 3-4, the language barrier is low for Tony Tuioti as he works in Nebraska’s scheme.
- What’s Nebraska’s biggest need in 2020 recruiting? Let the debate begin.
Today’s Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.