The November 2022 issue of Hail Varsity is out this week. To preview the issue, here is this month’s letter from editor Mike Babcock. Make sure you don’t miss an issue by subscribing now.
Three of the top five scorers in Nebraska women’s basketball history are from in-state: Jordan Hooper (Alliance), Maurtice Ivy (Omaha) and Amy Stephens (Alliance). The top scorer in Husker men’s history, Dave Hoppen, is from Omaha.
Even though the state’s population requires both programs to recruit across the country, and include players from outside it, there’s typically been a notable in-state presence, as is the case this season for both teams. This issue provides profiles of both. Drake Keeler looks at sophomore Alexis Markowski, the daughter of former Husker Andy Markowski, while Jacob Padilla writes about senior Sam Griesel.
Both are from Lincoln, Griesel transferring from North Dakota State.
Markowski is among three Nebraskans on Coach Amy Williams’ roster, the others Allison Weidner (Humphrey) and Maddie Krull (Omaha), a transfer from South Dakota. Williams’ team was No. 22 in the USA Today preseason poll, a carryover from a 24-9 record and NCAA first-round game last season.
The 20-plus wins and NCAA invitation were the first since Williams’ second season, 2017-18.
Griesel is among four Nebraskans on the men’s roster. The other three are walk-ons: Sam Hoiberg (Lincoln), Coach Fred Hoiberg’s son; Cale Jacobsen (Ashland) and Henry Burt (Omaha). Unlike the women, the Husker men have no carryover respect. Quite the contrary. They’re looking for their first winning season under Hoiberg—it’s his fourth. Tim Miles’ final team was 19-17 and went to the National Invitation Tournament for a second consecutive season.
The men haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since Miles’ second season, 2013-14. Prior to that, the men were last NCAA qualifiers under Danny Nee in 1998. Nee took four consecutive teams to the NCAA Tournament from 1991 to 1994. The Nebraska men’s only other NCAA Tournament appearance was in 1986, under Moe Iba. This issue’s Legends subject is Bernard Day, a member of that team.
Though the focus is basketball, the issue includes a wrap of the soccer season by Brady Oltmans, a volleyball Q&A with freshman Bekka Allick by Erin Sorensen and football photo spreads by Eric Francis and John S. Peterson, as well as other standing features.
Unlike women’s basketball, which first reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2010, the subject of this issue’s Turn the Page, the Husker men have never won an NCAA Tournament game. For a time, that was a constant complaint among Nebraska fans: the Husker men can’t win in the NCAA.
Except for the Miles “blip” in 2014,” such complaints were essentially erased with the controversy and dismissal of Nee following the 1999-2000 season. Afterall, if you can’t get to the NCAA Tournament, you can’t lose in the first round.