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Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Incoming Women’s Basketball Transfer Darian White Fitting in Well With Huskers

July 24, 2023

For a third straight offseason, Nebraska women’s basketball added just one player from the transfer portal this summer. 

Unlike prior guard additions in Jaz Shelley and Maddie Krull, this year’s newcomer enters having already built a strong legacy at a previous program. 

Darian White spent the past four years starring at Montana State, leading the team in scoring for three straight seasons and being named the Big Sky’s defensive player of the year twice. Her 1,716 points scored are second in program history. 

In March, she entered the transfer portal, seeking to challenge herself in a bigger conference. Plenty of programs were interested in the veteran guard who had proven her ability to both score and defend. Still, choosing to leave the place where she had made such a lasting impact wasn’t easy at all.  

“It was a lot harder than what I anticipated. It was a hard decision to make, to leave Bozeman,” White said on Huskers Radio Network on July 20. “That’s another home that I had and I loved my experience there.”

Potential destinations emerged quickly — she said she received calls within 15 minutes of her name being in the transfer portal. Over 50 schools in total reached out throughout the process. White was looking for a team that could not only fit her competitive goals, but one that was close-knit on and off the court. Nebraska fit that.

“I love the culture that they have here, the environment that they’ve created,” she said. “Obviously I know how competitive they are, how good they are and how many returning players they have as well, so that was promising.”

Along with that, having connections already in the building helped. Husker strength coach Alex Jardine and athletic trainer Ben Huver both were on staff at Montana State with White on the roster before coming to Nebraska. So was new assistant coach Julian Assibey, who helped recruit the guard out of high school.

“[Assibey] said it perfectly when I came back here,” White said. “like, ‘Let’s finish business.’”

The transfer’s role on the court won’t be known for sure until the season starts, but given her prior success, one would expect her to play significant minutes and likely start. She said she’s fit in well, in large part due to the fact that coaches were honest about their expectations for her on the team.

White will join a backcourt which was already projected to be solid. Jaz Shelley leads the team, while Allison Weidner was seemingly in the midst of a breakout season before a season-ending knee injury last year. Krull started 24 games in 2022-23, while junior Kendall Moriarty, sophomore Callin Hake and true freshman Logan Nissley all may factor into the rotation off the bench.

Besides Weidner, all of those returners take most of their shot attempts behind the 3-point line. Nissley is known for her shooting ability as well. White is closer to Weidner, having barely taken a three a game last year. She appreciates having such strong perimeter threats.

“Defenses are going to have to decide if they’re going to let me get a wide open lane or if they’re going to leave the shooters on the outside for a wide-open shot, and they knock ’em down. So it’s going to be a dangerous but fun game for us.”

The defensive prowess will be worth watching in the backcourt as well, with Shelley having picked up a Big Ten all-defense nod in 2021-22. Weidner averaged a steal per game last year too. White said she’s always taken pride in getting stops, and her dad’s coaching instilled in her that defense wins games.

In her final season of college basketball, White aims to set herself up well for a professional career. She’ll do that by doing her best with this team, expecting to work hard and be a leader. She wants to improve her passing ability, along with continuing to adjust to the pace the Huskers play with.

Nebraska’s been scrimmaging often, but White’s first chance to compete with the Huskers against other teams will come in the summer trip to Greece at the end of July. She’s excited for that opportunity, and the season set to come months after.

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