The Huskers are soon going to be getting immediate help by way of an early enrollee from their 2021 signing class. Kendall Coley, the top overall player in the Huskers’ class, is on campus and will be eligible to compete this season for head coach Amy Williams, the program announced Tuesday.
With the start of the high school hoops season in Minnesota severely delayed and the length shortened, many hoopers are opting to graduate early and head off to college. Because of the NCAA’s eligibility freeze, this year is a freebie for student-athletes; incoming freshmen from the 2021 class can show up to campus and participate in the year without losing eligibility.
Coley, from Minneapolis, is taking advantage of the unique situation.
She will be on the bench when Nebraska (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten) hosts Minnesota (2-7, 1-6 Big Ten) but she won’t play. But, according to a release from the university, she has already moved to Lincoln and completed mandatory testing to comply with COVID-19 protocols. Coley hasn’t practiced yet with the Huskers, but once she can bank a few, the expectation is that Williams will be able to add her to a rotation that has been bludgeoned by injuries.
Nebraska is down to seven healthy players for Tuesday’s matchup with the Gophers. Coley should be able to provide immediate help once she suits up.
Coley (6-foot-2) was the No. 9 wing in the nation according to ESPN and a consensus top-50 player in the 2021 recruiting cycle. As a junior, she averaged 15.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists for St. Louis Park. She was an honorable-mention All-Minnesota selection and earned All-Metro West Conference honors. She played her AAU basketball for FBC North.
“I’m a pretty good facilitator,” Coley told Hail Varsity shortly after committing to Nebraska in the spring of 2020. “Kind of in a point guard-ish way. I’m not really a point guard, but I can play the point. My whole life I’ve just grown up as a versatile player.”
Her father, Tylor, who coaches her AAU team, agreed that her best attribute might be passing. “Kendall’s a pure shooter, I mean, she can shoot the ball with the best of ‘em, but she passes on taking shots to make sure everybody’s involved in the game,” he said.
Coley had four triple-doubles as a junior, and with some bigger rebounding games, she could have had more.
Her addition could prove huge for the Huskers. Depth on the perimeter has taken a serious hit all season long. Taylor Kissinger, a wing/stretch four, was forced to medically retire shortly before preseason camp started. She would have likely started for Nebraska. Nebraska has also been without guards Trinity Brady (ankle), MiCole Cayton (knee), and Nailah Dillard (unspecified) for the bulk of the year. Reserve guard Makenzie Helms also transferred shortly after the start of the year.
Despite all that, the Huskers are surging of late. Nebraska has won four of its last five games, including three wins against ranked opponents, and received votes in the latest AP Top 25 poll.
The good times just keep rolling.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.