The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 20, 1999, Page 7, Image 7

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elevated her game from the home
made hoop in the driveway of her
family farm in Cambridge to a
potential candidate for Big 12 play
er of the year. Last Saturday against
KU, Kubik outscored the whole
Jayhawk team in the first half, on
the way to 36 points, eight steals,
eight rebounds and six assists.
Take a farm.
Add a driveway.
Put up a hoop.
You’ve got the 1
makings of the
next women’s
basketball star j
at Nebraska.
“I don’t feel
it is anything
I am doing
myself. My
deserve a lot
of the credit. ”
- Nicole Kubik
■ NU guard
Story by Photo by
Jay Saunders Matt Miller
The picture is painted almost as if
you were watching the movie
If you make the three-hour drive
from Lincoln to Cambridge, you will
eventually find your way to the Kubik
family farm.
Corn and wheat grow, and cattle
graze in the pasture. Look further and
there is a cement driveway. At the end of
the strip of pavement stands a makeshift
basketball hoop that is one inch higher
than the regulation height.
The hoop was made almost 10 years
ago in a wood shop class by Trevor
Kubik, one of seven children in the fami
All seven of the children would make
their own mark in the rural Nebraska
town, but the biggest mark is being made
by the second-youngest of the siblings.
Nebraska junior Nicole Kubik start
ed off like most kids in the driveway,
making up scenarios while she shot.
Even though she was alone in the dri
veway, Kubik imagined her team being
down by 3 points with 10 seconds to play.
She puts up a shot, and she’s fouled. The
game is now up to her - at the tree-throw
Now those childhood scenarios are
for real.
“It was a lot easier to shoot in the dri
veway,” Kubik said. "The top of the key
was dirt and it was lower than the rest of
the driveway.”
Kubik went from her driveway to the
Nebraska state record books. In four
years at Cambridge High School, Kubik
was a four-time All-state selection, and
her 2,179 career points are the second
highest in girl’s prep history.
After three state titles and scoring
22.5 points per game over four years,
Kubik went on to Lincoln. The trek from
the driveway to the Bob Devaney Sports
Center was complete.
But you won’t hear Kubik say much
about it.
“I am one of those low-key players
that wants to get the job done,” Kubik
Everywhere she has played, from the
driveway to the Big 12 Conference,
Kubik has gotten the job done.
As a freshman, Kubik started 22
games and averaged 8.5 points per game.
The next season, Kubik was the sec
ond-leading scorer on a Husker team that
won more games than any other in histo
But during last season, Kubik had to
go through something she never had in
six years of organized basketball: a
coaching change.
Angela Beck, the coach who recruit
ed Kubik, left Nebraska to coach in the
American Basketball League. The
changing of the guard brought in Paul
Sanderford from Western Kentucky.
Sanderford came with a gruff image
and an impressive coaching resume.
“I had kind of established myself as
a freshman,” Kubik said. “I welcomed
the challenge of having to prove myself
Not only did Kubik prove herself,
she found a way to fit right in to the
Sanderford system.
“She’s a great kid,” Sanderford said.
“She is learning to walk the walk you
need to walk as a leader.”
Under Sanderford, Kubik has had
nothing but success. Last season, she
was a third-team all-conference selec
After setting the bar high as a sopho
more, Kubik was looking at another hur
dle to overcome. In Kubik s two years as
a Husker, the spotlight shone brightly on
All-American candidate Anna DeForge.
When DeForge graduated, there was
questions as to who would take over the
reins of the team.
Sanderford appears to have found
me answei m me unassuming gui
from Cambndge.
This season, the statistics speak for
themselves. Kubik leads the conference
in both assists and steals, and her 19.6
points per game is third in the confer
Saturday against Kansas, Kubik
reached the pinnacle of individual per
In the first half, Kubik scored 25
points, ending up with a career-high 36
when the final buzzer sounded. A free
throw with 13:07 left in the first half
gave Kubik her 1000th career point.
Last season, Kubik broke a
Nebraska single-season record with 104
steals. Against Kansas, the guard broke
records for most free throws made and
attempted in a single game.
She has been called a marquee play
er, but the modest Kubik said she doesn’t
think she will ever be able to use that
adjective to describe herself.
“I can’t see myself in that way,”
Kubik said. “I don’t feel it is anything I
am doing myself. My teammates
deserve a lot of the credit.”
It is those same teammates that have
nothing but praise for their floor leader.
Junior Brooke Schwartz, Kubik’s
backcourt mate, summed up the point
guard very simply.
“The girl is amazing,” Schwartz
With all of the success Kubik has
had over the past seven seasons in a bas
ketball uniform, it would be easy for the
5-foot-10 inch guard to grow a big head.
But that just wouldn’t be Kubik’s style.
Even though Kubik had garnered
many accolades, she continues to be the
same player she was in the driveway.
“A lot of it has to do with the way my
parents brought me up,” Kubik said.
Kubik said family plays a key role in
everything she does. Almost her entire
family was in Lincoln for last Saturday’s
game against Kansas. The Kubik clan
will also be traveling to Boulder, Colo.,
for this weekend’s game against
Throughout her athletic career,
Kubik has had family support wherever
she has gone.
Three of her siblings live in Lincoln,
including 23-year-old Jami, who is the
only one of the siblings who has seen
Nicole in action up close.
The two sisters combined for two
state titles in high school and played
together the last two seasons in scarlet
and cream.
Jami Kubik said she has enjoyed
watching her sister this season, but par
tially blames herself for Nicole's quiet
“She has always been pretty quiet”
Jami Kubik said. “She didn’t have an
opportunity' to talk with all of us talk
Nicole said that is not the only way
her siblings have influenced her. Even
now when all the Kubik family gathers
back on the family farm, it wouldn’t be
uncommon to see the siblings play a lit
tle game of 3-on-3.
“I never wanted to back down from
them,” she said.
It was that attitude that Kubik said
has helped her accept the challenges of
college basketball.
“If someone challenges me and says
‘you can’t make this shot,”’ she said,
“I'm going to make it.”
And Kubik has made a lot of those
shots. That attitude doesn’t come from
the family, but from one of Kubik’s
Just like most little kids who have a
chance to win the game in the driveway,
Kubik, too, looked up to former NBA
great Michael Jordan.
“I have always admired Michael
Jordan,” she said. “I’ve always wanted
to play like him.
“You want to pattern yourself, well,
to be like Mike.”