The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 02, 1999, Page 8, Image 8

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    Hamilton on Big 121st team
senior joins Belcher
on All-defense team;
Johnson honored
By Adam Klinker
Senior staff writer
In the midst of preparing for a conference tour
nament and turning all thoughts to tEeir team, tEree
Nebraska basketball players received individual Big
12 Conference honors on Monday.
Cookie Belcher, Venson Hamilton and Chad
Johnson all notched spots on one of the six Big 12
specialty teams which include the All-Newcomer
team, the All-Freshman team, the All-Underrated
team, the All-Improved team, the All-Bench team
and the All-Defense team.
Hamilton, in addition to being named to the All
Improved team, was also selected to the All-Big 12
first team. He was joined by Chris Mihm and Gabe
Muoneke of Texas, Marcus Fizer of Iowa State and
Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma State. But Hamilton
said it was no time to take a break from focusing on
the team.
It hasn t really hit me yet, Hamilton said. “It
probably won’t until we get down to playing the
The 6-foot-10 inch center from Forest City,
N.C., finished the regular season averaging 16
points and 10.5 rebounds per game, and averaged
18.3 ppg and 11 rpg in league play, figures that are
first and second in the conference, respectively.
NU Coach Danny Nee said there was never any
question that Hamilton was among the best in the
league this season, and he said it’s been a culmina
tion of things as well.
“Look at his numbers,” Nee said. “1,000 points,
1,000 rebounds, 200 block shots. That’s tough to do.
Nobody’s put up those kind of numbers at Nebraska.
It’s really special.”
in addition to Hamilton, Belcher, who led the
conference in steals with 87, was named to the Big
12 All-Defense team for the second straight season.
“He’s one of the premier defenders in the nation,
of course,” Nee said. “What I’ve seen him do on the
court is phenomenal.”
As a junior, Belcher, with 249 career steals is just
eight shy of Erick Strickland’s career mark.
He is also among the conference’s leaders in
assists this season with 125 and is tenth on the all
time NU charts with 317.
Following up Hamilton and Belcher, sophomore
guard Chad Johnson was yet another Husker addi
tion to the All-Big 12 teams. Johnson was named to
the All-Bench team.
Averaging 7.0 points and 3.1 rebounds, Johnson
just recently began his stint as NU’s starting point
guard, but was a perpetual fixture off the bench for
the Huskers.
“It’s a great honor to me,” Johnson said. “It
shows me that maybe next year I can become a
starter and try to make first or second team All-Big
On the whole, Nee said it was good to see his
players netting the respect and honor that they
deserve, as well as bringing in some accolades for
the team as a whole.
“I’m really happy for them,” he said. “It’s good
for the team.”
w_ Lane Hickenbottom/DN
VENSON HAMILTON takes it to the hoop Saturday against Texas A&M. Hamilton was named to the
first-team All Big 12 team on Monday by the Associated Press.
Huskers to shut down Texas A&M
By Jay Saunders
Staff writer
Before the Nebraska women’s bas
ketball team traveled to Stillwater,
Okla., to face Oklahoma State on
Saturday, almost everyone assumed the
Comhuskers and Cowgirls would meet
again in the first round of the Big 12
The results of Saturday’s regular
season games taught people why they
shouldn’t assume.
Because of Nebraska’s 60-57 win,
coupled with Missouri’s 73-64 upset
victory at Oklahoma, the Huskers were
awarded the No. 5 seed, which means
NU will open the tournament this after
noon at 2:20 against Texas A&M.
“There is going to be a lot of sur
prises,” Sanderford said. “Hopefully
one of them won’t be Texas A&M beat
ing us.”
Nebraska earned the fifth seed
thanks to a complicated tiebreaker sys
tem. NU (19-10 overall and 8-8 in the
Big 12 Conference) finished with the
same conference record as Baylor and
Baylor owned the head-to-head
tiebreaker. But because the Bears and
Oklahoma, who had the advantage over
Baylor, are in the same division, the
conference looks at that first.
If the Huskers lost in Stillwater, they
would have drawn the No. 7 seed, which
could have meant a second-round date
with No. 2-seeded Iowa State.
Instead of playing Iowa State in the
second round, the Huskers have a possi
ble matchup with Texas, the No. 4 seed.
“It’s a good time to win,” NU Coach
Paul Sanderford said. “Our kids grew
up a little bit.”
The Longhorns beat Nebraska 80
75 earlier this season. Sanderford said
the loss still is a pain in his side because
his team was in a position to win.
“I sure hope the kids get up for
A&M,” Sanderford said, “but I want to
play Texas one more time.”
Before NU can think about a
rematch, the Huskers must win a first
game, which didn’t happen last season.
Nebraska had a bye in the first
round of the tournament, and was upset
by Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals.
“I haven’t been reminded of it
much,” Sanderford said. “But hopefully
this is where the system works. We
stress peaking at tournament time.”
Nebraska beat Texas A&M 62-54 in
Our confidence is
sky-high right now.
We are going to
prepare to win as a
Nicole Kubik
NU guard
the teams’ only matchup this season.
The Feb. 17 game ended the Huskers’
seven-game road losing streak.
Since then, junior Nicole Kubik was
switched from point guard to shooting
guard. After that, the Huskers have
seemed to go through a revival.
“Our confidence is sky-high right
now,” Kubik said. “We are going to pre
pare to win as a team. We are going to be
focused on A&M.”
The win over Oklahoma State got
the Huskers to .500 in conference play,
which Sanderford said was a key to
making to the NCAA tournament.
Beating OSU means the Huskers
don’t have to rely on winning a certain
number of games in Kansas City.
“We got that off our back,”
Sanderford said. “Now we can go down
there and play.”
tournament Dominoes I
TUESDAY yummuca.
(starting at 730) Eight Ball df
Use your noon hour to RELAX”
For more information, call Sue at 472-7450
Counseling ^Psychological Services
• March 2 Magic Carpet 8c Restoring
• March 9 Breathing for Relaxation &
Thursdays Health/Magic Ball
12:10 -12:45 •March 23 Calm Breath 8c Mindfulness
UHC-Room 43 Meditation
__• March 30 Pond of Love 8c Inner Harmony
Darren Ivy
Senior day
for Huskers
Senior day is always an emo
tional'time for both players and
Saturday, 11,294 Bob Devaney
Sports Center fans bid farewell to
this year’s group of seniors.
An individual column proba
bly could be written about each
player’s unique twist to the day, but
I felt a highlight reel of each play
er’s story was most interesting.
We start with Andy
Markowski, the courageous war
rior from Ord. All season he
played through pain. But Saturday,
it appeared that he had finally met
a severe ankle sprain he couldn’t
overcome. Think again. He willed
his way onto the court.
“Andy basically told me he
was going to play,” Nee said.
“When he warmed up the first
time, I told him it wasn’t good
enough. I told him, ‘If you don’t
warm up better than that, you
aren’t going to play.’ He said, ‘I’ll
be ready to play. The adrenaline
will kick in. The emotion will kick
in and I’ll be ready to play.’”
Markowski scored just 4
points, but he was an emotional
spark plug.
Then there’s Venson Hamilton,
whose mother had never attended
a college game. Heck, she had
never even flown in an airplane
before. Listening to Venson tell the
story of her first flight was quite
“She prayed the whole time. It
took off and she was so scared. She
looked at one of my brothers and
said, ‘What’s going on?”’
You could tell that winning this
game meant a lot to Hamilton.
“I told the underclassmen,
‘Just win this game for me.
Please! ’ I don’t want to be walking
around with a loss, having my
family be all mad.”
Hamilton got his wish - one of
them at least. He didn’t get to
shoot a 3-point attempt, but thafs
about all the Big 12 Conference
player of the year candidate didn’t
do this year.
For Troy Piatkowski, the game
was a chance to show the fans and
his father that he still had some
bullets left in his long-range pistol.
“I always look up (into the
stands) when I’m warming up. If I
miss a shot, I can see the look in
my father’s eye. He’s sitting there,
saying follow through or put more
arc on the ball. I’ve seen it my
whole life. I didn’t see the look
lhats probably because
Piatkowski scored a season-high
17 points and made 7 of 9 shots.
For Florence, this year’s cere
mony was a warm-up for next year.
He will return next season.
The other three will be missed.
It was fitting that they went out
winners in their last home game.
They are crowd favorites and lik
able guys.
Hopefully, they will go out on
top and be the group to win an
NCAA Tournament game.
Darren Ivy is a junior news
editorial major and a senior
staff writer.