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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 23, 1999)
■ Injuries plague Huskers
coming into spring, as several
position battles are put on hold.
By Adam Klinker
Senior staff writer
It was the second full day of spring Monday,
but the weather was decidedly less than coopera
tive with the meteorological measurement of the
But it was also the first day of spring football
practice, and the show must go on. So the cooler
temperatures and light snow - a stark contrast to
last week’s mild weather - forced Nebraska
inside the Cook Pavilion to kick off the 1999 sea
“1 spent spring break at home in Mississippi
where it was 75 degrees,” Cornhusker 1-back
Correll Buckhalter said. “When I got off the
plane coming back up here, it was snowing. I was
like, ‘Man, what did I get myself into‘.r”
But despite the winter weather wakeup call,
and a slim hope to be outside soon as forecasts
predict more chillv temps, the indoor initiation
into spring ball went smoothly.
“I think everybody’s glad to get back on the
field and start practicing,” NU Coach Frank
Solich said. “The players have come off their
spring break in a good frame of mind and today’s
practice was very spirited.”
In just sweats and helmets, the Fluskers prac
ticed for about two hours. While there were a few
missing faces, the majority of the returners saw
Quarterback Bobby Newcombe, who most
likely will not practice rigorously until fall, spent
his time with the first team watching his counter
part Eric Crouch take the snaps.
With whispers of carryover from last year’s
quarterback controversy already circulating,
Crouch was quick to dismiss any rumors and said
he'd rather have Newcombe practicing with the
team and competing for the starting job.
“It would be nice if he were out here,” Crouch
said. "Whenever he's out here, we’re pretty com
petitive against each other. I look forward to that
in the fall, it'll be a good time and that’s our out
look on it - just a friendly competition.”
On the depth charts right now. both Crouch
and Newcombe are listed as starters with sopho
more Jay Runty and senior Jeff Perino as
In addition to Newcombe. 1-backs DeAngelo
Ev ans and Dan Alexander were also taking it easy
with injuries, as well as fullback Willie Miller,
wingback Frankie London and tackle Adam
Julch. who were all listed as injured.
Picking up the I-back duties was Buckhalter,
who is listed as the starter, in a three-way tie with
Evans and Alexander for that job.
Buckhalter started seven games last season for
NU and ran for 799 yards and eight touchdowns,
as Evans and Alexander were plagued by injuries.
Despite injuries to some key players. Solicit
judged the day a success, and said things are off on
the right foot for the 1999 season.
"Everybody was focused today; there was a
lot of confidence,’' he said. "1 feel real good about
what we got accomplished.”
[ \ ( v
FULLBACK BEN KINGSTON, a junior from Omaha, works out with the rest of the running backs
during the first day of spring practice in Cook Pavilion.
NU looks forward to juco transfers
By Darren Ivy
Senior staff writer
Coming off a second-round NIT loss to Texas
Christian, it's time for Men's Basketball Coach
Danny Nee to think about the future.
Gone is Venson Hamilton, Big 12 Conference
player of the year, Andy Markowski, the heart and
soul of the 1998-99 squad and Troy Piatkowski.
However, a strong nucleus returns, led by
three-year starters Cookie Belcher and Larry
“Cookie and Larry will be our leaders,” Nee
Belcher, an All-Big 12 first-team selection,
averaged 11.8 points, 4.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and
3.2 steals per game last year. Florence meanwhile
put up 10.3 points and 4.1 rebounds. ■*
Chad Johnson also saw a lot of action last year
at the point guard and forward positions.
Nee said the biggest improvement, however,
could come from freshmen Cary Cochran and
"Every time you get them out there, you hope
they learn something new and improve,” Nee said.
Cochran saw more minutes as the season pro
gressed and had his biggest offensive game as a
Husker(23 points) in the season finale with TCU.
He averaged 5.4 points per game and led the team
from the free-throw line with a 93.5 percentage.
Truscott also saw more action as the season
went on. In the last four games of the year, he aver
aged 7 points and four rebounds per game.
“1 feel we will be much improved with every
one hav ing experience,” Truscott said.
NU also will get some help from Compton
CC players Danny Walker and Stephon Bradford,
Gulf Coast CC center Kimani Ffriend, and high
school players Bnan Conklin and Kenny Booker.
George Maczyk is another junior college transfer.
“We have impact from junior college players,”
Cochran said. “I think we are going to be pretty
experienced. I don't think there is any reason we
I don > think there is any
reason we won’t do as
well as this year"
Cary Cochran s
won’t do as well as this year. We will be better.”
Truscott said the keys to having a good season
will be playing good defense, not turning the ball
over as much as this year, taking it one game at a
time and playing together as a team. Not making
the NCAA Tournament also will provide motiva
tion, Cochran said.
“That will be in the back of our minds,” he
said. “That will fuel the fire. It will make people
work harder than they normally work.”
By Jay Saunders
Even before the end of this season. Nebraska
Women's Basketball Coach Paul Sanderford was
talking about the prospects for next year.
Who can blame him? The trials and tribula
tions of this year's 21-12 season most closely
resembled a roller coaster ride.
Next season, six of the team's top eight scorers
return, including top scorer Nicole Kubik. To top it
off. a group of freshmen will be coming to Lincoln
who could possibly make an instant impact.
"At the beginning of the year,” junior Brooke
Schwartz said, "I don't think we were supposed to
be that good. We started off as good as we did the
year before and surprised some people. Maybe we
even surprised ourselves.”
This season, NU started off hot with a win
against Arizona //_
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wins away from BROOKE SCHWARTZ
the Bob Devaney NU guard
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were hard to
come by; NU lost on the road for a two-month
stretch of the Big 12 Conference season.
That trend was bucked when Baylor posted a
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game home winning streak. No. 11 Texas Tech
made it two home losses in a row.
In the Big 12 Tournament, Nebraska won
games against Texas A&M and Texas. That earned
the Huskers a berth in the NCAA tournament for
the second consecutive year, where NU lost to
Kentucky in the first round.
“Our team is known for starting off strong, and
we just seemed to hit a cliff where we fell off,”
Schwartz said. “I love roller coaster rides, but I
don’t like them in this situation.”
Now, NU goes to work on the third season
under Sanderford. Kubik will return as the team's
top scorer and the nation’s steals leader.
Senior Lisa Reitsma went from a volleyball
All-American to leading the basketball team in
blocked shots. Reitsma will be replaced by Casey
Leonhardt, who sat out this season after transfer
ring from Illinois.
“A lot of people don’t know about (Casey),”
sophomore Amanda Went said. “She's amazing.
With all of us coming back we have an outside
Even though the Huskers have a large group of
returning players. Leonhardt is just one of several
newcomers who may make an impact.
Five freshmen have signed so far for next sea
son. That class is highlighted by Stephanie Jones, a
6-foot-2 forward from Omaha.
When Jones signed, Sanderford said she could
see considerable playing time as a freshman at the
small forward position.
Two players were nabbed from the Kansas
City area. To join those three is a guard from Las
Vegas and received an oral commitment from
Lincoln Southeast graduate Isha Kelley.
The newcomers will be joined by the core of
this season’s NCAA tournament team.
Kubik and Schwartz could make up one of the
conference's deadliest backcourts. In the post,
juniors Charlie Rogers and Monique Whitfield
will join Leonhardt in the post to try and rejuve
nate a less-than-potent rebounding attack.
One player who will not be back is Renee
Saunders. Saunders sat out all season with a foot
injury. The injury, suffered two years ago, has
ended her athletic career at Nebraska.
But even with two straight 20-win seasons and
trips to the NCAA tournament, Schwartz said the
team still has something to reach for next season.
“As a senior,” Schwartz said, “you don’t want
to go out like this.”
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