In honor of the Final Four coming to Omaha this week — Louisville, Indiana, UCLA and N.C. State (North Carolina, too?) — let's pause to consider something truly historic.
Nebraska basketball lured a top assistant coach from Georgetown.
Kenya Hunter might be the most important assistant hire Husker Hoops has ever made. The six-year Georgetown vet is certainly the most accomplished, also having coached at Xavier and N.C. State.
Building a practice facility and new arena are one thing. Targeting and landing a big-time recruiter like Hunter is another. It's the third major piece of the puzzle.
This is another sign, and the one you weren't sure could happen, that NU is serious about hoops. According to Gary Parrish of cbssports.com, Hunter's salary will be $230,000.
The flip side of this is that someone else out there is taking Husker Hoops seriously. Maybe it was time for Georgetown to shake up its staff, but a guy like Hunter could have gone a lot of places. For him to consider that he could help his career at NU says something.
Recruits may look at a guy like Hunter and wonder. Why would he leave G-Town for Lincoln? Maybe they find out.
In any case, I've had out-of-town writers come to the College World Series complaining about all the football recruiting in the news around here in June.
Not anymore. We're a basketball state.
>> How long has it been since a Big Ten team found the CWS? Give you a hint: Cal State Fullerton beat Texas for the championship. And Augie Garrido was there.
No, not 2004. Try 20 years earlier.
Garrido coached the Titans back then, and beat Cliff Gustafson, the man he would later replace at Texas.
The all-tourney team included Barry Bonds of Arizona State, Pete Incaviglia of Oklahoma State and Greg Swindell of Texas. The team did not include future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, of the Big Ten's Michigan.
How long ago? Jim Delany was commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference.
>> Welcome home, LSU Tigers. TD Ameritrade Park could use a little cajun spice.
>> The Louisville Cardinals will have at least a few fans in Omaha, including hoops recruit Akoy Agau, baseball recruit Grant Kay of Ralston and Iowa Western, and the family and friends of Cardinal reliever Cody Ege, of Cherokee, Iowa.
>> According to Courier-Journal columnist Tim Sullivan, L-Ville catcher Kyle Gibson was accused of stealing Vanderbilt's signs after reaching second on a double and a scuffle almost ensued with Vandy players.
A catcher stealing signs? Is that like a police detective becoming a jewel thief?
They don't allow sign stealing at the CWS, do they?
>> We don't get much sense of humor in college football anymore, and we'll get even less now that John Melton won't be hanging around the press box. Melton was one of the original Bob Devaney gang, the best coaching staff in Nebraska football history. He mixed old-school gruff with a razor-sharp wit.
Melton's most classic line came after someone asked him about the petition in Omaha to replace Bob Devaney after the 1968 season. Said Melton, “I signed it.”
>> Bo Pelini choosing permanent captains is a big deal if the captains are good. It's a good idea, but there's never a guarantee. Just because you put a “C” on the uniform doesn't make someone a leader. Pelini must feel good about the guys he picked. To those who say Taylor Martinez isn't a leader, I disagree. Obviously, Pelini does, too.
>> K-State hoops coach Bruce Weber told Sean Keeler of foxsportskansascity.com that Creighton wants to play KSU at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. That would a great game for CU. Jays fans love Bruce Weber.
>> I'm a big Mike Martin fan. He's a guy I root for here in Omaha, but you wonder if he'll ever get that brass ring. That loss to Indiana can't be going over well in Seminole Country.
>> I'm taking Graeme McDowell at Merion this week. He's a former U.S. Open champ, he's one of the tour's most accurate drivers and he has a great umbrella.
>> No surprise really that Bill Belichick would take on the Tim Tebow Project. Coach Hoodie likes to strut his football brain power. And this is where Tebow likely plays another position or else. But if you were Tom Brady, wouldn't you rather have Wes Welker?
>> Forget the merry-go-round. The Storm Chasers keep giving us baseball reasons to go to Werner Park. Danny Duffy is a great personality and story and he'll be fun to watch during his time in Omaha. Don't know if they'll rush him back to K.C. this year or not. Don't know if they need to. Pitching isn't necessarily the problem with the big club.
>> One more and I'm outta here: Retired World-Herald baseball writer Bob Williams, a legend in the old Rosenblatt Stadium press box, emailed me to say that beer was sold at the CWS in the early days. Obviously, that had to be Falstaff, Schlitz or Storz, right?
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