XENIA — Veteran Xenia High School coach Kent Anderson believes the University of Nebraska men’s basketball program will make for a nice fit for Samari Curtis.
Curtis announced on Wednesday night May 15 that he would be playing college basketball for the Cornhuskers. The Xenia Buccaneers all-time scoring leader and Ohio’s Mr. Basketball for 2019 had previously decommitted from playing at the University of Cincinnati, when then-coach Mick Cronin signed on to coach at UCLA this past April.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior had initially signed on to play for Xavier University while still a junior at XHS, but opted out of his commitment when Chris Mack left the Musketeers program to take over the head coaching job at Louisville.
Nebraska finished with a 19-17 record and lost in the second round of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) to TCU this past season. The Huskers are coached by former Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, who signed on with Nebraska in March. He signed a seven-year $25 million deal on March 31.
Hoiberg enjoyed a 10-year playing career in the NBA, playing for the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also coached at his alma mater, Iowa State University, for five seasons.
Anderson believes Hoiberg’s style of coaching will fit Curtis’s abilities and talents.
“He’s a great guard coach, and I think that’s what ultimately brought Samari to Nebraska,” Anderson said. “Hoiberg’s experience in the NBA and with Iowa State, and now taking over at Nebraska. He’s a great shooter, a great coach of shooters and guard play, and I just think Samari thought that was the best fit for his game.
“It’s a chance for him to grow, and so we’re excited for him. I hope he does well out there.”
Hoiberg, who was at the NBA draft combine on Thursday watching Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby workout for scouts, told the huskers.com website he felt Curtis would be an excellent fit onto his team.
“Samari is an elite guard. He gives us size and length at the guard position and his skills set blends well with the other guards currently on our roster,” he said.
Anderson said he hoped to be able to attend some of Curtis’s games when the Huskers were playing area Big Ten foes.
“There’s several schools — be it Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State or Indiana, heck Champaign, Illinois is only about 4 hours away — so it’s close enough that we can go out and see him play. As long as it coincides with a night when we’re not playing, it would be nice to make that trip and hopefully see him.”
“He said ‘Coach, it is kinda isolated, and I feel that I’d be able to concentrate on my studies and my basketball.’ I think he was pretty at peace with his decision, today, at school,” Anderson said.
While the complete Huskers 2019-‘20 schedule has yet to be announced, at least three of Curtis’s college games will be played on a tropical island. The school announced on May 7 that the Cornhuskers will compete in the Cayman Islands Classic, Nov. 25-27 in Georgetown, on the Grand Cayman Islands.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.