If there’s one member of the 2017-18 edition of Nebrasketball that earns the “veteran” tag, it’s graduate transfer Duby Okeke.
Okeke came to Nebraska after four years in the Winthrop program that included a trip to last year’s NCAA tournament and a matchup with Butler. Not only was he part of that program, he became the all-time leader in blocked shots in just three seasons on the active roster.
I’m not sure I could tell you any Husker that blocked four or more shots in a game since I’ve been covering Nebraska, but Duby’s done it. In fact, there were three times during his career at Winthrop he posted back-to-back games of four or more blocks.
So when he speaks, I tend to think he knows what he’s talking about.
Which is why this quote should stick out, even to the most apathetic of Nebrasketball followers:
“This team has a lot to grow on. This is probably the most talented team I’ve ever played with, not going to lie to you. Different guys with different stuff, and different backgrounds, but I just see us doing so much more. We have no ceiling. I know a lot of teams say that, but if you look at our roster and actually see what we do, day in and day out, it’s probably one of the most talented teams I’ve ever been a part of.
The thing with us, the thing I can chime in on being the old head again, is being consistent. The great teams, they don’t get high with the high, they don’t get low with the low, they just stick to the course… That’s one thing we’ve got to do, is stay consistent and stay disciplined.”
– Duby Okeke
NU Senior Center
And while Husker fans are no stranger to hype without follow through from a few recent editions, there is something new worth noting in the quote: Versatility and talent. It was on display in the form of 6’6” James Palmer, who alternated between windmill dunks and taking place in the 3-point contest, and the battle between Okeke and sophomore Jordy Tshimanga.
As Okeke and Tshimanga battled in drills, small scrimmages and eventually the 5-on-5 full scrimmage, the duo looked like a legitimate pair of posts ready to bump around in the Big Ten. There was even a moment where the two were at the heart of a scrum that brought the entire team on the court as they battled for the ball.
It was just one scrimmage, but maybe Duby is onto something.
– Compiled by Pat Radigan