About Lee Barfknecht

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald. You can email Lee at lee.barfknecht@owh.com

Posts by Lee Barfknecht

Husker hoops aide joins North Dakota State

Jayden Olson, Nebraska’s director of basketball operations the past two seasons, has been hired as a full-time assistant coach at North Dakota State.

“Being a North Dakota native,” Olson said, “having a chance to work in your home state is something you dream of, and I look forward to doing my part in helping build on recent successes.”

At Nebraska, Olson was in charge of budget, travel, clinics, camps and daily operations.

Olson played basketball at Williston (N.D.) College and Dickinson (N.D.) State. He also was a graduate assistant at the University of North Dakota.

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles was the head coach at North Dakota State before he left for Colorado State.…

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Petteway to return to Huskers

Terran Petteway, Nebraska’s first-team All-Big Ten guard, will return to NU for his junior season, coach Tim Miles said.

Nebraska requested and received an evaluation of Petteway’s pro prospects from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. Miles declined to reveal the contents until he got permission from the 6-foot-6 sophomore.

Petteway, the Big Ten scoring champion at 18.1 points a game, had appeared as a second-round choice in some recent NBA mock drafts. He will be one of four returning starters for Nebraska (19-13, 11-7), which broke a 16-year NCAA tourney drought in March.…

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Spring game means NU hoops recruiting, too

Basketball recruiting is in full swing at Nebraska this weekend with three visitors, two for the 2014 class and one for 2015.

Those in line for next season are point guard Tarin Smith of St. Anthony’s (N.J.) High and fifth-year senior transfer Moses Ayegba from Georgetown.

Smith orally committed to Nebraska the day after Selection Sunday. The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder was a two-year starter for legendary high school coach Bob Hurley Sr.

Ayegba will graduate from Georgetown this spring. The 6-9, 247-pound native of Nigeria averaged 1.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.7 blocks a game in 13.1 minutes. He fouled out of six games. Ayegba, who played under NU assistant Kenya Hunter at Georgetown, would be immediately eligible.

Also visiting unofficially this weekend is 6-7, 210-pound …

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Western Illinois coach Jim Molinari resigns to come to Nebraska

Jim Molinari, head men’s basketball coach at Western Illinois, officially resigned Thursday night, which would appear to pave the way for him to accept a position as an assistant coach at Nebraska.

Husker head coach Tim Miles is searching for a replacement for Craig Smith, who took the head coaching job at South Dakota.

Neither a phone call by The World-Herald to Molinari nor a text to Miles were immediately returned Thursday night, but the Peoria Journal Star reported that Molinari would be joining the Nebraska staff.

“I think that I wasn’t looking for an opportunity, but I really think the Lord opened this door,” Molinari told the Journal Star. “I know Tim Miles and I don’t pick places, I pick people. I’m buying into him …

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Huskers hunting another point guard

Nebraska, Kansas, Virginia, Creighton and Providence are schools whose basketball recruiting has been impacted by a decision at Appalachian State.

The school finally released point guard Devonte Graham from a letter of intent signed in November 2012. That puts the 6-foot-1, 177-pounder from Raleigh, N.C., back in play.

“Wow, officially released!!!!” Graham tweeted Wednesday. “Thanking God right now!”

Graham asked out of his Appalachian State commitment after a strong senior season in high school led high-major programs to seek him out. When App State wouldn’t budge, alleging that North Carolina State had tampered with him, Graham attended Brewster Academy for the 2013-14 academic year.

Brewster won the National Prep School title game, with Graham scoring 22 points.

Nebraska assistant Kenya Hunter has connections at Brewster in New Hampshire. Husker head coach …

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Huskers may look at Jim Molinari

Jim Molinari, head basketball coach at Western Illinois the past six seasons, appears to have emerged as a candidate to join Tim Miles’ staff at Nebraska as an assistant.

Three people Saturday night cited the 33-year Division I coaching veteran — 20 as a head coach — as someone to watch as Miles looks to replace Craig Smith, who took the head coaching job at South Dakota.

Miles, in a text Saturday, said: “I don’t comment on hiring until there’s something concrete.”

Miles and Molinari, 59, are longtime coaching friends. Molinari brought Western Illinois to Lincoln on Nov. 12, a game Nebraska won 62-47. Before and after that game, Miles spoke glowingly of Molinari’s coaching skills and defensive work.…

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Omaha’s Higgins to Final Four

Men’s basketball official John Higgins of Omaha has been selected to work the Final Four this weekend in Arlington, Texas.

For Higgins, it is his fifth Final Four assignment. Ten officials nationwide were chosen. Specific game assignments won’t be revealed until Saturday’s semifinals and Monday’s title game.…

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Meet the Nebraska Cornhuskers

Ray Gallegos: With his shooting cooled since early January, he has kept playing with improved defense. Did hit key 3s against Indiana and Wisconsin.

Nathan Hawkins: Has seen action in 15 games. Plays most when Huskers switch to a zone defense. Has made strides offensively in practice.

Trevor Menke: A key practice contributor known for getting the scout team organized. Hit a 3-pointer in late action against Purdue.

Walter Pitchford: Has blossomed during Big Ten play, averaging 11.8 points and 5.1 rebounds over the past 13 contests.

Benny Parker: Though not starting, he has become the go-to guy at point guard. Strong on-ball defense has been a big spark in NU’s defensive transformation.

Mike Peltz: Hasn’t seen as much playing time this season because of …

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NU’s Tim Miles expects to get bonus

Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles said Tuesday he expects to collect a $50,000 bonus for being voted Big Ten coach of the year.

His contract states the bonus is for being named “consensus” coach of the year. Miles (coaches) and Michigan’s John Beilein (media) split the Big Ten awards Monday.

Miles said his agent interprets the language to mean the Big Ten’s official coaches vote.

Marc Boehm, NU’s executive associate athletic director, told The World-Herald Tuesday night “we’ll sit down at the end of the year and discuss” it.…

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Petteway 1st-team All-Big Ten; Miles named Coach of the Year

Nebraska guard Terran Petteway has been voted to the All-Big Ten first team by coaches and media. And Nebraska coach Tim Miles was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year by the coaches.

The sophomore from Galveston, Texas, is just the fourth Husker in the past 20 seasons to earn first-team honors. The others were Aleks Maric in 2008, Venson Hamilton in 1999 and Tyronn Lue in 1998.

Petteway averaged 3.3 points a game as a freshman at Texas Tech. He transferred to NU, sat out a season, and became the Big Ten scoring leader at 18.0 in all games and 18.6 in league games.