While the exploits of players such as Terran Petteway, Walter Pitchford and Shavon Shields was enough to get Nebraska to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998, one thing the Huskers lacked in 2013-14 was interior depth. Shields, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, was Nebraska’s leading rebounder and outside of Pitchford just one true big (Leslee Smith) averaged double-digit minutes in 2013-14.
That may change in 2014-15, with center Jacob Hammond arriving in Lincoln and the addition of Georgetown graduate transfer Moses Ayegba. As first reported by Adam Zagoria, the 6-foot-9 forward/center has decided to use his final season of eligibility at Nebraska. Ayegba, who missed the entire 2011-12 season due to a torn ACL, wasn’t a highly productive player during his time at Georgetown (1.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg for his career) but he gives head coach Tim Miles another physical body in the paint.
And according to Robin Washut of HuskerOnline.com, one of the factors that helped Ayegba in the decision-making process was the presence of assistant coach Kenya Hunter. Hunter was an assistant on John Thompson III’s staff in three of Ayegba’s four seasons at Georgetown, and that familiarity was important.
“It played a lot, because knowing that you have somebody there just makes you feel more comfortable with everything,” Ayegba said of Hunter being at Nebraska. “Him being there played a big part.”
How much Ayegba, who was a Top 100 prospect coming out of high school, is able to contribute from a statistical standpoint remains to be seen especially when considering his production to this point. But it never hurts to have another front court body when it comes to competing in the Big Ten.
With Petteway, Pitchford and Shields all returning, Nebraska will be expected to at the very least return to the NCAA tournament. How far can they go? What Nebraska gets from its interior will be a key factor in the answer to that question.