Lincoln – Nebraska Men’s Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg announced Wednesday that Kevin Cross (Little Rock, Ark.) has signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play basketball for the Husker program next season.
Cross, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward, played for Coach Raymond Cooper at Mills University Studies High School, earning all-state honors in Arkansas for the past two years. Cross selected Nebraska over Oklahoma State and TCU.
“We are excited to have Kevin join our program.” Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He is a skilled big who brings versatility to our frontcourt with his ability to score both inside and out. We think he is a player who will develop in our up-tempo system.”
Last year, he helped Mills to a 28-5 record and runner-up honors in Class 4A, averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds and two assists per game. For his efforts, he was named first-team all-state in Class 4A by the Arkansas Basketball Coaches Association and garnered second-team all-state (all classes) by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Cross had 24 point and nine rebounds in the state title game loss to Magnolia, and also put together a 29-point, 21-rebound effort during his senior campaign. Following the season, he earned MVP honors at the All-Metro Classic with a 32-point effort, which included six 3-pointers.
Cross was also a first-team all-state Class 5A selection by the coaches association and a second-team all-state honoree by the Democrat Gazette as a junior when he averaged 14.9 points and 6.8 caroms per contest as the team went 29-3 en route to a runner-up finish at the state tournament.
Also Wednesday, Nebraska Men’s Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg continued to bolster the Huskers’ interior presence with Wednesday’s announcement that Derrick Walker (Kansas City, Mo.) will join the program for the upcoming season.
Walker, a 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward, spent the last two seasons at the University of Tennessee, appearing in 64 contests, as the Volunteers won 56 games and made a pair of NCAA appearances during his tenure at the school. He will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2019-20 season.
“Derrick is a physical player who gives us skill and versatility in the post,” Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He has played in big games over the last two years, and his experience will be an asset for us with so many newcomers on the roster.”
Walker played in 30 games as a sophomore, as Tennessee reached the NCAA Sweet 16 and finished with a 31-6 record in 2018-19. He came off the bench and averaged 0.8 points and 1.1 rebounds per game in just over five minutes per contest. He shot 53 percent from the floor, including 6-of-7 from the field in SEC play. He had five points, two boards and a pair of assists in a win over Georgia.
As a freshman, he was an integral member of the Volunteers’ 2017-18 SEC title team, appearing in 34 of the Vols’ 35 contests and averaging 1.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 8.8 minutes per game. He was efficient on the offensive end, shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor, including 68 percent (19-of-28) in SEC section. He totaled five or more points six times, including career bests in points (10), field goals (five) and minutes (25) at South Carolina when he hit all five field goal attempts. He set personal bests in both rebounds (seven) and blocks (two) at Alabama and also grabbed seven board against Ole Miss. In all, he reached double-figures in minutes 11 times, including seven games against SEC competition.
He spent his senior and postgrad years at Sunrise (Kan.) Christian Academy, where he averaged 14 points and seven rebounds per game in 2016-17. He was a four-star prospect by ESPN.com and three-star choice by Rivals and 247Sports, which rated him as the No. 2 prospect in Missouri in 2017. Walker played for the MoKan Elite in the summer of 2016, helping the team win the Nike Peach Jam championship. On that team, he played with 2018 first-round NBA picks Trae Young and Michael Porter Jr. He spent three seasons at Raytown High School, helping the school to a conference title and earning second-team all-conference honors. Walker, who attended the same high school as former Husker legend Tyronn Lue, also played three years of football at the school.
And Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg added his third recruit of the day on Wednesday evening when Samari Curtis (Xenia, Ohio) signed to play basketball for the Huskers beginning this fall.
Curtis, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard, was Ohio Mr. Basketball in 2019, averaging 33.8 points and 5.2 assists per game for Coach Kent Anderson at Xenia High School. He shot 51 percent from the field as a senior, including 34 percent from 3-point range. His senior year was highlighted by a 52-point performance, his second career 50-point game. Curtis also finished eighth in state history with 224 free throws, as Xenia went 13-11 despite replacing four starters from the previous season.
He finished his career with a school-record 2,109 points, breaking the previous mark by nearly 500 points. He led the Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC) in scoring each of the past three seasons, averaging more than 30 points per game in each of his final two seasons at the school.
“Samari is an elite guard,” Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He gives us size and length at the guard position and his skillset blends well with the other guards currently on our roster.”
Curtis, who originally signed with Cincinnati last fall, is a four-star selection by ESPN.com, while he also ranks among the top-200 recruits nationally by 247Sports.
As a junior, he averaged 30.4 points, 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field en route to third-team All-Ohio accolades by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association. A three-time All-GWOC selection and District 9 honoree, Curtis also garnered honorable-mention honors as a sophomore when he averaged 24.1 points per game.
Curtis becomes the 11th scholarship player to sign or re-affirm his commitment since Hoiberg took over the Husker basketball program on March 30. The Huskers lose four starters from a year ago while junior forward Isaiah Roby is testing the waters of the NBA process. Curtis joins fellow freshmen Yvan Ouedraogo, Akol Arop and Kevin Cross while the rest of the class includes graduate transfers Matej Kavas and Haanif Cheatham, junior college transfers Jervay Green and Cam Mack and transfers Dalano Banton, Shamiel Stevenson and Derrick Walker.
— NU Athletics —