It will be a few years until we know if the four-player recruiting class that the Nebraska women’s basketball team signed last week plays up to its potential as a top-25 ranked class.
How many end up as starters? Does the group help the Huskers finish in the top half of the Big Ten Conference, and reach the NCAA Tournament?
What we know for now is that it’s a class that most college coaches coming off a 7-22 season, like the Huskers had last season, would be happy to get.
Nebraska signed forwards Ashtyn Veerbeek and Kayla Mershon, and guards Leigha Brown and Sam Haiby.
Nebraska’s class was ranked No. 20 nationally by the ESPN rankings at the start of the early signing period. The class rankings won’t be final until July.
“We feel like it’s just the perfect fit for us,” said Nebraska coach Amy Williams of the class. “I don’t buy into all the rankings too much, or get too bogged down with that, because we feel like they believe in us and they see our vision and we believe in them and it’s just a great fit with both sides.”
Williams said the top priority for the class was to find players who fit the program’s culture.
“Great kids who understand how to work, and who are excited about coming in to help us build for a championship-level program,” Williams said. “Kids that understand how to win, and players that kind of have a little chip on their shoulders and want to play gritty and tough. That was our No. 1 priority.”
Veerbeek is the highest-ranked player in the class. She’s ranked as the No. 55 player in the class by Blue Star, and No. 68 by ESPN.
It was an earlier connection with Veerbeek that helped the Huskers get her. She is a 6-foot-2 forward from Sioux Center, Iowa, and Williams saw Veerbeek play one of her first high school games while Williams was the head coach at South Dakota.
Williams offered Veerbeek a scholarship to South Dakota. After Williams and her staff moved to Nebraska, Veerbeek came to a basketball camp at Nebraska, and Williams offered her a scholarship again.
A lot more colleges knew about Veerbeek after she had a great summer of club basketball, but she’d already committed to Nebraska.
Haiby is an interesting recruit because she also plays for the baseball team at her high school in Moorhead, Minnesota. She was a starting shortstop and pitcher.
Williams arranged for Haiby to meet with Nebraska baseball coach and two-time major league All-Star Darin Erstad when she visited Lincoln.
“I think she was as impressed with the baseball stadium, and their indoor hitting facility, as she was with Pinnacle Bank Arena,” Williams said.
Brown, a 6-foot-1 guard from Auburn, Indiana, has already started her senior season, and scored 53 points in a win on Nov. 3.