After informing South Dakota State coaches of his decision to transfer to the school, David Wingett and his coach struck up a conversation about the upcoming basketball schedule.

The coach mentioned some of the tough games on the Jackrabbits' slate and he mentioned a trip to Nebraska.

It certainly caught Wingett's attention.

"That came to mind and I thought, 'That's going to be special right there,'" he said.

Friday's game at Pinnacle Bank Arena will serve as homecoming for the SDSU freshman wing player.

Wingett starred at Winnebago High School, about two hours from Lincoln.

More so, Pinnacle Bank Arena has a special place in Wingett's heart. The arena served as the backdrop to Winnebago's memorable Class C-1 state championship title run in 2015. It was the school's first state title since 1940.

Wingett scored 15 first-half points in that game, and his last move on the PBA court was cutting and securing a piece of net.

Now Wingett is back as a college player. He's expecting 40-50 family members at the game Friday.

"It's going to be a pretty big moment," he said. "I'm going to have a lot of friends and family there to support me and I do have some memories there.

"It's going to be a good one for sure and I can't wait."

Wingett is playing in his first season with the Jackrabbits. He transferred to Brookings, South Dakota, after one season in Penny Hardaway's program at Memphis. His first collegiate season included his first major injury. He fractured his left leg in a practice and missed two months.

"I never had an injury like that," Wingett said. "That was hard. It was pretty tough for me."

Wingett nearly didn't get an opportunity to play on the PBA floor Friday. Due to transfer rules, he was looking at the possibility of sitting out the entire 2019-20 season. However, just days before the start of the season, the NCAA granted Wingett a waiver.

The Jackrabbits are glad to have him in the fold.

Wingett has come off the bench in all four games and is averaging 8.3 points per game. He made a game-winning layup with 4.4 seconds remaining to lift the Jackrabbits (3-1) to a 93-91 win at Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday.

"I'm starting to get comfortable and feeling like myself out there offensively," the 6-foot-7 freshman said. "It's still a learning experience. I'm just trying to do the best I can so far and I think I'm getting the hang of it."

After Wingett graduated from Winnebago in 2017, he attended Bull City Prep Academy in Durham, North Carolina, for one year. Calling the experience "huge for me," Wingett played against great competition and received more exposure.

He caught the attention of Hardaway and Memphis, but after it didn't work out, Wingett found himself in contact with a program that showed interest in him while in high school. First-year SDSU head coach Eric Henderson was an assistant at the time and had developed a relationship with Wingett.

Transferring to SDSU also allowed Wingett to play closer to home, which "really meant a lot to me."

Close to home, Wingett has found his fit. The coaches have told him to be himself, Wingett said, a role the sharpshooter is very comfortable with.

"Oh, man, I'm very happy here," he said. "I love the guys on the team, the coaches. It's really good and I love it."

Wingett is one of two Nebraska natives contributing for SDSU. Freshman Baylor Scheierman, who was a standout at Aurora, is averaging 23.5 minutes, 8.8 points and 6.3 boards per game coming off the bench.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.


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