Akol Arop happy to ink with Huskers: 'The coaching staff, facility and players are unbelievable'

Akol Arop, a 6-foot-5, 189-pound senior, is the top-rated in-state player in the 2019 class.

On Wednesday, Akol Arop became the first Metro Conference basketball player to sign a letter of intent out of high school with Nebraska since Omaha Burke’s Jason Dourisseau and Roy Enright in 2002-03.

“It’s overwhelming. ... I’m so happy,” Arop said after a ceremony at Omaha Creighton Prep.

The 6-foot-5, 189-pound senior is the top-rated in-state player in the 2019 class. Wednesday was the first day basketball players could sign during the NCAA’s early signing period.

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“They saw me as a top priority,” Arop said in October after committing to the Huskers. “I felt like it was a great fit for me and a place where I can continue growing my faith and academic career. The coaching staff, facility and players are unbelievable. ... I’m glad I chose Nebraska because they chose me.”

With a 36-inch vertical leap, Arop is known for his athleticism but continues to work on other aspects of his game.

“I still want to work on my shooting, coming off ball screens and attacking and working on my ball handling,” he said.

Since committing, Arop said he thinks that expectations have been ratcheted up a notch.

“If I’m going to go to Nebraska and to a Big Ten team, I have to be able to show everyone what I can do,” he said. “A 3 and stretch-4 is what (position) I feel I am best at. Obviously, I’m going to have to get bigger and stronger in the weight room. I’m going to have to work a lot to be more physical.”

Arop’s signing comes a little more than four years after Nebraska received a commitment from his older brother. Aguek Arop, who committed to the Huskers before his sophomore season, parted ways with NU during his senior year at Omaha South. He is now a freshman at San Diego State after attending an Atlanta prep school.

“There wasn’t really a lot of hesitation,” Akol said of his decision. “His situation was different than mine. I wanted to stay close to home and being a part of the Husker family is a dream come true.”

Arop is the second in-state signee in as many years — the Huskers signed Platteview post Brady Heiman in 2018. Lincoln North Star guard Donovan Williams committed to Nebraska’s 2020 class in October and NU has offered two in-state recruits in the 2021 class — Bellevue West point guard Chucky Hepburn and Millard North guard Hunter Sallis.

“It’s wonderful,” Arop said of the Huskers’ focus on in-state players. “Getting the in-state kids to commit is good for the fans and everyone watching at home.”

Arop and his Creighton Prep teammates began official practice Monday. Class A’s defending state champions lost a strong group of seniors, but the goal hasn’t changed for Arop.

“Our goal is to go back to the state championship,” he said. “We have a great group of guys and hopefully we can win the championship again this year.”

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