Nebraska will be the third and final stop for Haanif Cheatham.
The graduate transfer announced on April 20 that he’ll close out his college career in Lincoln. And because he only has one season left to play, finding the perfect fit was pivotal.
He got everything he wanted at Nebraska.
“It wasn’t something I was going up there knowing I was going to commit,” Cheatham said Monday during an appearance on “The Bottom Line.” “But as soon as I went up there, I saw the opportunity that was available. And as a grad year student, that’s what you want, somewhere that’s available where you can have a major impact right away, and I felt Nebraska was the place.”
Cheatham began his career at Marquette and spent last season at Florida Gulf Coast, averaging 13.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists. His season was limited to only 10 games, though, because of a shoulder injury.
He says he’s 100 percent healthy now, and looks forward to arriving in July.
“I’m gonna enjoy my time in Lincoln and we’re going to win big-time games,” Cheatham said.
Watch the full video of Cheatham’s interview at Omaha.com/bigred, or check out a transcript of select excerpts below:
On why he picked Nebraska:
“The coaches. For your last year you want to be somewhere the coaches have confidence in you, somewhere you feel comfortable, somewhere you feel they have trust in you on the court and off the court as well. Don’t get me wrong, the facilities are a big thing as well, but just having a good relationship with your coaches and making sure they have your back through the whole season. I felt really comfortable there, and I feel I made the best choice for myself.”
On how he plans to be a leader:
“Just understanding that the season’s going to be long, the season’s going to be tough. We’re going to have ups and downs, just as every season has ups and downs, and just understanding that we’ve got to stick together no matter what. We’re going to be in big-time games, and we’re going to have some adversity, so we’re going to have one another’s back and stay calm and composed throughout the experience, and enjoying it and having fun while we win.”
On his season at FGCU:
“I became a very confident player. I got my confidence back, got my swagger back. I felt like I haven’t lost that since, and I’m ready to bring that confidence and swagger to Nebraska basketball and have great memories in Pinnacle Bank.”
On his defense:
“Everybody’s a scorer. Everybody can put the basketball in the hole. But you’ve always got to separate yourself, and I felt like defense is a big pride for myself, and it gives me more confidence locking down the other team’s best offensive player and then going to score the ball again. You get a combination of both with me, and that’s something I take very good pride in.”
On his name, pronounced HA-neef:
“It’s a Muslim name. People always ask me if I’m Muslim, but I’m Puerto Rican and black, so it’s a misconception a little bit. But it’s a very unique name. It means ‘true believer.’ I love my name. I feel like it’s unique. You don’t hear it a lot. It fits myself very well.”
On his message for Nebraska fans:
“Nebraska fans, it’s going to be a great season. It’s going to be a great time. It’s going to be a very fun atmosphere in Pinnacle Bank, and I just can’t wait to get up to you guys and show what I can do on the court and off the court as well.”
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