Carmen Jaspers was a basketball star at Ackley-Geneva High, about an hour’s drive from Ames, Iowa.
She went on to a productive career at Iowa State, landing on the Cyclones’ career blocked shots chart. She ended up as a professional player in Japan.
Somewhere along the way, she also learned to be a Fred Hoiberg fan.
After her playing career, she settled in Wichita, Kansas, where she married a former small-college athlete named Bart Dick.
In 2003, they had a son named Gradey, who is now a 6-foot-5 burgeoning basketball star.
Could Gradey’s and Hoiberg’s paths cross? It’s possible. Nebraska offered Gradey a scholarship on Saturday, his second Division I scholarship offer.
“My mom played at Iowa State, and we were big fans of Coach Hoiberg when he was there,” Gradey Dick said. “We had been following Iowa State with Coach Hoiberg coaching there, and for him to go to Nebraska and for me to get offered by them would be a great situation to possibly play for him, and learning from him would be big for my game.”
Dick is entering his sophomore year at Wichita’s Collegiate High and is one of the most highly sought-after prospects in the Midwest.
Wichita State was the first to offer on June 16, followed by Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Creighton. Tennessee, Purdue and Colorado are a few others that haven’t offered but have shown interest.
“I was extremely happy when I found out that Creighton and Kansas offered me,” Dick said. “It would be fun to possibly play at Creighton in the future and listen and learn from Coach (Greg) McDermott and the coaching staff.”
Kansas was a special offer for Dick. He grew up watching, and rooting for, the Jayhawks.
“They were my favorite team to watch,” Dick said. “It was a very surreal moment getting to talk to Coach (Bill) Self and the coaching staff, because they were the ones I admired and looked forward to possibly playing for in the future.”
Before the offers, Dick was a 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2 shooting guard. He didn’t lack confidence, but he wasn’t attempting 360-degree dunks in games, like he did at the Midwest Basketball Showcase last weekend.
“I’ve kind of gone through some growth spurts and have sprung up to 6-5 in a short period,” he said. “In the past I was more of a shooter or guard. A year and a half ago, I just started dunking in games, and it’s really helped my confidence.”
Dick has had a busy spring and summer. He competed at the U16 U.S. National Team training camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in May.
“There were 30 kids, and it got cut to 18, and I made the 18,” he said. “I didn’t make the final 12, but it was very eye-opening. Those are the top 30 kids in the country, and to play against them and learn from that staff was a lot different than high school and summer league.”
Defense is something he said he needs to improve, along with getting quicker.
“My defensive footwork needs to be better, and it’s the most important part of my game right now,” he said. “My versatility is the strongest part of my game. Now I can finish above the rim, and I can pump fake after I have hit a couple of shots and just finish.”
Because of NCAA rules, Dick hasn’t visited any schools just yet. Could Nebraska and Creighton get a visit in the fall when the rules allow?
Photos: Division I basketball and football recruits in Nebraska for the 2020 class
These are the basketball and football players from Nebraska in the 2020 class who have at least one Division I scholarship offer. Did we miss anyone? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org