In this week's edition of Postin' Up, we sit down with senior guard Nick Krenk. Formerly a team manager for the Huskers, Krenk has become a valuable asset for Nebraska in helping provide solid play and leadership in practice while running the scout team. A native of Nebraska City, Krenk also knows a thing or two about fireworks, as trips down to Missouri used to be a regular occurrence for him growing up. He also clears the air regarding the actual standings of his pre-practice 3-point contests with junior forward Chris Balham.
HI: Well, you just played your last home game ever at Nebraska, and now you have just one last regular season game coming up on Saturday. Has the reality that your collegiate career is actually coming to a close set in yet?
NK: "It's definitely hit me the past few days, especially with the final game coming up. It's just been a lot of remembering a lot of the old moments. A lot of good things and a lot of bad things, but I'm definitely going to miss it once I'm done. Obviously I've enjoyed my time here. It's been a great experience. I guess just a lot of great memories have been going through my head the past couple of days."
HI: You haven't necessarily seen the most playing time on the team over the course of your career. What keeps you motivated to come out here every day and bust your butt in practice all the time without much reward in games?
NK: "What really keeps me motivated is just, growing up with my dad, it was always you just go out and play as hard as you can any time you get the chance. Although I don't play a lot in games, I see a lot of practice time. I really just enjoy going against some of the best competition in the country. Not everybody gets to go against Division I talent every day and gets to prove themselves against that type of talent. I think that's what really motivates me, just the opportunity to go play against some of the best players in the country and seeing how you stack up against them."
HI: When do get in though, it's usually when you guys are up by 20 points or so with the game winding down. How do you resist the temptation not to just run up and jack up a 3-pointer at the buzzer? That's probably what I would do.
NK: "It's tough sometimes, and in all honesty I don't think Coach would really care. It's just not really my personality to go try to show off or try to show somebody up at the end of the game. But it's kind of tough not to sometimes, but sometimes we start stalling a little more than Coach wants, and he's like, 'You guys need to try to score.' Even though we're up maybe 20 or 30 points, he still tells us we want to attack and still want to score. But yeah, it's really not my personality to go try to jack up a 3 at the buzzer. I've seen highlights of guys hitting half-court shots at the buzzer when they're up 30, and that's cool and all, but that's just not me."
HI: Being a Nebraska City guy, you grew up right by the Missouri border. I've heard Nebraska City could be considered a hub of sorts for smuggling the really cool fireworks over the border. How often did you guys make the trip down there on fireworks runs?
NK: "I remember when I was younger we would always go down to Missouri, and they did check you at the border, ad I had a lot of friends coming down the interstate that would get checked and get their fireworks taken away. I remember, actually a really funny story, my friend and I went down one time and we got a bunch of fireworks and we decided to take the back roads. It's usually only a 10- or 15-minute drive, and it took us over an hour to get home because we got lost in the back roads of Missouri. Finally we found our way up through the Iowa side up by Hamburg, but it was a unique experience."
HI: Seeing how you're pretty experienced with fireworks, what's the coolest thing you've ever blown up?
NK: "Shoot, I don't know. My buddies and I, we bought probably three dozen little tanks, and I was probably a sophomore in high school we thought we were really cool, so we set up this huge tank battle and lit them all off at once and they went into each other. Then I think we made just a huge bonfire and threw a bunch of Black Cats in there, and the remnants were of about a 30- to 40-tank battle. That's probably the biggest thing I've blown up."
HI: This next question comes courtesy of your teammate, Ben Nelson. He wants to know why you can't ever beat Chris Balham in your pre-practice 3-point contests?
NK: "First of all, I don't know what he's watching, because I beat Chris Balham all the time. Chris likes to talk a lot of smack, but I definitely put him down the vast majority of the time. He had a little run to start the season - I was off on my shooting - and he won two or three games in a row, and now he think s he always wins, even though I think I've won the last 20 against him."
HI: How did you end up starting a 3-point contest with a 6-foot-8 power forward anyway?
NK: "The 3-point contest started two years ago. I think we were down in Kansas, and a bunch of the guys started playing. It started off two-on-two to 20, and then people started calling other people out. You know how competition gets. Balham and I are good buddies, we sit next to each other in the locker room, and he's one of my best friends on the team. But everybody knows Balham doesn't exactly have the best shooting touch. He's actually gotten a lot better as far as that competition goes, though I don't know if I'd trust him taking one during a game. He always calls me out, and he thinks he wins but he rarely, rarely wins."
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