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November 11, 2010Following last year's loss to Texas A&M in the Big 12 Conference Tournament, Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler said one of his top offseason priorities in recruiting would be go after a skilled wing player.
On Thursday, the Huskers brought in two of them.
Sadler said the staff achieved its goal of addressing the need of bringing in more talent and athleticism on the perimeter with this latest class.
"The guys we lose in our program after this season are perimeter players, and I think this group may be one of the most athletic classes we have had since I've been at Nebraska," Sadler said in a statement. "The thing I like about all three players is they have a great feel for the game and that is something that comes instinctively. As I told the guys in the recruiting process, it's a great opportunity to come into our program. Nebraska basketball is in a situation where a lot of good things are happening, and we have a lot of good pieces already in place to be successful."
With Rivers and Moore, the Huskers feel they are bringing in two players who fit perfectly in their scheme and style of play.
Rivers comes in as a three-star recruit by Rivals and is widely regarded as one of the top 150 prospects in the country. Last year as a junior at Hall High School in Little Rock, Ark., the 6-foot-7, 200-pound Rivers averaged 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks per game while leading Hall to a 28-3 record and a Class 6A state title.
He was also a key member on the 2010 17-and-under AAU national champion Arkansas Wings squad, and Sadler said he could very well be the most athletic player in this year's class.
Rivers, who picked NU over Clemson, UTEP, Tulane and Witchita State, said he chose Nebraska because of the coaching staff and the efforts the university has put into the program with the new practice facility and arena on the way.
"It felt like home," Rivers said in a statement. "I had built a good relationship with the coaches, and I liked the style of play, as well as the plans for the new practice facility and arena."
Moore is another athletic wing that should fit right into place on Nebraska's roster next season. At 6-5, 200, Moore also comes in as a three-star recruit by Rivals who plays on a very successful prep team at Norcross High in Georgia.
As a junior, Moore averaged 9.3 ppg and 5.3 rpg while leading Blue Devils to the Georgia Class 5A state title game. Coming into this season, Norcross is rated eighth in the country in the MaxPreps preseason top-25.
Sadler said Moore's combination of size and offensive ability would help him make an immediate impact for the Huskers. That bodes well for Moore, who says he plans to play right away as a true freshman.
"(Nebraska) was the best fit," Moore, who chose NU over Auburn, St. John's, and South Florida among others, said in a statement. "Coach Sadler was very laid back and the academic support the players have is very impressive. I think it will be a good opportunity to play my freshman year and against very good competition every night."
The 6-1, 175-pound Hilliard is another three-star by Rivals and averaged 13.7 point, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game for a Raytown South (Mo.) High team that finished 21-7 last year.
He also helped guide his Kansas City Pump 'N Run team to four titles on the AAU circuit over the summer. Hilliard chose NU over Creighton, Tulane and Wichita State and also drew interest from Kansas State, Missouri and Baylor.
"I had a good relationship with the coaches, and when I took my visit, it felt like home," Hilliard said in a statement. "It was a good fit for me because it was close to home and a place where I felt I could come in and play as a freshman."
Along with their athleticism, one important element all three of Nebraska's latest signees share is they all come championship caliber programs. That certainly isn't just a coincidence, either.
"You always want players who are used to winning and expect to win every time they step on the court," Sadler said. "All three players are on teams that could win state championships this season and have an understanding of what it takes to be successful."