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July 25, 2014

Arop continues improvement after NU offer

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - It has been about two weeks since Nebraska became the first school to offer 2017 small forward Aguek Arop, and his excitement over the opportunity has only risen in that time.

The Huskers offered Arop after the second July evaluation period, and the Omaha South sophomore-to-be still distinctly remembers how he felt when the offer came.

"I just couldn't believe it at the moment," Arop said. "I really like the school. I like everything about it."

Arop is playing with the Omaha Elite 15U team in the KC Hardwood Classic in Overland Park, Kan., this weekend. The squad easily steamrolled its first opponent Thursday evening.

Schools from all over the country were present at the event, and Arop said he definitely feels more eyes on him since Nebraska offered.

"It really boosts my confidence a lot," Arop said. "Since I got offered, I can tell more people are watching me."

Arop made it to a few Nebraska games this year, most notably the Huskers' 68-62 upset over then-No. 17 Ohio State on Jan. 20. NU guard Terran Petteway praised the Pinnacle Bank Arena crowd for its effort after the game, and Arop said he certainly took note of the atmosphere as well.

"I went to the Ohio State game when they won," Arop said. "That was pretty intense. I liked it."

Arop, who averaged 6.7 points and 4.9 rebounds as a freshman for Omaha South last year, said he plans to take an unofficial visit to Nebraska at the end of August. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound prospect said Creighton is the only other school seriously talking with him at the moment.

While he hasn't spoken with Arop since he earned his Nebraska offer, Bruce Chubick Jr., an assistant coach at Omaha South and a former NU hoops star, said Arop came away very impressed with the Huskers' facilities whenever he went to games. Chubick Jr. sees his player becoming a talented wing who could play power forward in some smaller lineups.

"If he continues to grow - if he ends up a 6-foot-7 kid that can play the 2, 3, or 4 - that gives him a great opportunity to play at a school like a Nebraska," Chubick Jr. said. "I think he can definitely play at the Big Ten level, especially if he's a swing guy that can play some guard, some small forward and maybe even some power forward depending on what your lineup is. That gives him a lot of different opportunities to fit in different styles and schemes."

Chubick Jr. said the biggest thing Arop needs to work on at this point is his strength. He said Arop seemed surprised when faced with the physicality of some opponents last year, but if the prospect works hard in the weight room, he should be able to overcome those issues.

"He's kind of like when I was in high school - he came in skinny and lanky, and he's going to grow into his body," Chubick Jr. said. "I think when we played some bigger, more physical teams last year, they beat him around a little bit. If he can get to the point where he can hold his own, that's when you're seeing that next gear."

Ultimately, Chubick Jr. said he could see Arop becoming a player in the mold of current Husker forward Shavon Shields - a talented wing player capable on taking opponents off the dribble while guarding multiple positions.

"I don't have a crystal ball, but judging by the length of his limbs, the size of his feet and the size of his hands, I think he's going to be 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8," Chubick Jr. said. "Aguek is going to be more of a guy that's a slasher who's going to get you rebounds. He's a slasher that can shoot a little bit that can get rebounds for you and make plays for his teammates."

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