Family ties make NU visit special for 2023 SG Parker Friedrichsen
One of the challenges of college basketball recruiting is identifying potential prospects from around the country and convincing them to travel to campus for a visit.
In rare cases, such as 2023 Bixby (Okla.) shooting guard Parker Friedrichsen and Nebraska, the recruit is the one who reaches out to the school.
A 6-foot-4 native of St. Louis who grew up in Tulsa, Okla., Friedrichsen's home away from home is Lincoln, Neb.
So after first contacting NU head coach Fred Hoiberg a couple of months ago, Friedrichsen eventually lined up an unofficial visit with the Huskers on Thursday.
"Nebraska is a school that sticks out to me because my dad is actually from here, and he's lived here his whole life," Friedrichsen said following his visit. "His whole side of the family is here. I'm actually staying at my aunt's house, and she lives eight minutes from the campus.
"So I could see myself here at the next level just because I've got a lot of family up here between Lincoln and Omaha. So it's definitely a school I'm interested in and wanted to come visit and meet the staff because I could see myself here. It's kind of a second home to me."
Friedrichsen's visit ended without a Nebraska offer, but he said Hoiberg seemed very interested in keeping their relationship going.
Hoiberg and assistant coach Nate Loenser are planning on watching Friedrichsen play on the AAU circuit in July, and Hoiberg has already brought up getting him back on campus this fall for an official visit.
"We've been talking weekly, and they're for sure interested," Friedrichsen said. "I think if I play well, I'll earn an offer in July."
Friedrichsen said he and his parents come back to Lincoln 6-8 times a year, and he's been to numerous Husker football games over the years. However, he said he'd never been to Pinnacle Bank Arena or experienced the NU basketball facilities until Thursday.
"I've been following Nebraska football and basketball for a long time. I mean, I grew up in Memorial Stadium, and I'm always in the Railyard on game days," Friedrichsen said.
"Nebraska, for one, has probably the nicest facilities I've seen so far. The practice facility was awesome, the Sports Science place was amazing, and then just the weight room and the locker room and the practice gym was all top-notch."
The sharpshooter saw his college interest heat up when coaches were allowed unlimited contact with 2023 recruits on June 15. More than 25 schools reached out to him that day, including Nebraska, Iowa State, Virginia Tech, and Utah.
In all, he's heard from more than 12 high-major programs over the past 10 days.
Friedrichsen took an unofficial visit to Iowa State on June 3rd, and he has future unofficials set to Virginia Tech on Monday, Liberty on Tuesday, and then North Carolina on Wednesday.
He holds eight D1 offers from Tulsa, Oral Roberts, Omaha, Rice, UTSA, Montana State, Detroit, and Rider.
Friedrichsen averaged 27.1 points per game last season as a sophomore at Bixby and earned honorable-mention Oklahoma Class 6A (the highest level) all-state honors. He also shot 42 percent from 3-point range and 84 percent from the free-throw line.
That's why another major draw to Nebraska is playing in Hoiberg's five-out offensive system.
"I would say my strength is shooting the ball, but I can handle it when I need to," Friedrichsen said. "That's why I could see myself here. That's what I look at (in a school), is style of play, and I fit in perfectly with Coach Hoiberg.
"I was in his office today, and he showed me exactly how I would fit in, and he broke down my game into his system, and it fits perfectly."