The best uncommitted in-state basketball player in the 2022 class has made a decision. Saturday, Ashland-Greenwood senior Cale Jacobsen announced via Twitter he will walk-on at Nebraska.
“I think going to Nebraska and paying under their staff and the guys they have with the opportunity and resources and knowing I’m willing to work I know I can make an impact,” the 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard said. “I trust myself to know that I will work hard and I am betting on myself to use what they have to make me better.”
Playing close to home and his relationship with NU assistant coach Nate Loenser were key factors in his decision.
“Ever since they first reached out to me (Loenser) has been consistent in telling me they want me to walk-on,” he said. “He’s been the guy to even answer questions for me, my family and coaches throughout the process.”
Jacobsen’s senior season was extremely successful.
He averaged 13.9 points per game and helped his team to a 27-1 record. The play that will go down as one of the best in school history wasn’t his game-winning shot in the state championship. With the game tied at 33, the Bluejay star had the ball in his hands but instinctively found Evan Shepard for the game winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The decision to walk-on at Nebraska will quickly draw comparisons to former NU walk-on and Lincoln Pius X standout Charlie Easley. Easley, now on scholarship at South Dakota State, used Nebraska to improve his game and earn a coveted Division I scholarship.
“Obviously seeing Charlie do that is encouraging,” Jacobsen said. “I know that is an option. I’m excited to get to Nebraska and see what will happen.”
The point guard position is somewhat fluid in Lincoln, particularly this offseason. Jacobsen sees the lack of depth as an opportunity.
“Their point guard situation is a little interesting and there is only one of two point guards that are active right now and this summer,” he said. “I can go right away and take reps and see where I stand.”
One of the newest NU players, North Dakota State transfer Sam Griesel, and Jacobsen have become good friends. That relationship also played a key role in his decision.
“It is comforting knowing him (Griesel) and that he is going to be there and it is cool that I will learn from him and play with him,” Jacobsen said of their relationship. “It is important to be around good people and he is one of them.”
By deciding to walk-on instead of accepting one of two Division I scholarship offers (North Dakota, Holy Cross) Jacobsen is betting on himself. Something he has gotten used to in the past year. Dec. 5, 2020 is a day that will likely be etched in his memory for the rest of his life. That’s when he suffered a season-and summer-ending ACL tear. It was the first weekend of his junior season in high school.
Along with North Dakota and Holy Cross, Jacobsen chose to walk on at NU over Division II offers from Wayne State and Nebraska-Kearney. He also took a visit to Division II power Northwest Missouri State in early April. An official visit to Indiana State happened on March 19.
The offseason additions in Lincoln signal somewhat of a culture shift at NU, something Jacobsen is excited to be a part of.
“The culture was one area of concern,” he said. “The reputation right now is they don’t win and have questionable culture. I think that is changing. They are putting an emphasis on bringing in good guys even if the role isn’t on the court right away. If I can be a guy that helps build culture that would be pretty cool.”
NU adds Elkhorn South’s Burt
Wednesday, NU added to the roster when Elkhorn South senior Henry Burt announced his decision to walk-on to play basketball for NU.
The 6-foot-6 post player averaged a team-high 12.6 points and 6.1 rebounds a game this past season for the 16-9 Storm.