Graduate transfer Kristian Hudson has been added to the 2018-19 Nebraska women’s basketball roster. Hudson spent the past three seasons as the starting point guard at Florida International University in Miami. The 5-5 guard from Birmingham, Ala., averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists as a junior for the Panthers in 2017-18.
She was at her best during the final seven games of her junior season when she averaged 18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals in 37 minutes per game.
“We are excited to add Kristian to our Husker family,” Williams said. “Her experience coupled with her enthusiasm to help us raise the bar for our program make her the perfect fit.”
In three seasons as a starter, she totaled 1,076 points, 372 rebounds, 383 assists and 107 steals, while playing more than 1,000 minutes each year. In 89 career games with 87 starts, Hudson averaged a whopping 36.2 minutes per game, while averaging 12.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Hudson will be one of five newcomers to join the Nebraska roster for 2018-19, including freshmen Leigha Brown, Sam Haiby, Kayla Mershon and Ashtyn Veerbeek. The four Husker freshmen made up one of the top-20 incoming classes in the nation according to ESPN.
Nebraska enters the 2018-19 season with 11 active players on its roster, including its top five returning scorers from a year ago - senior Maddie Simon, juniors Hannah Whitish and Nicea Eliely, and sophomores Kate Cain (Middletown, N.Y.) and Taylor Kissinger (Minden, Neb.).
Williams also announced on Friday that senior Darrien Washington and juniors Rachel Blackburn and Bria Stallworth will not be on Nebraska’s active roster in 2018-19, although all three will be enrolled and on scholarship at the University while they complete their undergraduate degrees.
The departure of Stallworth, in addition to graduating three senior guards (Wood, Cincore, and Morton) leaves the Huskers with a serious lack of depth at guard. Hudson and incoming freshman Sam Haiby are the only true guards on the roster behind expected starters Whitish, Eliely, and Kissinger. Junior Grace Mitchell is listed as a combo guard/forward player but has thus far seen all of her playing time at forward, partly because that was where Nebraska has needed depth the past two seasons. Stallworth came to Nebraska as a transfer from the University of Massachusetts. She sat out a season (due to transfer rules) and played for the Huskers in 2017-18. She was hampered by a foot injury, but I don’t know if that has anything to do with her departure.
Washington and Blackburn both played significant minutes as reserve post players behind starters Kate Cain and Maddie Simon. Both have dealt with chronic injuries, Blackburn with balky knees and Washington with a shoulder, that are the likely cause of their departures. The void will need to be filled by junior Grace Mitchell and the three incoming freshman forwards, Veerbeek, Mershon, and Brown. Veerbeek was ranked nationally as the 9th best forward and 69th best overall player in the 2018 recruiting class. Expect her to see the floor early and often.
Last season’s surprise 21-win campaign came after a miserable 2016-17 season in which Nebraska only won seven games. The Huskers are coming off a third place finish in the Big Ten and an NCAA Tourney invite. Even with the significant losses to graduation, attrition and a short roster, Nebraska has a chance to make some noise in the Big Ten. The two teams ahead of the Huskers in last year’s standings, Ohio State and Maryland were both hit hard by graduation. Maryland seems to reload with a top 10 recruiting class every year, but currently has only seven players listed on their active roster. Ohio State lost All-American Kelsey Mitchell as well as one or two of their other top four scorers. The Buckeyes recruit well too, but I don’t think they will reload as quickly as Maryland.
Welcome to Nebraska Kristian!