And we’re back as we continue our countdown of the top ten players and wins of the past decade. Up today are our top five players, following yesterday’s unveiling of ten through six. If you haven’t already, be sure to read that list here.
As a reminder, the criteria we used for the list was a mix of a player’s impact on the roster, their place in the annals of Nebrasketball history, and to a lesser degree, their success after Nebraska (in terms of being drafted and career longevity).
We’ll be back tomorrow with top five worst moments, and then next week with the top ten wins. In the meantime, don’t forget the Huskers play on Sunday!
As a reminder, our list so far includes:
10. Ryan Anderson
9. Brandon Ubel
8. Cam Mack
7. Isaac Copeland
6. Tai Webster
So, without further ado, let’s see who made the top 5.
5. Glynn Watson Jr., 2015-2019
6’-0”, 180 lbs., G, Bellwood, Illinois (Saint Joseph HS)
Just by signing with Nebraska, Glynn Watson Jr. made history as a Cornhusker because he was the first ever four-star and Rivals Top 150 signee in program history. Watson would go on to have what can only be called a highly successful career as a Cornhusker. He played in 134 games which ranks first all time for Huskers, starting in 113 (second all-time), and finished 11th in all-time scoring with 1,532 points in the Husker uniform. Watson averaged 35% shooting on his career from three point range, while averaging 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Glynn finished his career in the top ten all-tie among Huskers in steals (fourth with 177), assists (seventh with 382), 3-point shots made (fourth with 184), along with 3-point attempts, field goal attempts, and field goals made. As a sophomore, Watson was second in scoring on the team with 13 points per game, and had a career-high 34 points in a win over Iowa.
In his junior year, he helped lead Nebraska to a school record 13 conference wins, a fourth place finish in the Big Ten, and an NIT berth. Watson also had his career-high average assists with 3.2 per game, while only averaging 1.5 turnovers. Glynn would finish his career as a Husker with a 2.1 assist to turnover ratio. After graduating, Watson went undrafted in the NBA Draft and now plays professionally in Europe, currently with Lavrio in Greece.
4. James Palmer Jr., 2017-2019
6’-6”, 207 lbs., G, Washington, D.C. (St. John’s College HS)
Another transfer for the Huskers, James Palmer Jr. left Miami at the end of his sophomore season and joined the Cornhuskers for the remainder of his college career. Despite only playing two seasons in the scarlet and cream, Palmer finished 15th in scoring for Nebraska with 1,276 points in his Husker career, and 1,534 as a college player. He also now ranks second all-time in scoring average at Nebraska with his career 69 games in scarlet resulting in 18.5 points per game. His first season in Lincoln, Palmer was voted First-Team All-Big Ten by coaches and second-team by media. His final season he was third-team in coaches and media.
During his career at Nebraska, Palmer shot 31% from three, averaged 18.5 points per game, and 4.3 rebounds per game. Palmer led the team in scoring in 43 of his 69 games played at Nebraska, scoring a career high 34 points in two different games, a loss to Ohio State in 2017-2018 and a win over Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament in 2019. It would have been great to see what Palmer could have done with four years in the Husker uniform, but we can be sure regardless that his two short years left an indelible mark in the Nebraska record books as it was. Palmer went undrafted in the NBA draft, but signed on with the G League and currently plays for the Agua Calliente Clippers with former Cornhusker Evan Taylor.
3. Isaiah Roby, 2016-2019
6’-8”, 230 lbs., F, Dixon, IL (Dixon HS)
Another player who didn’t have a full career at Nebraska, Isaiah Roby played three seasons at Nebraska before leaving early to become the first Husker since 1999 to be drafted in the NBA draft. Not only that, Isaiah Roby became the NBA’s highest paid draftee in the second round, earning $1.5 million this season. That distinction alone was enough to put Roby into the top five this decade. However, let’s look at his actual career at Nebraska to see why he ranks third on our list. Roby had a solid career at Nebraska, finishing with 786 points in his career, 154 blocks, and 530 total rebounds. He leaves Nebraska ranked sixt all-time in blocked shots with 154 on his career. Isaiah also made the 2018-19 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award list for Nebraska.
In Roby’s final season, he averaged a career high 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Over his career, he outright led the team in rebounding in 25 games, and had a career high 14 rebounds in a home loss to Maryland in the 2018-19 season. He scored 28 points in a career high to help power Nebraska past Butler in the NIT last season and finished with double-digit points in 19 games his last season. While Roby will always have that “what-if” over what might have been in his senior season, we can’t deny Roby had a lasting impact and leaves a mark as the first player drafted in twenty years. Roby is signed with the Dallas Mavericks and plays for both the Mavs and their G League affiliate.
2. Shavon Shields, 2013-2016
6’-7”, 225 lbs., G/F, Olathe, Kan. (Northwest)
Shavon Shields comes in at number two on our list, but he sits tied for fifth all-time in scoring for the Huskers with 1,630 career points at Nebraska. Over his career, Shields averaged 13.5 points per game. He led the team in rebounds his sophomore and junior year, while leading in points and assists his senior season. He was also a key player on the 2013-14 NCAA tournament team. Overall, Shields sits high in the records sheets in multiple categories for Nebraska, most notably sitting at third in career starts with 112. He is one of only five players to score 1,500 points and 600 rebounds. Overall he ranks top ten in six total categories including points (tied for fifth), field goals made (eighth), and free throws made (fourth, going .759 from the line).
Shields earned second-team All-Big Ten honors per coaches and third-team All-Big Ten per media as a senior, averaging 16.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. He was a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the week, and twice a player of the week as a sophomore. He was also the first ever Nebraska basketball player to be named a First-Team Academic All-American, and was the Nebraska Male Student-Athlete of the Year in 2016. Webster currently plays in the Euroleague for Kirolbet Baskonia.
Before we get to our number one player of the decade, let’s take a moment to see who just missed out on making our list:
Honorable Mention: Andrew White, 2015-2016
6’-7”, 220 lbs., G, Richmond, VA (The Miller School of Albemarle)
Just missing out on our list is one-year transfer Andrew White. White played for Nebraska his red-shirt junior season after transferring from Kansas and sitting out a year on the bench with the Huskers. He left after one year to finish his college career at Syracuse. Despite only playing one season, White certainly left his mark on the program. He averaged 16.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game in his single season. White also shot 56% from two point range, and 48% overall. He finished his overall career with 1,291 points, and scored 563 in the Husker uniform, easily pacing himself to have joined the 1,000 point Husker club had he stayed one more season.
White ended his season with the Huskers as an Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten honoree per both the coaches and media rankings. He finished ranked sixth in the conference in scoring, fifteenth in rebounding, and fourth in three pointers per game. He scored double figures in 28 games, scored in the 30’s twice, and had a career high carrying Nebraska in a home win over Penn State including scoring 10 in a 12-2 run by the Huskers in the opening minutes of the second-half. Andrew White currently plays in the NBA G-League for the Westchester Knicks. If he hadn’t left for Syracuse, White likely would have not just ended up in our rankings, but likely would have been a top-5. However, we can only just wonder what would have happened had he stayed in the scarlet longer and leave him as our honorable mention player.
1. Terran Petteway, 2013-2015
6’-6”, 215 lbs., G, Galveston, Texas (Ball/Texas Tech)
Despite only playing two seasons for the Huskers, Terran Petteway became one of the most prolific scorers in Nebraska history after transferring from Texas Tech following his freshman season. Petteway’s 18.1 points per game average ranked second in school history, and he is one of only two players in Husker history to reach 1,000 career points in only his second season in the Nebraska uniform.
Pettaway’s sophomore season he led the Big Ten in scoring with his 18.1 points per game, while earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. His junior, and final season in college, he was among the leaders in the Big Ten in scoring (18.2), assists (2.8), and 3-pointers (2.2) per game. He won third-team All-Big Ten his final season. He also averaged 77% shooting from the free throw line in his Husker career. He left early after declaring for the NBA draft following his junior season, but went un-drafted and played in the NBA D-League his first season following college. Petteway currently plays professionally in Italy for Pistoria.
Who do you think didn’t belong in the top 5?
This poll is closed
Glynn Watson Jr.
James Palmer Jr.
Good job Sparty, you got them all right.
I will tell you in the comments what’s wrong with it.
There you have it, our top ten Nebraska Basketball players of the last decade. We hope you enjoyed our look back at some of our beloved Huskers who have worn the uniform in the 2010’s. Who was your favorite player on our list? What about your favorite player we didn’t mention? Do you think we got the list right, or who was your top ten? Tell us in the comments!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for worst moments of the 2010’s, and then again Monday for the start of our top ten wins. And of course don’t forget to tune in Sunday as the Huskers host Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Go Big Red!