If third time really is the charm, Nebraska should feel really good about Haanif Cheatham’s upcoming season.
Cheatham originally started his collegiate career with Marquette, choosing the Golden Eagles as a four star out of high school. He stayed there for three seasons, where he started 63 of the 70 games that he played in. He averaged just over 10 points, three rebounds and two assists while there.
Perhaps just as important, was his defense his first two seasons, which were not cut short as his third season was. While the one steal per game is not eye-popping, he was named Marquette’s defensive MVP as a freshman and sophomore.
He then made the move from Milwaukee to Dunk City (that’s the name of the city right?) to join FGCU and become another kind of Eagle. He was able to play immediately due to a hardship waiver to be closer to family. Unfortunately for Haanif, he only played ten games in his time in the Sunshine State.
He made those games count, however, averaging a team-high 13 points, five rebounds and two assists. But, his season was cut short with a shoulder injury.
Coming into his final opportunity to play college basketball, Haanif decided to pursue options as a grad transfer. He had interest in Arizona, Arkansas, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati along with the Huskers.
Ultimately, Fred Hoiberg was able to get his man and Haanif committed to the Huskers in April.
And according to the man himself, he is already 100% recovered and ready to go.
While Haanif may not be an explosive, scoring machine, he is an efficient one. Cheatham shot 36.4% from three last season, and is 36.7% in his career. Both numbers are higher than anyone with Nebrasketball last season.
As mentioned, his defense on the wing that will prove to be very important for his swan song in Lincoln. He can be Hoiberg’s leader on the defensive end, especially since he won’t have to carry as heavy a load on offense with Dachon Burke and Jervay Green.
As a senior and the most experienced college player, though, his leadership is the key for Nebrasketball. The season may not start off smooth with so many new faces figuring out how to play at this level and with each other. Haanif’s steady leadership and guidance will help the young Huskers keep their eyes ahead.