Shortly after taking the basketball court at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for Big Ten Media Days earlier this month, Nebraska junior Trey McGowens told those in attendance that the Nebraska men’s basketball team was different in 2021-22.
“It features floor spacers, shooters and weapons,” McGowens told the Omaha World Herald and other media representatives in attendance of Nebrasketball’s latest roster.
Even though he did not mention his own name, McGowens is one of the weapons he was referring to. The 6-foot-4 guard, who came to Nebraska after transferring from Pittsburgh, had his best collegiate season shooting the basketball from beyond the arc after knocking down 29 of 79 (36.7%) 3-Point attempts in 2020-21.
McGowens is Nebraska’s returning leading scorer, having ripped the cords for 288 points a year ago, an average of 10.7 points per contest. Hoiberg’s star player also averaged 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals per outing during his rookie season at Nebraska.
Defense, however, is where McGowens may hang his hat. The Pendleton, South Carolina native usually draws the oppositions top perimeter threat. Possessing a 6-foot-9 wingspan, McGowens is built to defend.
A 4-Star guard coming out of high school, McGowens played two seasons for Jeff Capel at Pittsburgh before transferring to Nebraska following the 2019-20 season. As a Panther, McGowens averaged 11.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 steals after starting 64 of the 66 games he played in for the ACC school.
For his collegiate career, McGowens has started 91 of 93 games going into this season. Not only can he score and shut down opposing players, McGowens is reliable. He is a perfect fit for Coach Hoiberg as he builds his roster and continues his work of carrying the Cornhuskers out of the B1G basement.
With several new transfers and recruits coming in this winter, including his younger 5-Star brother Bryce – Nebraska’s highest ranked recruit in forever – McGowens displayed his off-court leadership, as well, when he called a team meeting in June to discuss team goals and bond a little.
McGowens set freshman records at Pittsburgh by scoring 33 points and sinking 18 free throws against Louisville and stealing seven enemy balls against West Virginia. He earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors twice. McGowens also made the ACC Honor Roll as a freshman and sophomore and was Academic All-ACC following his second season at Pittsburgh.
When McGowens takes the court with Bryce this winter, the brother duo will be competing on the same basketball team together for the first time since they were youngsters. When Bryce was a freshman at Wren (South Carolina) High School, McGowens transferred to Hargrave (Virginia) Military Academy to complete his prep career.
McGowens helped the Tigers to a 38-4 record and a No. 4 national ranking after he averaged 18.4 points, 6.3 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 steals per contest during his final high school season. McGowens concluded his high school career by leading Hargrave to the National Prep Championship Game where the Tigers lost to Spire Institute 88-83.
For his college career, McGowens has scored in double figures 54 times, reached 20 points eight times and hit the 30-point mark twice. He produced career-highs with 33 points in an 89-86 win over Louisville and seven steals in a 69-59 loss to West Virginia as a freshman at Pittsburgh.
As a Panther sophomore, McGowens blocked a career-high two shots in a 79-53 win over Binghamton and dished out nine assists in a 73-64 win over Georgia Tech, another career-high. A year ago at Nebraska, McGowens pulled down nine rebounds in a 75-64 loss to Georgia Tech, his best performance on the boards since he’s been in college.
As a first-year player at Nebraska, McGowens scored in double figures 17 times in 27 contests, including scoring a season-high 20 points in an 84-77 loss at home to Michigan State. McGowens led the Huskers in scoring four times a year ago and has scored 1,052 points heading into his fourth season in the college ranks.
As Hoiberg guides Nebraska into another men’s basketball season against a rigorous schedule in the rugged Big Ten, look for McGowens to be a steady force for the Cornhuskers. His role may also be wide-ranging this winter like it has been throughout his collegiate career.