Lincoln – A pair of teams in this month’s FIBA World Cup will have Husker connections, as former Husker center Jorge Brian Diaz has been named to the Puerto Rico National Team. He joins Husker sophomore guard Tai Webster, who was selected for the New Zealand National Team earlier this week.
Diaz played at Nebraska from 2009 until 2012 and totaled 765 points, 342 rebounds and 110 blocked shots during his career. His 110 blocked shots ranks ninth on Nebraska’s career chart, including 41 blocked shots as a redshirt freshman in 2009-10. His best year came in 2010-11, when he averaged 10.5 points per game on 54 percent shooting and 3.3 rebounds per game to help the Huskers win 19 games and earn an NIT bid. He was limited to just 16 games in his final year at Nebraska because of foot injuries, averaging 8.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game.
Diaz currently plays professionally for Quebradillas Pirates in his native Puerto Rico, where he averaged 8.0 points on 57 percent shooting and 3.5 rebounds per game during the 2014 season which completed last month.
Prior to this year, only one Husker (Bill Johnson in 1954) had played in the FIBA World Cup, which until 2010 was known as the FIBA World Championships. It is the second straight major competition where at least two Huskers have played, as Aleks Maric (Australia) and Ade Dagunduro (Nigeria) both played in the 2012 London Olympics.
Puerto Rico, which is ranked 17th in the world by FIBA, is in Group B, a six-team pool which includes Argentina, Senegal, Greece, Philippines and Croatia. They open tournament play against Argentina on Saturday, Aug. 30.
Puerto Rico has its final pretournament game on Friday night when it takes on Team USA at Madison Square Garden. The game tips Friday night at 6 p.m. central and will be televised on ESPN2.