John Matzke started 20 out of 30 games his senior season as a forward for the Huskers. He held a .489 shooting percentage from the field and a .805 percentage from the free-throw line. Matzke had one of the team’s highest rebound numbers with 105 on the season and a 3.5 average per game.
Matzke started all 14 games in Big Eight action, where he held a shooting percentage of .509. His two best games came against Big Eight opponents, as he scored 12 points against Colorado on Feb. 26 and 12 points against Kansas State on March 1. He wrapped up his senior season with an academic All-Big Eight Selection with a 3.74 grade-point average in math education. Matzke also earned an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship.
Hard work and persistence paid off once again as Matzke came on at the end of the season to start Nebraska’s last eight Big Eight games at the big forward before giving way to Bill Jackman in postseason play. A starter for 21 games as a sophomore before losing the starting job to Ronnie Smith, the Lincoln High graduate played only sparingly in the Huskers’ first 18 games of the year. He came off the bench against Kansas on Feb. 2 to score a career-high 17 points and immediately found himself back in the starting lineup.
Matzke continued to contribute even after Jackman bounced back late in the season. Matzke was not a scoring threat for NU, but was a smart, sure-handed player who was guilty of only four turnovers while playing 223 minutes in the final 12 games of the season. For the year, he had only 12 turnovers in 28 games. Matzke was also one of the squad’s top defensive players – ask Iowa State’s Barry Stevens (the Big Eight’s No. 2 all-time scorer with 2,190 points), whom Matzke harried into 6-of-17 shooting and a low for Stevens, who scored just 12 points in the Cyclones’ 74-57 loss in Lincoln.
A two-time academic All-Big Eight choice, Matzke joined teammate Dave Hoppen to give Nebraska two of the five spots on the 1984-85 academic team, which Matzke led with a 3.739 grade-point average in mathematics.
An academic All-Big Eight pick and a CoSIDA second-team academic All-American selection for his 3.78 grade-point average in math education, Matzke played in 28 games and started 21. Coming off a redshirt year, he shot a fine 56.7 percent of well-selected shots from the field while averaging 3.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
Matzke had several key performances, the most prominent coming in the Huskers’ 67-54 win over highly-ranked Arkansas, when he recorded then-career-highs with 10 points and five rebounds. The local product gave way as a starter late in the season to 6-9 junior college transfer Ronnie Smith.
Matzke redshirted during the season.
Played in nine games (four in the Big Eight), averaging 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per appearance while shooting 31.6 from the field (6-of-19) and 50 percent from the free-throw line (3-of-6). Had season highs of five points vs. Creighton and seven rebounds (sharing the team lead) vs. Sacramento State.
At Lincoln High School
Playing for Coach Alden Johnson, Matzke averaged 21.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game in 1980-81 and was named to the all-state, all-class teams of both the LJS and the OWH. He also earned all-city honors. As a junior, he scored 14.0 pounds per game and grabbed four rebounds per contest. Matzke also lettered twice in baseball and once in cross country.
John was the son of Stan and Dorothy Matzke and had one brother and one sister. His father was a star guard for the Huskers from 1951-55.
Matzke's Career Stats
|1981-82||9-0||6-19||.316||3-6||.500||19||1.7||8-0||15||1.7||5 - Creighton|
|1983-84||28-21||38-67||.567||10-17||.588||52||1.9||72-2||86||3.1||10 - Arkansas|
|1984-85||28-8||31-68||.456||6-14||.429||50||1.8||47-3||68||2.4||17 - Kansas|
|1985-86||30-20||56-114||.491||18-24||.750||105||3.5||84-3||130||4.3||12 - Kansas State; Colorado|
||.489||37-61||.606||224||2.4||211-8||299||3.1||17 - Kansas|