Lincoln --- One of the top players in Nebraska men’s basketball history, Eric Piatkowski will receive another honor Saturday when he is in town for the Nebraska-Texas Tech men’s basketball game, as his No. 52 jersey will be retired by the basketball program. The Rapid City, S.D., native was already set to be on hand this weekend as the Nebraska Athletic Department holds a 15-year reunion of the 1990-91 team, which won a school-record 26 games and he will also be inducted into the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame.
A 12-year veteran of the NBA and currently a member of the Chicago Bulls, Piatkowski will become just the third player in NU men’s basketball history to have his jersey retired.
"I talked with Steve Pederson a couple weeks ago and wasn’t sure why he was calling, but he told me that they were going to retire my jersey. As time has gone by and it has sunk in, I think this is probably as big of an honor an ex-athlete can get from his university," Piatkowski said. "I take an awful lot of pride in receiving this honor. When you’re young, it’s not so much about this (earning honors), but now that I’m about at the end of my basketball career, this is something that I will cherish forever. I will be able to come back with my kids for events there or NU athletics and can look up and see my name and number up there in the rafters and that’s one of the most special things you can have."
Piatkowski will gain membership into an elite group that currently includes only Dave Hoppen and Stu Lantz.
Hoppen’s No. 42 jersey was retired at the end of his senior season in 1986 as he finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer. Hoppen, who was inducted in the NU Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996, is the only player in school history to score more than 2,000 career points (2,167). Lantz, who lettered for the Huskers from 1966 to 1968 before spending eight years in the NBA, still ranks 13th in school history with 1,269 points and was an inaugural member of the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame. His number 22 jersey was retired during the 1989 season.
Piatkowski’s jersey will join the public display of retired jerseys in the Devaney Center this weekend. Retired jersey numbers are taken out of circulation and can not be used by current members of the team.
One of only two players in Nebraska history to play on four straight NCAA Tournament teams, Piatkowski led the Huskers to an 85-39 record including three 20-win seasons. He was the first player in Nebraska history to record at least 1,900 points, grab 600 rebounds (669) and dish out 300 assists (322) and with 202 career treys, is one of only two Huskers to record at least 200 3-pointers in a career.
Piatkowski was a two-time first-team All-Big Eight selection and was the MVP of the 1994 Big Eight Tournament while leading the Huskers to their first conference tournament title. He set the NU single-game scoring record with 42 points in the first round of the tournament against Oklahoma.
Piatkowski was the second Husker in program history to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, going to the Indiana Pacers with the No. 15 selection in 1994. He was traded to the LA Clippers on draft day, where he became the team’s all-time leader in 3-pointers (738) and 3-point percentage (40.2) and ranked second in the team record book with 616 games played before joining the Houston Rockets in 2003. He was traded to Chicago in the summer of 2004, and now has played more than 740 career games in the NBA while averaging 7.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per contest.