Ray Gallegos (pronounced GUY-eh-goes) has put himself in position to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Huskers' new offensive system under Tim Miles this season.
A two-year letterwinner who played in 25 games in 2010-12, Gallegos redshirted last season to work on his strength and to improve his offensive skills after averaging just 2.8 points per game on 32 percent shooting. The work seems to have paid dividends, as he is significantly stronger and has become a more consistent scoring threat during summer practices and in fall workouts. Gallegos possesses the athleticism to see time at either guard spot, and his continued improvement on the offensive end could put him in position to make significant contributions this year.
Gallegos redshirted the 2011-12 season to add strength and refine his offensive game.
Gallegos was a valuable member of the Huskers' rotation, appearing in 25 games as Nebraska advanced to the NIT. He averaged 2.8 points and 1.0 rebounds per game while serving as a backup shooting guard. Gallegos earned extensive playing time early in the season, playing at least 12 minutes in 10 of the Huskers' 14 non-conference games. Gallegos helped key the Huskers' 11-game win streak by averaging 5.0 points per game on 40 percent shooting. He enjoyed his best stretch at the close of non-conference play, averaging 10.6 points per game in a three-game stretch, highlighted by a career-high 15-point effort against Grambling. In that effort, he hit a career-best 7-of-10 shots from the floor and added two steals in 22 minutes. That came off the heels of a nine-point effort against Eastern Washington when he played a career-high 27 minutes. He added eight points in a win against North Dakota.
Gallegos struggled with his shooting in Big 12 play, hitting just 5-of-27 shots from the floor in 11 contests. His best offensive effort in Big 12 action came at Kansas State on Feb. 2, when he had five points in 10 minutes off the bench, but his biggest contribution came in the conference opener against Iowa State when he guarded Diante Garrett on the final possession and combined with Lance Jeter on a steal that led to Jeter's game-winnng free throw with 0.7 seconds left.
Gallegos was one of the quickest players on the court as a freshman when he played in 30 contests. He averaged 3.0 points and 1.4 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game while posting a solid 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio from his shooting guard spot.
Gallegos scored in double figures twice on the year, posting a season-best 13 points against Texas-Pan American and 10 points against Creighton in back-to-back contests. He hit 4-of-7 shots from the field, including a season-high three 3-pointers against UTPA, and nailed 4-of-5 field-goal attempts while adding three rebounds against Creighton.
After missing the first two regular-season games with injury, Gallegos' solid work in games and practice helped him earn three starts. He drew starting assignments against Jackson State, Tulsa and BYU, helping NU to a 2-1 mark in those contests. Gallegos was one of a school-record five freshmen to start for NU during the season. He helped set the school single-game mark with three freshmen in the starting lineup against BYU.
During league play, two of his best games came on the road at Missouri and nationally ranked Kansas State. He scored eight points in each contest, including combining for four 3-pointers. Gallegos' performance against KSU was his second consecutive solid game after posting five points on 2-of-4 shooting in 20 minutes at nationally ranked Texas.
Gallegos came to Nebraska after leading his West Jordan High School squad to the Utah 5A (largest class) state championship in 2009. For his efforts, he was also named MVP of the 5A first-team all-state squad.
In the state title game, he played a primary role as the Jaguars forced the reigning state player of the year, Tyler Haws, into one of his worst shooting nights of his career. Gallegos also had four treys - including consecutive 3s in a 64-second span - to help his team earn the gold and earn all-tournament team honors.
On the season, Gallegos averaged 16.7 points per game to rank sixth in the state in scoring, as the Jaguars went 21-4. He had nine games with at least 20 points, including a season-best 31 points and added 22 points in the state championship game. Gallegos was second in the state in 3-point field-goals per game, hitting a school-record 66 3-pointers in 2008-09. He had a season-best six 3-pointers against Kearns, and five treys in four other games.
Gallegos really came on during the 2008 summer AAU circuit when he was playing for the Utah Pump-N-Run White. Gallegos averaged about 25 points per game, according to Coach Brad Blanchfield. Gallegos was rated the No. 53 shooting guard in the country by Scout.com and was tabbed the No. 7 shooting guard on the West Coast following the summer.
He also helped West Jordan High School to the state tournament as a junior, averaging 10.5 points per game over 21 contests. His scoring ability helped him top 20 points in three contests as a junior.
Ray, whose given name is Rayes, is the son of Maxine Gallegos and Anthony Nelson and was born on Nov. 15, 1990. Gallegos has one brother, Jonah, and three sisters, Jessica, Sherrie and Amber. Gallegos' legal guardian is basketball coach Brad Blanchfield. Gallegos, who is a sociology major, was the first Husker basketball signee from the state of Utah since Jaron Boone (Salt Lake City, Skyline High School), who went on to become one of the top 10 all-time scorers at Nebraska.