By Randy York, The N-Sider
On Friday, while driving through Iowa with wife Becky, Brian Carr had an epiphany. The Muncie, Ind., native finally realized how special Nebraska’s ‘86-87 basketball team was and why it’s important to celebrate its 30th anniversary tonight at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“How many Division 1 major college basketball tournament teams finish their season with a win?” Carr asked. I said two – the NCAA champion and the NIT champion.
Carr laughed, expecting the immediate response.
My incorrect answer, however, solidifies why it’s fitting the ‘87 Huskers are introduced three decades after they finished the season with a win over Arkansas Little Rock in the NIT consolation final at New York’s fabled Madison Square Garden.
Huskers Will Wear Throwback Jerseys Tonight for the Illinois Game
As part of Nebraska Basketball’s fifth-annual Legends Weekend, the Huskers will wear throwback jerseys to honor the ‘86-87 squad that reached the NIT semifinals under first-year head coach Danny Nee and won three consecutive NIT games against Marquette, Arkansas and Washington in front of sellout crowds at the Devaney Center.
The Huskers went 21-12 in Carr’s senior season, which included a win over No. 16 Kansas. Nebraska’s 21 wins three decades ago were just one short of the school record and included four wins in the National Invitation Tournament.
Even though Carr was the team’s most decorated leader, earning second-team All-Big Eight honors with a 12.2-point average and 5.0 assists per game, the Muncie, Ind., native has been too busy with life and teaching to appreciate the legacy of the ’86-87 team.
Carr Says Bill Jackman Could Be Governor of Nebraska If He Decided to Run
“I can’t believe our team hasn’t been together for 30 years,” Carr said, “and we wouldn’t be together for this weekend’s reunion if Bill Jackman (pictured above) didn’t get involved. He is a phenomenal salesman. He was the mayor of Grant (Neb.) and I think he could be the governor of Nebraska if he ever decided to run.”
Jackman transferred to Nebraska from Duke and started on the ’87 team. He laughs when he hears Carr’s hypothetical statement about being governor and admits he stepped in to help because he could only make Friday night’s reunion get-together and Saturday night’s banquet before heading back to Dallas, so he could see two daughters perform Sunday in a musical.
“I was able to get back to Lincoln to see all my teammates,” Jackson said. “They certainly deserve to be honored Sunday, but I can’t miss such an important performance at home.”
Rest assured, Jackman did enough to get a throwback jersey that the ’86-87 players will wear Sunday as part of the Legends Weekend.
Henry T. Buchanan, Derrick Vick, Bernard Day Among '87 Reunion Returnees
Those who will join Carr to celebrate their 30-year milestone are strength coach Randy Gobel, head trainer Jack Nickolite, assistant coaches Gary Bargen and Lynn Mitchem and players Beau Reid, Henry T. Buchanan, Jeff Rekeweg. Derrick Vick, Bernard Day, Michael Martz, Jay Moreno, Keith Neubert and Joel Sealer.
Carr will be the Husker legend who will speak after the ’86-87 players are introduced. He is the only player in Husker history to score more than 1,000 points and collect more than 600 assists. He was also a two-time first-team academic Big Eight honoree and a 2001 inductee into the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame.
Nearly 75 players returned to campus for the weekend events. Nearly 60 players, dating back to the 1940s, are expected to be on hand tonight and be recognized at halftime.
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