Male scout squad invaluable to NU women’s team

Darnell Dickson Jan 23, 2014 Updated Jan 25, 2014 – for Lincoln Journal Star

My cmnt: This is dated 2014 – seems like ages ago. The headline reads ‘male’ not any one of the 56 (now) known genders. The gist of this article is that decent, ex-high school boys basketball players give full-scholarship, women Division 1 basketball players all the competition they can handle. In addition the boys must hold back (no blocking shots or roughing up the girls, no hard fouls) and absolutely do nothing that could hurt the girls. All-American Jordan Hooper said, “It makes us better, because they are quicker, more athletic and faster than girls.” In today’s cancel culture you could never use the word ‘girls’ nor speak clearly and say ‘male’. Today these ‘males’ could identify as women and basically take every spot on the UNL women’s basketball team. They could certainly do the same while still in high school and would have easily won the State girl’s Class A basketball championship. Yet this nonsense is heralded as good news by our democrat Leftist leaders.

Nebraska senior Jordan Hooper is surrounded by a trio of defenders from “The Squad,” including Nate Schlautman (left), during a scrimmage at Pinnacle Bank Arean before the season. Nebraska Media Relations
Some members of “The Squad”: Jacob Birch (clockwise from left), Tom Schneider, Nate Schlautman, Ryan Wacker, Brad Schlange and Sam Greiss. Darnell Dickson/Lincoln Journal Star
Nebraska guard Tear’a Laudermill (right) plays defense against sophomore Nate Schlautman during a scrimmage. Megan Farmer/Lincoln Journal Star

Nate Schlautman is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska. He knows some things about the Huskers women’s basketball team.

For instance, he knows junior guard Tear’a Laudermill has the sharpest elbows. He knows not to let junior forward Emily Cady’s ready smile distract him from the fact she’s the team’s most physical player. He knows that once during practice, Husker coach Connie Yori became so exasperated with her team’s effort that she dropped down and started doing pushups.

How does he know these things?

Schlautman is a member of “The Squad.”

Like many NCAA women’s basketball programs, Nebraska often practices against a team of young men who are NU students. The Huskers’ scout team has become even more important this season since the women’s roster is down to 10 players because of attrition.

“I don’t know where we’d be without them,” Yori said of the practice players. “Their job is to simulate our opponent, it’s pretty simple. We have a really good group of guys. They were all with us last year. At first we were coaching them more than our own players, but now we’ve had them for a while, it’s like they’re sophomores. They know what they’re doing.”

College women’s teams practicing against guys isn’t a new trend, but has become more common in the past 10 to 12 years, Yori said. A quick poll of the women’s programs in the Big Ten shows all 12 use some part of practice time to scrimmage against a male scout team.

Graduate assistant manager Dominique Kelley helps coordinate the Nebraska scout team, including daily communication of practice times. Assistant coaches are in charge of the scouting report and work with scout-team players to get them ready to provide opponents’ looks during practice.

Schlautman played varsity basketball at Lincoln Pius X but missed much of his senior season because of hip surgery. He graduated in the spring of 2012 and thought about running cross country at a small college, but earned a Regents Scholarship and decided to attend Nebraska.

“During my freshman year, my cousin saw a flier in the Union,” Schlautman said. “The tryout was just some ball-handling drills and pickup basketball like you’d play at the rec center. They were looking to see if you could handle the ball, if you were coachable and if you had basketball intelligence. You have to be able to model your game after someone else.”

Schlautman said he’d never played against females before, so there was an adjustment period. Raised a good Nebraska boy, he was taught to open doors for women, not screen them out for a rebound.

“I was really biased against women’s basketball,” Schlautman said. “But once I started playing against them, it was really eye-opening. The athleticism at the D-I level is so much better than you see in high school. They have great fundamentals and with shooting, they’re mostly automatic.

“You’ve got to get used to being able to know what you can do with them. There’s a lot of contact in basketball. You have to be able to get physical with the girls and not hurt them.”

The scout-team players aren’t allowed to block shots, but other than that, nobody holds anything back.

“I tell them early on, ‘Don’t kill anybody,’” Yori said. “Don’t try to block shots. If we’ve got a breakaway layup, don’t go and foul them. We don’t need that. Once they aren’t doing anything crazy or anything that could potentially hurt us, then I tell them to be aggressive in what we’re trying to do.”

All-American Jordan Hooper said she used to practice against boys in fourth or fifth grade but scrimmaging in college against guys was a new experience.

“It’s more kids to play against, so it’s more fun,” she said. “You get to beat up on the guys. I mean, you don’t like to hurt them. I think playing with them helps a lot because of their understanding of the game and just how good they can play with each other. It makes us better, because they are quicker, more athletic and faster than girls.”

The rest of the scout team consists of Nate Alexander, Jacob Birch, Weston Foxhoven, Sam Greiss, Brandon Guthrie, Nick Mimmack, Bradley Schlange, Tom Schneider and brothers Clayton and Ryan Wacker. Most are from Nebraska — Greiss is from Sutton and the Wacker boys played at Logan View in Hooper. Two of the players are from out of state — Schlange is from St. Joseph, Mo., and Mimmack played at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, S.D. Foxhoven is the big man at 6-foot-7. He was first-team all-state in football and honorable mention in basketball at Crofton in 2009.

All players must be UNL students and must meet NCAA compliance standards for student-athletes.

When tryouts are held, the benefits promoted to players are “being a member of a team, helping the Huskers, getting a great workout and a chance to learn from the Nebraska coaching staff.”

The scout team can also receive gear for practice and often comes to games at Pinnacle Bank Arena to cheer on the women. They can get a shoutout on the Huskers’ Twitter feed as “Scout Team Player of the Month.”

Other than that, their only reward is a chance to keep playing basketball.

“It’s good exercise and you can stay in shape,” Schlautman said. “What’s most important are the friendships, not just with the players but with the coaches. The friendships will last for the rest of our lives. The practice guys have become my best friends. I’m from Lincoln, so I knew a bunch of kids at school, but the scout team, we hang out all the time.”

Yori and her staff will give the scout-team players a scouting report on an upcoming opponent and expect them to simulate the players. Schlautman is a shooting guard, so one week he might be Maggie Lucas of Penn State, the next, Courtney Moses of Purdue.

“We tell them what we need,” Yori said. “They’re good listeners and they’re coachable. I always tell them, ‘You’re not making the NBA from this deal, so you don’t need to showboat or prove anything. Just do what we ask and you’re going to help us.’ They’re very selfless and they do the right thing.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s