Once, a coach made Mike Peltz get a haircut during basketball season.

Mistake.

“Kind of lost my mojo a little bit,” the Alliance native said. “It’s always been my thing.”

And if you’re thinking surfer dude when you see Peltz with his shaggy, dirty-blond hair, well, not quite.

“I look like I should,” he said. “I get that a lot.”

Peltz did, however, almost end up playing basketball in Florida, mostly because his family is building a house in Key West, and he and his father and brothers are big into offshore fishing.

In August, Peltz visited St. Thomas University, an NAIA school in Miami, where he’d signed to play basketball.

“But when I went there, it wasn’t for the right reasons,” Peltz said. “That was easy to tell.”

So upon his return to Nebraska, he called first-year coach Tim Miles, who earlier in the summer had asked Peltz to join Nebraska’s team as a walk-on.

By the second week of the fall semester, Peltz was enrolled in classes and a member of the team, and now he’s one of the top subs for the Huskers.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound guard has already logged 27 minutes in two games, and he’ll come off the bench again Sunday, when Nebraska (2-0) hosts Nebraska-Omaha (1-3) in the second game of the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic.

“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” Peltz said. “I’m living my dream of playing Division I basketball. I’m enjoying every step of the way.”

He’d probably be enjoying the experience more, if not for a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. He’ll have surgery at the end of the season, but for now is continuing rehabilitation while playing through some discomfort.

“Some days, it’s better than others,” Peltz said. “Just kind of have to minimize what I do. It’s one of those things where if you can play with the pain, you can go.”

Peltz played the last two seasons at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, where last year he averaged 7.5 points, 6.2 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

“He plays with physicality,” Miles said. “He loves to compete, and he has no fear. Those qualities go a long way in a guard, in any successful player.”

So does valuing the basketball, something Peltz recognizes is of utmost importance in his role. Through two games, he has four assists and one turnover.

“It’s very important, especially for this team. We just have to value each possession,” Peltz said. “We know we’re going to win games defensively, and we don’t want to give any easy points to the other team.”

Peltz said he had a similar role last season at Western Nebraska, which had all five starters go to NCAA Division I schools -- Terrance Motley to Sam Houston State; Raul Delgado to BYU; Marko Kovacevic to Utah; Du'Vaughn Maxwell to Hampton, and Peltz.

“We had a lot of scorers on our team, so it’s kind of similar roles, just distributing the ball and get the offense into whatever Coach Miles wants to do,” Peltz said.

“I’m the kind of guy, all I want to do is win, do whatever needs to be done. I think my role for this year’s team is to bring energy, provide a spark, and just take care of the ball and be a leader, on and off the floor.”

Peltz is friends with Nebraska women’s basketball star Jordan Hooper, also an Alliance native. In fact, the two went to their high school prom together as sophomores.

His father, a contractor, is retiring in Florida, and the family has enjoyed offshore fishing in the Gulf Coast, mostly along the Alabama and Florida shores, where they have a boat.

But so far, no surfing, despite the current hairstyle.

“I’ll probably take it up eventually,” Peltz said, smiling.

Briefly

UNO lost at Tulane 76-52 on Friday as part of the Cipriano Nebraska Classic. UNO is in its second season as a reclassifying Division I school and officially joined The Summit League in July. The Mavericks opened the season with two home games, and are now in the midst of a 10-game stretch away from home.

LINEUPS

Nebraska (2-0)      
Player Ht. Cl. PPG
G Benny Parker 5-9 Fr. 7.5
G Ray Gallegos 6-2 Jr. 15.0
G Dylan Talley 6-5 Sr. 9.0
F Brandon Ubel 6-10 Sr. 19.0
C Andre Almeida 6-11 Sr. 3.0
Nebraska-Omaha (1-3)
     
Player Ht. Cl. PPG
G C.J. Carter 6-0 So. 7.8
G Justin Simmons 6-3 Jr. 8.5
F Alex Welhouse 6-7 Sr. 8.5
F Koang Doluony 6-8 Sr. 4.0
C John Karhoff 6-8 Jr. 12.3

THE TIP: Point guards Benny Parker, Trevor Menke and Mike Peltz combined to commit only one turnover in 50 minutes against Valparaiso ... Brandon Ubel's scoring average is higher than his single-game career high (17 points) entering the season.

Reach Brian Rosenthal at 402-473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBR.