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‘We’re kind of putting Nebraska on the map’: Nebraska Supreme AAU hoops team 16th-ranked nationally
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PREP BOYS HOOPS

‘We’re kind of putting Nebraska on the map’: Nebraska Supreme AAU hoops team 16th-ranked nationally

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The Nebraska Supreme 17U team poses for a group photo.

The Nebraska Supreme 17U boys basketball team is one of the newest AAU teams in the entire country, and it’s also one of the best.

After compiling a 10-2 record at major travel tournaments in Atlanta and Dallas over the past two weeks, Nebraska Supreme is drawing national attention. The Season Ticket’s most recent ranking of the top 25 teams on the AAU Circuit included Nebraska Supreme at No. 16, the program’s first-ever national ranking in roughly five months of existence.

“It’s a compliment to a lot of people in Nebraska like high school coaches and trainers,” said Nebraska Supreme director Ryan Reeder. “There are so many people you can thank because it just says a lot about Nebraska basketball in the sense we have all Nebraska kids on our team and can still be ranked 16th overall in the nation.”

The Nebraska Supreme AAU team only came about as a joint venture between Lincoln Supreme and Team Factory from Omaha. Both organizations are part of the Under Amour Association, and by joining forces they were able to place a team on the UAA’s top circuit.

The major draw for the Nebraska Supreme 17U team is Grand Island senior Isaac Traudt, who is ranked as the No. 54 recruit nationally by 247Sports. Coaches such as Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing have watched Nebraska Supreme play, and Millard North senior Jasen Green has also seen his stock grow as a top-250 player nationally.

Representing Lincoln on the team are Sam Hastreiter (Lincoln Pius X), Kwat Abdelkarim (Lincoln North Star) and Ben Hunzeker (Lincoln Southwest).

While Hastreiter hasn’t quite been the team’s go-to scorer, it’s been a summer of growth in terms of rebounding and simply being a team player. And as long as the team keeps picking up wins, that’s good enough for him.

“Everyone just tries to help in ways that they can and just play their own game,” Hastreiter said. “I think that us understanding as a team is what’s giving us success; a lot of the games are really balanced, no one’s trying to get up 20 shots a game, so it’s just good team basketball.”

That style of basketball is what Reeder wants Nebraska Supreme to represent across all age divisions. With NCAA coaches in the midst of a live recruiting period, Reeder has been fielding many calls from coaches who have seen the 17U team play. What he hears most often is that Supreme is playing the game the right way.

“Pretty much every coach that calls me always compliments our team on how well we share the ball, that we do things the right way, that our bench is always involved or that we’re cleaning up trash after games,” Reeder said. “The compliments about how our program displays itself, no matter what happens next week, is rewarding enough.”

It’s already been a successful summer for the Supreme 17U team that currently holds a 26-6 record, but it could make an even bigger splash than just a national ranking. Nebraska Supreme will take part in the 32-team UAA Finals in Indianapolis this weekend, and it enters the tournament as the No. 4 overall seed thanks to its performance in past weeks.

By the end of the week, Nebraska Supreme could be UAA national champions, a prospect that excites Hastreiter. He’s watched the likes of Hunter Sallis and Chucky Hepburn elevate the status of Nebraska high school basketball onto the national level, and now he’s part of the team that can keep it going, and perhaps take Nebraska prep basketball to heights never seen before.

“I feel like we're kind of putting Nebraska on the map a little bit,” Hastreiter said. “Especially with Hunter Sallis and those guys that kind of did it before us, I feel like we're kind of carrying it on and just putting Nebraska out there more. It's just been a really good experience going against some of the best competition in the country, and to be doing as well as we have been doing is just really awesome.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7437 or at LMullin@journalstar.com. On Twitter @lmullin7

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