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A 'common understanding' of Nebraska basketball leads Xavier transfer CJ Wilcher to Lincoln
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HUSKER MEN’S HOOPS

A 'common understanding' of Nebraska basketball leads Xavier transfer CJ Wilcher to Lincoln

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Steven M. Sipple, Parker Gabriel and Chris Basnett talk through what to expect and look for when Nebraska begins spring football next week. Also, updates on fans being allowed back at Husker sporting events and a hoops walk-on commitment from a guy with the last name Hoiberg. 

CJ Wilcher already knew what Nebraska was about, and what the Huskers could offer him as a basketball program.

So when it came time to make a decision on the next step of his basketball journey, Wilcher didn't have to think very hard.

The Nebraska men's basketball team picked up what is expected to be an immediate-impact addition Friday when the Xavier transfer announced he was committing to the Huskers.

"I had a common understanding of what they do and what their program is about and things like that," Wilcher said Friday. "So there was a sense of comfort there."

That sense of comfort came from a previous relationship with NU assistant Matt Abdelmassih, who recruited Wilcher both at St. John's and Nebraska. When Abdelmassih joined Fred Hoiberg in Lincoln, it also gave Wilcher an opportunity to see what the head coach was about.

And the 6-foot-5, 195-pound wing liked what he saw.

"The transferring thing, you transfer for certain reasons and you hope and you worry that the next situation you go into, you don't experience the same thing," Wilcher said. "And I didn't feel that after talking to Coach Matt. Because even when he was at St. John's, he was always honest with me, always real with me. So I knew he would be up front with me about everything."

Wilcher is considered an elite shot-maker and a high-level three-point shooter. He was a four-star, top-150 recruit nationally coming out of high school in Plainfield, New Jersey.

While he averaged 3.3 points in about 10 minutes per game for Xavier this past season, Wilcher was expected to be a big part of the Musketeers' rotation going forward.

Now, he'll be expected to make an impact for Hoiberg and Nebraska.

"I feel like I can learn a lot from (Hoiberg) to prepare me for the next step in my career. I think I fit well in the system. He was a shooter when he played, and he gets shots for his guys, and I think I fit well in that," Wilcher said.

"He also lets guys play through mistakes and be able to make plays for other guys as well as themselves. I think that fits my game."

While his statistics at Xavier don't jump off the page, Wilcher was at his most productive in the Musketeers' final two games of the season. He got his only start of the year in Xavier's regular-season finale March 6 against Marquette, and finished with 10 points while going 4-for-9 from the field and 2-for-5 from three-point range in 32 minutes.

Four days later, Wilcher played 20 minutes off the bench in Xavier's loss to Butler at the Big East Tournament, scoring seven points.

For the season, Wilcher shot 44% from the field and nearly 39% from three-point range.

Wilcher has four seasons of eligibility remaining thanks to the free year given to all Division I athletes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

His addition leaves Nebraska with three open scholarships for next season. The Huskers recently learned that Trevor Lakes will not count against next year's scholarship limit because he has already played four years of college basketball, giving NU another scholarship to work with in the recruiting market.

There is another potential benefit for Nebraska in adding Wilcher. His younger brother, Simeon, is considered a five-star point guard prospect in the 2023 recruiting class. Simeon Wilcher is currently ranked as the No. 8 player nationally by Rivals and No. 7 by 247 Sports.

Might Wilcher start giving his brother the Nebraska recruiting pitch?

"That started this morning," he said.

Contact the writer at cbasnett@journalstar.com or 402-473-7436. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

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Husker men's basketball/baseball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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