The first piece of Fred Hoiberg's Nebraska men's basketball roster rebuild has fallen into place.
Graduate transfer guard Haanif Cheatham, a former top-100 recruit out of high school who played 10 games last season at Florida Gulf Coast before being injured, announced Saturday on Twitter he was joining the Huskers.
Excited to announce I will be playing my grad year season and final college basketball season here at Nebraska university. I’m excited to be apart of @huskerhoops and ready to turn up pinnacle bank arena!! God works in mysterious ways and I’m glad to be apart of this journey #GBR pic.twitter.com/FzmMC1m9xO— Haanif Cheatham (@hcheatham_22) April 20, 2019
"Just the environment, the coaching staff, the love and sincerity I felt while here. It's an amazing place, great fan base, great atmosphere for the games," Cheatham said Saturday. "Just the experience, the relationships Coach Hoiberg has. I know I'm going to get the opportunity to play hard for him every game, just better for my future and my career, and have a great time while doing it."
A 6-foot-5 guard, Cheatham played 10 games and averaged 13.2 points and 4.8 rebounds for Florida Gulf Coast before injuring his shoulder and missing the rest of the 2018-19 season.
Cheatham, who has one year of eligibility remaining, also spent three years at Marquette. He made an official visit to Lincoln this weekend. As a fifth-year player, Cheatham said he'll be leaned on to be a leader for Nebraska next season.
"I'm a guy who defends, a guy who rebounds, a guy who gets to the rim, a slasher, a guy who can hit open shots, and a guy who is a talkative leader, who wants to win, big-time," Cheatham said. "I'm going to go all-out for my team, for my coaches, and love putting on the Nebraska jersey every game."
He also became the first example of what NU assistant Matt Abdelmassih talked about recently when trying to recruit players to Nebraska.
While speaking at a roundtable with Nebraska's assistants, Abdelmassih spoke of the "barrier" in place when recruiting to the Midwest — essentially the perception that there's nothing to do, and that Lincoln is in the middle of nowhere.
"When I first landed I was like, 'Ah, man.' I didn't really see much. But as soon as I got picked up and got on the highway, I saw the football stadium and the arena, and that changed my whole perspective," Cheatham said. "And especially when I got to my hotel and saw the city, the campus, it was some place you felt like you wanted to be, and when the time comes around, it's going to be a whole different atmosphere than it is in the summer, and that's what I wanted to be around."
Nebraska now has four open scholarships for the 2019-20 season.