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NU basketball Opening Night, 9.27

Nebraska's Shamiel Stevenson (4) elevates for a first-half dunk during a scrimmage at the Opening Night event on Sept. 27 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. 

With the caveat that it's nearly impossible to predict these things, it appears the Nebraska men's basketball team could have a key piece of its rotation available for the entire season.

Transfer forward Shamiel Stevenson, who currently isn't eligible to suit up for the Huskers until December, said Monday that things are moving in the right direction for him to receive a waiver for immediate eligibility from the NCAA. 

"We're really confident about it, I know that, and things are looking really good," Stevenson said. "We should get the results back soon, but it's looking good right now."

That would be significant news for the Huskers as head coach Fred Hoiberg and his staff try to piece together a lineup that can compete with its conference brethren once Big Ten play hits.

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Stevenson projects as one of the top rebounders on a team sorely in need of rebounding help. He's also versatile enough to guard both on the perimeter and in the post.

In an informal poll Monday of Nebraska's 16 players, Stevenson emerged as one of the team's most explosive athletes. More than one Husker called him the team's best dunker and rebounder.

Hoiberg has remained mostly quiet on the matter, declining to comment in detail when asked about Stevenson last month.

"I won’t talk specifically on that. Obviously when you have a transfer like that, the waiver process is a big part of it," Hoiberg said at the time. "We’ll get more into that as we get more specifics."

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As far as specifics on the court, Stevenson could be a potential cornerstone in the early stages of Nebraska's rebuild.

A native of Toronto, he averaged 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while playing in 32 games and making 13 starts for Pitt as a true freshman in 2017-18. He led the Panthers in field-goal percentage (50.5%) and shot 37.5% from three-point range. 

Stevenson played his high school ball at Hillcrest Prep in Arizona, where he teamed with future first-round NBA Draft pick Deandre Ayton. He was rated as the No. 34 small forward in the 2017 class by 247Sports.

The owner of a 6-11 wingspan, Stevenson then played four games for Pitt to stat his sophomore season after the Panthers made an offseason coaching change. He transferred to Nevada in December of 2018, and then decided to transfer again after Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman left in the spring to take the Arkansas job.

Stevenson announced in May he was joining Nebraska. He said then that he and the Huskers would begin the waiver process when Stevenson got to campus in June.

Apparently, that process has gone well. It's been business as usual in preseason workouts, Stevenson said, even if there is still a bit of uncertainty in how things will ultimately play out.

"The coaches just decided that, since we're so confident about it, that we're just going to go about things like I'm playing," Stevenson said. "So it's been good so far."

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

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Husker basketball 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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