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    Then & Now: Henry T. Buchanan


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    Then & Now: Henry T. Buchanan

    Compiled By Dave Brandon

    (Photo Courtesy NU Media Relations)

    Henry%20T%20Buchanan.jpgHenry

    T. Buchanan played at Nebraska from 1987-1988, and is

    one of the more interesting Huskers of all-time, as he

    served a six-year tour in the U.S. Air Force between

    high school and college.

    Buchanan

    played on Danny Nee's first team at Nebraska, and played

    an intricate part in the 1986-1987 21-12 and third place

    NIT team, as he led the team in three-point percentage

    and was among the leaders in several other categories as

    the Husker point guard.

    The

    former third-team All-Big 8 player is our latest guest

    in this Sunday's edition of "Then & Now."

    HHC: Henry, thanks for joining us. Before we

    talk more about you, tell us what your son Bryan is up

    to these days, as we know he played a year under Coach

    Nee and later transferred and started at IUPUI.

    HTB: He’s working for UPS, and doing some

    refereeing around Lincoln, and still playing a little

    basketball here and there. He actually plays with me and

    in my league quite a bit.

    HHC: Ron Hunter is the coach at IUPUI, and

    he'll long be remembered for putting them on the map and

    leading them to the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Is he as

    amazing a man and coach as he seems?

    HTB: Well, I can’t speak for Bryan, but

    he’s here right now if you want to ask him.

    HHC: Yeah that’d be great.

    HTB: Okay,

    here he is.

    BB: Whatsup

    Dave?

    HHC: Hey man,

    just wanted to ask you about Ron Hunter at IUPUI. Is he

    as cool of a guy and great a coach as he seems?

    BB: Oh yeah, actually he is a real good

    coach. I’d say he was a really a player’s coach. He

    helped out players a lot, and was easy to get along

    with. During the game, you would give him a suggestion

    on the court, and he actually listened to you. Just a

    real good players coach, and I’m glad I got a chance to

    play for him.

    HHC: Talk

    about what it was like playing under Danny Nee in

    1998-1999, the season in which you redshirted and spent

    at Nebraska?

    BB: That was probably one of the best

    experiences I had actually. He helped me develop,

    because out of high school, I wasn’t really physically

    gifted or real athletic. But my first year I got in the

    weight room and developed better, so I definitely think

    that helped me out a lot in the long run.

    HHC: Awesome, it was good to talk with

    you.

    BB: No problem, here’s my Dad.

    HHC: Alright

    T., now onto your career. You went to high school at

    Muncie Southside High School in Muncie, Indiana, and

    became the third point guard from there to play for the

    Huskers in the 1980's, as you joined Brian Carr and the

    late Jack Moore. Did you know anything about those guys

    before coming to Nebraska?

    HTB: Well, I played against Jack Moore and

    Jerry Shoecraft in high school, and they were like

    rivals. Moore and I also played against each other at

    the YMCA in pickup and stuff growing up. And then I

    heard about Carr when I was in the military, which I of

    course did before coming to Nebraska. I used to always

    call back and check on high school sports there, and I

    remember my friends telling me that this kid was leading

    the city in scoring and assists for two years in a row,

    and they told me his name was Brian Carr. I had no idea

    I’d end up playing in the backcourt with this kid later.

    Carr was

    probably the best tandem I have ever played with in my

    life, and that includes high school, JUCO, and in the

    military. He should still be in the NBA today, that’s

    how good he was. Great passer, amazing court vision, and

    a flat out leader.

    If it

    weren’t for Danny Nee forcing me to play point guard and

    him to play two guard, he would have been the all-time

    assist leader in the Big 8 in front of Cedric Hunter.

    But unfortunately, Nee wanted me to be the point guard,

    and him the two guard, so it was kind of a struggle, as

    far as trying to make that work my junior year on the

    court, because I understood that he was a better passer

    and had better vision than me.

    Plus, I

    could shoot the three, but I don’t think Danny Nee ever

    liked my jump shot because of the way that I shot. I

    wish I would have played for Nee in the later years,

    because I think he would have allowed me to do more and

    put Carr where he should have been.

    But

    again, I can’t tell you how great Carr was. And today,

    believe it or not, besides coaching basketball and

    baseball back in Muncie, he has his own cooking show.

    HHC: (Laughs)

    What?!?

    HTB: Yeah man, I’m serious, he’s like a chef.

    I’ve never been fortunate enough to try his cooking, but

    I hear it’s great from my brother, who runs a restaurant

    up there and runs into him from time to time.

    HHC: If we’re

    ever in Muncie, we’ll try that out!

    HTB: You need to!

    HHC: (Laughs)

    After you finished high school, you actually joined the

    U.S. Air Force and spent six years in active duty. What

    made you choose to go that route?

    HTB: Well, I only had one basketball offer

    out of high school, because I was kind of a 6th

    man and a late bloomer. The only offer was a community

    college, and my grades weren’t good enough, so I decided

    to go the military route. I worked on F-16 fighter

    planes, which are still the number one plane in the

    world, and I did hydraulic systems on that. I actually

    almost took a job after my service time was up, but

    luckily I didn’t, or I would have never played college

    basketball.

    But one

    thing that was lucky about the military was that they

    take their sports real seriously, and I really developed

    my game. I knew Paul Westphal, who actually tried to

    recruit me to some school he was at in Arizona, Grand

    Canyon or something. And then Larry Brown knew me as

    well, and he helped get me to Hutchinson in Kansas,

    where I went before going to Nebraska.

    HHC: Speaking of Hutchinson, you were a

    teammate of one of your Husker teammates, Derrick Vick.

    Did you guys agree to go to the same college, or was it

    coincidence that you both ended up at Nebraska?

    HTB: Oh yeah, it was definitely a package

    deal. We both got recruited by KU, but at the time, they

    had Cedric Hunter, and I didn’t want to go there and be

    a backup, although Coach Brown assured me he’d take me

    and wanted me. I had too much pride at that point, and

    with the campus at Nebraska selling itself, and

    especially Danny Nee, I chose Nebraska.

    I will

    tell you that Danny Nee is a smooth talker Dave, and it

    was tough to turn him down, as I told you at lunch last

    week. He just had that military background and made you

    believe in him, and after spending time with him, he was

    a person you wanted to play for.

    HHC: You were there for his first season

    at Nebraska in 1986-1987, but before we get more into

    your times at Nebraska, we've got to know; Was Nee

    mellower in his early years, or was he the same right

    off the bat?

    HTB: Oh no, he was most definitely NOT

    mellower. And, I could tell you so many stories about

    him.

    HHC: Please do, because that was our next

    question.

    HTB: Do you

    want the bad or the good?

    HHC: (Laughs) Both please.

    HTB: Well,

    some of the bad was on the personal side. Rich King was

    one of his big recruits out of Omaha, and of course Beau

    Reid came down with his Dad and had known Danny from

    Ohio. And let me tell you, Beau Reid is one of the

    toughest competitors ever. The guy never took a night

    off, even in practice, and that’s why

    the

    article that he wrote for you guys after the

    Creighton game was him, word for word. He just never

    took a day off, and played just as hard against us as he

    did opponents.

    But

    anyway, one day in practice, I was running the baseline,

    and Beau throws this cheap elbow in my ribs, and I went

    after him. And they broke it up, and nothing transpired,

    but then Danny starts ripping me about it, and I had had

    enough by this point, and we got to arguing. So, he

    makes the rest of the team start running, and I made

    some statements about him spoiling King and Reid, and we

    stood at mid court, arguing nose to nose while the rest

    of the team ran. So I commented to Danny, and I said to

    him, “If you just brush against me, I’m going to knock

    you out man.” (Laughs) So I told him he was messing with

    the wrong guy, because I wasn’t no kid, and to this day,

    I will say that he almost got his butt kicked that day.

    So that

    was my bad incident with Danny, as far as my playing

    career goes. But winning man, that’s why you wanted to

    win for him so badly, because he was one of the best

    guys ever to be around when you won games, and the worst

    when you lost. I remember we beat Furman out in North

    Carolina, and came back and played Grambling and we lost

    at home. And he made us practice after the game he was

    so pissed.

    He was

    just not the person you wanted to be around when you

    lost, but when you won, he was the man. I remember

    winning games under him, and he would buy us Bud Light,

    and I’m still a Bud Light man to this day because of

    him. (Laughs)

    HHC: (Laughs)

    What?

    HTB: (Laughs)

    I’m serious Dave, I used to be Miller Lite, but now it’s

    Bud because of that. There was nothing better than

    drinking Bud Light and watching game tapes with Danny

    Nee. 

    HHC:

    Priceless!

    HTB: Yeah, but I also want to say, one thing

    that people don’t know about Danny is that he preached

    academics and the corporate world. He may have talked to

    you individually about the NBA, CBA, or playing

    overseas, but Danny was all about getting an education,

    and constantly preached to you about how important

    academics were, because after basketball, you needed to

    have a life.

    And

    after I graduated, when I was applying at State Farm, I

    honestly included everyone on my reference list on my

    resume that I thought would put in a good word for me…

    Coach Bargen, teammates, boosters, anybody, but actually

    didn’t include Danny, because I didn’t feel like we left

    each other on the best of terms. But get this, my boss

    at State Farm didn’t call anybody except Danny, who told

    him I was one of the best leaders he ever coached. Had

    it not been for Danny, I would never had been at State

    Farm.

    He still

    to this day doesn’t know that I didn’t put him as a

    reference, so I really appreciate him more now than I

    ever had.

    HHC: Now, onto

    1986-1987, when you guys went 21-12 and finished third

    in the NIT Tournament. When we talked to Danny Nee a

    couple of weeks back, he said that the success of that

    team could be traced to the great Moe Iba defense that

    had been installed the previous year. Do you agree with

    that?

    HTB: I do agree with that. Those guys they

    had at Nebraska were so good defensively, like (Keith)

    Neubert, (Anthony) Bailous, (Bernard) Day, (Brian) Carr,

    (Mike) Martz… But I will also tell you that I’d like to

    give Gary Bargen a lot of credit too, because Derrick

    Vick and I came with him from Hutchinson, and we

    complimented the Iba coached players so well

    defensively.

    So yes,

    Iba was a big reason for our success, but I have to give

    Gary Bargen credit for instilling that defense in myself

    and Vick, especially me. I wasn’t a good defensive

    player at all prior to being coached by Coach Bargen,

    and he really taught me how to become a stopper and grow

    as a player and person.

    And one

    quick thing about Keith Neubert, and I know this is off

    topic, but I wish he would have come back out for

    basketball my last year. He had one of the best shots I

    have ever seen from 15 to 18 feet, but just didn’t get

    along with Coach Nee, which was unfortunate, so he stuck

    with football that last year.

    HHC: What are

    your favorite memories of that first season at Nebraska?

    HTB: Man, just hitting those free throws

    against Washington with virtually no time left on the

    clock to seal the trip to New York in the NIT. I

    remember waving my arms and telling the crowd to calm

    down, because they were so loud that it made me nervous

    and I couldn’t focus.

    But

    after I hit them, I remember hearing “New York, New

    York” and having my 6 or 7 year old son in my arms as I

    cut down the net on that ladder. Man, that was amazing.

    HHC: During

    your senior season at Nebraska, you were the oldest

    player in the Big 8. Did you catch a lot of flack about

    that from opposing fans and players?

    HTB: Actually, not really, because there

    was another guy at Georgetown at the time named

    Hightower, and then a guy at K-State my junior year that

    was the same age and had been military. So, I caught

    more flack from my teammates, who called me grandpa,

    than the rest of the guys and fans, to be honest. And

    The Sporting News did a story on my age too, but in

    the end, it worked out well, because I was like a big

    brother to my teammates and really took care of them.

    HHC: And speaking of your senior

    season, 1987-1988 was a disappointment, as you guys

    finished 13-18. However, you were named a third-team

    All-Big 8 selection, and a first-team academic All-Big 8

    performer. Which award meant more?

    HTB:

    Academics, and I’ll tell you why Dave. Believe it or

    not, my cumulative GPA from my high school was a 1.59.

    All I did was play basketball, and after basketball, I

    never showed up to class. I don’t know what I learned in

    high school, pretty much nothing. So, to be able to get

    a bachelor’s in science with an emphasis in accounting

    was by far the biggest accomplishment in my life.

    And what

    I got from the university is awesome as well. They used

    to have in the basketball offices there, a picture of me

    trying to shoot a reverse layup against Danny Manning,

    and under it, it says, “First team academic All-Big 8.”

    And, I have it in my basement now, its pretty awesome.

    HHC: And while you guys didn't win a lot

    that season, you had to have felt that you helped plant

    the seeds for success of that 1990-1991 team, because on

    that team your senior season were Beau Reid, Clifford

    Scales, Rich King, and Kelly Lively. Did you feel like a

    mentor on that team?

    HTB: Oh yeah, most definitely. At the

    time, to be honest, the losing was tough, because I felt

    like Danny was really sacrificing the senior season of

    myself and Vick. But in retrospect, I see that he had to

    rebuild for the next year, and I just didn’t understand

    what that was at the time. But I definitely think we

    could have been better at the same time.

    But that

    year, we did have some big wins, like against KU when

    they went on to win the championship. We also beat

    Missouri. that year, Missouri, etc.

    But yes,

    we had a disappointing season, but I understand it more

    now than I did then, since he was just trying to rebuild

    and get Scales, Reid, etc. the chance to develop. I

    still to this day feel we could have easily been a .500

    or better team in the Big 8 though, but at least we had

    big wins and beat Larry Brown and Danny Manning two

    years in a row at the Devaney Center. 

    And I

    still let Danny know about that whenever I talk to him.

    (Laughs)

    HHC: Oh yeah?

    HTB: Yeah, and speaking of disappointment, and I

    don’t want to switch subjects, but he’s so disappointed

    in this era’s basketball players and the fact that the

    players today aren’t like they were then. He says he

    can’t believe how these guys everywhere won’t even play

    pickup ball, so that just goes to show you that it’s a

    new generation, and that puts the nail on the head of

    what Beau Reid said, about how these players think they

    are better than they are.

    And here

    I am, 45 years old and playing against them, and they

    are quitting before I do. Back then, you couldn’t peel

    us out of the gym, but it’s just a new generation today,

    and they don’t understand the work ethic it takes to

    succeed. It’s a big step from high school and junior

    college to play at the Big 12 level, and I don’t think

    several kids don’t understand.

    HHC: What are your favorite memories of

    your times at the University of Nebraska?

    HTB: Oh, the one that sticks out in

    particular was the game we won against Washington to go

    to New York, as I previously mentioned. That kind of

    made up for me missing that shot against K-State in the

    Big 8 Tournament my junior year, which probably would

    have propelled us to the NCAA Tournament instead of the

    NIT. I hit that shot a thousand times, and it was an

    open three in the corner off of a perfect pass from

    Brian Carr, but I saw Mitch Richmond out of the corner

    of my eye and just missed it because I lost my focus. We

    still should have gone to the NCAA’s that year though

    because we had a better record than K-State, but we lost

    to them in the first round of the Big 8 Tournament so I

    guess that made sense.

    Anyway,

    the coolest thing about hitting those free throws and

    sending us to New York was that I picked up my son at

    that time, which I already talked about. But when he was

    at Nebraska for that year, they did a feature on him in

    the program, and I have it in my basement. And they

    asked him what his favorite memory was of his Dad

    playing at Nebraska, and he said his favorite memory was

    that same one, me holding him in my arms as I cut down

    that net when he was 6 or 7 years old.

    Off the

    court, my best memory was going to my graduation

    ceremony, and having my parents there. I was the first

    family member in my immediate and extended family at

    that time to achieve my bachelor’s degree, so I think

    walking across the stage, and having everyone there, was

    just great. And then today, I’ve got a niece, brother,

    and cousin’s that have degrees, so its almost like I

    opened the doors and set the stage for several relatives

    to walk the same path. So, I think that was my proudest

    moment off the court.

    HHC: And you have stayed around Lincoln

    since graduating, and we hear you still follow the

    Huskers closely and play ball against some of the

    current Huskers from time to time. Tell us about that?

    HTB: Oh yeah, I have never not played

    pickup ball. From the Strickland’s to Lue’s to the

    current players, I play with and against them all. And,

    I worked out with (Charles) Richardson and (Jason)

    Dourisseau over the summer, and got the chance to play

    against some of the new recruits, too. I think they all

    have the skills, but I think it’s a new generation, and

    that their philosophy of basketball is different and

    they don’t understand what they are lacking.

    I just

    think its tough to be a leader on this Nebraska team

    because of the lack of the respect that some of the

    players have for each other. And, it’s kind of

    disappointing for some of the older players, I think,

    who really have that pride and respect of the Nebraska

    program, such as (Wes) Wilkinson, who I played against

    in the state games awhile back, and Dourisseau. These

    guys have so much pride, and I honestly think they are

    frustrated.

    I think

    the new generation of basketball in general doesn’t

    understand the opportunity that they have been given, as

    far as playing basketball at the highest level and

    getting their education. I just don’t think they have a

    grasp on that.

    But

    yeah, I’m a big supporter of the program, but I will say

    that I was a little disappointed in how some of the new

    player’s played pickup ball against me this summer, and

    how they treated each other, as well as the work ethic.

    I know that when I played, Danny Nee had a genuine

    concern of what you were doing during the summer. Sure,

    he knew we drank beer and everything, but as long as you

    were in that gym in the off-season and working out, he

    was fine. But if you weren’t doing it, he was on you,

    because he understood the most important time of the

    year was the summer.

    To be

    honest Dave, I’m not surprised they struggled against

    Creighton, because Creighton has more pride in beating

    us than we do beating them. But, the good news is that I

    still think they can have a successful season, but

    somebody is going to have to step up. But unfortunately,

    it’s the younger generation that needs to step it up.

    Joe McCray needs to change his attitude and start

    listening to Coach Collier. And I think Richardson and

    Dourisseau are some of the most laidback people that

    should be leaders, but you almost can’t blame them

    because of what they are dealing with. You have freshman

    who think they are better than they are, and you’ve got

    sophomore’s who don’t listen.

    It’s

    tough, but I think they will pull through.

    HHC: Let’s hope so. Tell everyone what

    Henry T. Buchanan up to these days, both personally and

    professionally?

    HTB: I’ve been working at State Farm for

    17.5 years now, and I’m contemplating following Beau

    Reid’s footsteps and becoming an agent. I run a

    basketball league, and I still play on a high level, and

    run the best league in Lincoln, as far as talent wise

    goes, at Sports Courts. I run that on Tuesday’s and

    Thursday’s, and I’m still very involved in the

    community, as far as the Nancy and Tom Osborne mentoring

    program, and I’m a coordinator for State Farm and

    recruit mentors for kid’s in the 3rd-12th

    grade. And this is my fifth year doing that, and I have

    a kid I’ve been mentoring since 4th grade, so

    I’m heavily involved with that.

    I’ve

    been involved in the LPS graduation requirement

    committee, and I did that a few years back. I also get

    involved in interviewing potential principles, K-12.

    So yeah,

    I still try to be active and involved in the community.

    (Laughs) I picked up golf a few years ago and still

    suck, but I like doing it. (Laughs) Waist of money for

    me though!

    HHC: If we set

    you up an e-mail account at

    henry@huskerhoopscentral.com , would you be willing

    to take some e-mails from Husker fans?

    HTB: Most definitely, I’d love that. And

    keep up the great work with this site, and thanks for

    having me.<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">

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