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OWH article on Bella Cravens by Sam MC.

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LINCOLN — On April 3, Bella Cravens posted an announcement to Instagram that she was transferring from Eastern Washington and choosing to play her final two seasons of college basketball at a different school. By the next morning, when she woke up, 10 programs had already reached out. The list grew quickly to 18.

That’s how fast life moves in the transfer portal for a 6-foot-3 post who led the Big Sky Conference in rebounding.

 
 

“It was a rush of teams — just super-overwhelming,” Cravens said.

But Nebraska — in need of post players after two transferred away in March — was at the front of the line. NU was the first school to contact her and the only school to talk to her every day for the first week of her recruiting process. She took a virtual visit of the campus and the practice facilities — which was impressive — but Cravens was sold after her first call with coach Amy Williams, who’d already done her homework.

“Our first phone call they had a bunch of pointers,” Cravens said. “Just from watching some clips of film, they could already say what they would want to do with me at Nebraska. It was so refreshing to talk to somebody who wanted to develop me — where it wasn’t just coming from me.”

Cravens was the surprise addition to NU’s transfer recruiting class announced last week. While new Nebraska guards Nailah Dillard and MiCole Cayton had already announced their intentions, Cravens kept a lower profile about her decision. She might turn out to be one of the more important additions of any Big Ten team.

 
 

She averaged 10.4 and 8.5 rebounds for EWU, which finished 4-26. Cravens accounted for a full quarter of her team’s rebounds and 17.7% of its scoring. Although the team’s best player, there was a limit to how much better Cravens could get in that program. Teams like Nebraska, Wisconsin, BYU and Boise State — some of Cravens’ finalists — immediately recognized that.

“Bella is an excellent athlete who is motivated to become the best player she can,” Williams said. “We have a strong need for the things she brings to the table, and we believe her best basketball is still in front of her. We can’t wait to pour into her as a Husker.”

Whenever Cravens is eligible — the NCAA will vote in May to approve waiver changes that let players like Cravens get immediate eligibility — she’ll fit snugly into NU’s frontcourt, where center Kate Cain is a senior, forward Isabelle Bourne will be a sophomore and Annika Stewart will be an incoming freshman. Cravens helps account for the loss of Ashtyn Veerbeek and Kayla Mershon — who transferred to Dordt College and Minnesota, respectively — and brings a rebounding presence Nebraska has lacked for the last season, when it allowed opponents 13.76 offensive rebounds per game.

“I think I’m a really good rebounder, and I also played the ‘five’ a lot even though I’m a little undersized,” Cravens said. “I feel comfortable down low, with my back to the basket, and I feel like I can drive it from the elbow and shoot those shots. Development-wise, I want to extend my game even further, work on my 3-point shot and my ball handling. I want to be quicker on defense, too.”

The Laie, Hawaii, native now waits for the coronavirus pandemic to wane so she can finally step foot in Nebraska, a place she’s never been. She’s interested in becoming a sports psychologist one day, and NU’s strong academic support — coupled with post-graduate opportunities — were a draw, as well.

The only remaining question for her is whether she’ll play in 2020-2021 or not. That depends on the NCAA’s vote in May on whether student-athletes in football, baseball and men’s and women’s college basketball could be granted one-time immediate eligibility waivers so long as their previous schools agree to release them.

“I hope the waiver passes, I would love to play right away, but, if it doesn’t, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, because I’d have a year to learn the offense and develop myself even more,” Cravens said.

 

 
 

 

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I do not know what kind of BS they fed her about development or plans for development.  We have all seen what a poor job this coaching staff has done in developing players either offensively or defensively in the four years that they have been here.  We are still waiting on  the development of scoring  moves by a center.  In the four years that they have been coaching here the only player showing significant offensive  improvement was Brown last year and now she is gone! 

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11 hours ago, Cazzie22 said:

If she, Cravens, has any offensive post moves it may be a great addition.  Kate,  bless her, hasn’t developed any moves towards the basket.  I am not worried about Bourne.  Stand back and let that girl play.

Nailed it.

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14 hours ago, Redhac said:

I do not know what kind of BS they fed her about development or plans for development.  We have all seen what a poor job this coaching staff has done in developing players either offensively or defensively in the four years that they have been here.  We are still waiting on  the development of scoring  moves by a center.  In the four years that they have been coaching here the only player showing significant offensive  improvement was Brown last year and now she is gone! 

You can say this for 90% of all teams. Both men and women. The Center position is the most difficult to coach in D1 college. Most big kids dominated in high school because they were the biggest kid on the floor. Not because they were the most skilled.

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I just hope she can in fact, will play next season.

 

We need another post desperately as we have discussed.  And she does have college experience, although not B1G style and toughness. But it puts her on the playing list quickly

 

Nonetheless if she is eligible...will fill a huge need in the box.  Her resume says she's a shot blocker and rebounder. Man do we need that stuff.

 

Guards.... we have...it's another story yet to develop, on how all the newbies and "oldies" might work out on the roster.

 

But down in the paint we must get some Bella help.

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