Then & Now:
Compiled By Dave Brandon (Photo Courtesy NU
Chris Cresswell was a three year
w:st="on">Nebraska, Cresswell played in the NCAA
tournament two seasons. Individually, Cresswell
broke into the top ten in several
w:st="on">Nebraskathree-point shooting records. Chris
recently took the time to join HHC after we hunted him
down somewhere out on the left coast.
HHC: Chris, we
appreciate you taking a few minutes and joining us on
CC: No problem. A new
audience is a good thing. My mother is tired of me
making her watch my highlight tape!!
HHC: (laughs) A lot
of people forget that you started your college career at
Cal-Irvine in 1987. What made you choose Cal-Irvine,
w:st="on">Nebraskaone of the original schools that
recruited you in high school?
CC: Who wouldn’t jump
at the chance to be an Anteater! I took trips to
w:st="on">Montana, Pepperdine and
UCI. I guess
w:st="on">Irvinewas the happy medium between possibly
being mauled by bears on campus or living campus life
like scenes from the “OC.”
w:st="on">Nebraskadid not contact me while in high
HHC: Inevitably, the
next question is going to be what made you decide to
transfer away from UC Irvine, and how did a
California boy end up in
CC: I remember
watching a Saturday football game between Texas and
Oklahoma while in the dorms at UCI. I caught glimpses of
those schools’ campus life during outtakes from the
game. Those schools seemed more like college then the
commuter school that was UCI. I wanted to be part of
that type of environment. When I decided to leave, I
called every good football program that had an average
basketball team, as that was more in line with my skill
level. I got lucky that
w:st="on">Nebraskahad an available scholarship.
HHC: Prior to coming
w:st="on">Nebraska, what had you heard about the
w:st="on">Nebraskaprogram? And no
CC: I knew that they
were known as the Cornhuskers!
HHC: Upon arriving in
w:st="on">Lincoln, you seemed to fit in well, as you led the Huskers
in 3-point percentage as a sophomore, were second on the
team in 3-pointers made, and poured in 17 points in a
w:st="on">State. What enabled you to pick up the
system so quickly?
CC: When you’re a 1
tool player it’s pretty easy.
1) Square up to basket
2) Close eyes
HHC: Our apologies if
we bring back bad memories, but just as quickly as
things seemed to be going great your sophomore year, you
saw your playing time cut back significantly as a
junior, as you only appeared in ten games. That had to
be character building - how did you accept this and make
it a positive experience?
CC: We were very deep
my junior year at every position. I was the odd man out.
On the character, the jury is still out. It was easy to
enjoy the success of the team. We went from the worst
team in school history to the best in one year. The
dynamic created by the success played out in many
interesting ways that year. Some painfully true colors
came out in people behind the scenes.
HHC: Things improved
your senior season, and before the 1991 campaign, Danny
Nee was quoted as saying about you "I believe he's going
to bring that 3-point shot to the table and will be a
very effective player coming off the bench at
w:st="on">Nebraska. I've told him not to dribble when
he gets the ball, just shoot it." What did that kind of
confidence from your coach do for you?
CC: Pretty funny
quote considering he asked me to leave the team after
every season! In retrospect perhaps it was an attempt to
test my character, or maybe he really did want me off
the team. Danny Nee never made an even passing attempt
to understand who I or any of his players were as
people. He made assumptions about us and stuck with
those as gospel. As for the dribbling, he was right on!
HHC: (laughs) By the
way, would you believe us if we told you we are
remembering all of this and don't own any media guides?
CC: In a word…Scary
HHC: That’s what our
girl friends and wives all say, too! Anyway, perhaps
one of the biggest games of your career was in the 1992
home game against
w:st="on">Kansas, in which Jamar Johnson hit the
dramatic buzzer beating three-pointer. However, prior
to that, Bruce Chubick had the "forgotten block," and
you hit the "forgotten three-pointer" late in the game -
walk us through that game and the play we're talking
about - was it the biggest shot of your career?
CC: No question it
was the biggest shot. I’ll never forget Jamar hitting
that shot and the crowd rushing the floor. I was out in
a sea of students when the sea parted to let Roy
Williams through. He was coming up to congratulate us on
a great game. During all that madness he took the time
to find as many of us as he could to shake our hands. I
was so moved that after the season I wrote him a letter
thanking him for that moment and his contribution to the
Big 8. I assured him I did not intend to get into
coaching incase he mistook my motivation for writing. He
took the time to write a letter back, which I’ll be able
to show my grandkids with pride. I took
w:st="on">Kansasin every pool after I graduated, unless
of course they were playing the Huskers!
HHC: From your times
w:st="on">Nebraska, what do you remember most, both on and off the
court, and when were you last in
CC: The competition,
the friends, last call at the Rail, drunken sledding
behind our house after beating Oklahoma. Last time I
was in Lincoln was when I
moved my girlfriend (now wife) out from
New York to
San Francisco in ‘99.
HHC: We asked Derrick
Chandler last week and have to ask you as well -
everyone seems to have at least one funny Danny Nee
story. Any classic ones that stand out in your mind?
CC: I remember
walking down a street in Paris after my senior
season. Nee, Owens, Chubick, Piatkowski and I had just
closed down a Parisian bar. We’d each stuffed our
pockets with glasses from the bar, including Nee, to
take home as souvenirs. He showed us his lighter side
for about thirty seconds that night.
Nice! Finally, what is Chris Cresswell up to these days,
both personally and professionally? Can you still shoot
the rock like you used to?
CC: I way
overachieved in the personal category. I married the
most incredible women I’ve ever met three years ago. We
live in San
Francisco with our 4-month-old
twin boys. Quinn and Cooper were born on April 18 of
this year and spent 10 weeks in the hospital, as they
were 3 month premature. During this interview I had to
pause to feed them both, which is a fun juggling act.
Professionally I worked for a
sports marketing firm in
Denver (after a very brief, non-lucrative
professional hoop career in
w:st="on">Portugal) (I made $500 a month and
got free fish!)
Now I own a sales agency with two
good friends. We’ve represented brands like Nike, And 1,
Adidas, Starter, Kangaroos and Tommy Bahama over the
past 9 years. Our job is to get their lines placed in
HHC: We're hoping to
go three for three on this - would you be willing to
take reader e-mails if we set you up an account at
HHC: Great - thanks a
lot for your time, Chris, and we have to tell you one
last thing - we think you have the coolest name of any
basketball player in
w:st="on">Nebraskahistory, just edging out Kimani
CC: Ironically, I’ve
legally taken back my birth name; I’m now Chris
Carmichael. Fortunately, I will not have to change any
of my monogram gear!
Editors Note: We love