Then & Now: Dapreis Owens
Compiled By Dave Brandon
(Photo Courtesy NU Media Relations)
Owens played for Nebraska from 1989-1992, and was part
of two NCAA Tournament teams. The 6’8” Owens started
games in three different seasons, and as a senior, led
the Huskers in field goal percentage (55%).
Owens recently joined HHC for our
latest Sunday edition of “Then & Now.”
HHC: Thanks a lot for
taking the time to join us!
DO: Yeah man, thanks
a lot for calling. I got your message awhile back and am
glad you called back, I’ve been looking forward to this!
HHC: As have we.
First off, what brought you to Nebraska from Mansfield,
Ohio, where you averaged 27 PPG and 14 RPG as a senior?
DO: Well, I always
liked the Big 8 conference, and remember watching
Oklahoma in the national championship game. I just had
always been a big fan of the Big 8. And then Lynn
Mitchem was the assistant coach who recruited me most,
although Coach Nee also came up a couple of times. But
yeah, I chose Nebraska over Wisconsin, Cleveland State,
Minnesota, and I think Tennessee, if I recall correctly.
HHC: Tell us your
initial impression of Danny Nee, who is one of the most
colorful figures in college basketball history.
DO: (Laughs) Well, my
initial impression was that he was very outspoken, and
good with words. He was a motivator, and a problem
HHC: As a freshman at Nebraska, you guys
finished 17-16, and made the NIT. Individually, you
played in 29 games, and came up big in the NIT game
versus Ohio State, where you scored 18 points and
grabbed 7 boards. What do you remember most about your
first season at Nebraska?
DO: I remember a lot
of great players, like Eric Johnson, Pete Manning, those
guys, and watching them, and just trying to fit in with
the chemistry of things and what Nee was doing. And as I
look back, after my freshman year, I almost wish I had
redshirted because of the minutes. My time as a freshman
wasn’t enjoyable at times.
HHC: Was it tough being so far from home,
and which teammates did you immediately bond with?
DO: Yeah, it was tough. I was a homebody
and missed it, and still live here now. But, I bonded
with my roommate, who was Lewis Geter, and we had known
each other previously. And Clifford Scales and I had a
close relationship, Carl Hayes of course, Ray
Richardson, pretty much all of those guys. Unfortunately
I don’t really talk to them anymore, at least not on a
regular basis, although Lewis and I communicate maybe
twice a month, he’s in Virginia now.
HHC: Your sophomore season in 1989-1990
was good for you individually, as you averaged 8.4 PPG
and 4.4 RPG while scoring in double figures 11 times.
However, as a team, you guys finished a dismal 10-18.
How disappointing was that season?
DO: We had a horrible season, and it was
really frustrating. But, the talent was there, we just
couldn’t put it together. It was frustrating my
sophomore season. Just losing repeatedly was just tough,
game after game after game, and losing convincingly to
other Big 8 teams, and looking like we couldn’t even
compete. That carried over to practices, off the court,
etc. That was tough.
HHC: Did Coach Nee make life a living
DO: Yeah, pretty
much. (Laughs) It was a tough year for the players,
coaching staff, and basketball program as a whole. We
didn’t do a good job of filling the stands at home, so
you know we also didn’t on the road.
HHC: Before we talk
about the magical year of 1990-1991, we need you to be
honest. Prior to the start of the season, did you have
any idea that you guys would be as good as you were?
DO: Like I said, we knew we had the
talent, but it was a chemistry thing my sophomore year.
We couldn’t get the chemistry going, and the same
nucleus of guys my sophomore year made it happen in that
90-91 season with a few additions, like Moody, Farmer,
and people like that. But it was a chemistry thing, and
once we bonded, it was hard to stop.
HHC: 1990-1991 saw you guys make the
school’s second NCAA tournament appearance, as you went
26-8 and finished the year in the top ten of some polls.
Talk about that amazing year and what sticks out?
DO: Yeah, it was an amazing year. It was
like we turned the whole program around overnight. I
remember putting in the hard work before the season
started, and seeing the team psychologist, all the stuff
we did in the preseason to prepare. Then, we had the
fluctuation of starting positions and rotations, and
trying to find the right combinations. I sprained my
ankle that year, and I missed like 6 games. But, it was
a magic carpet ride once we got to Kansas City.
HHC: What made you
guys need to see a team psychologist prior to the
DO: We needed a team
psychologist for team relations. It was another way to
try and find chemistry, and I think Jack Stark was his
name, and he did a good job, as far as getting guys to
HHC: Jamar Johnson said that he thinks the
success of that team can be traced to the fact that you
guys had lost so bad the year before, and were just sick
and tired of losing. Is there truth to that?
DO: Most definitely,
most definitely. We were sick and tired of losing, and I
got tired of hearing the basketball jokes, and the
basketball program being so weak. So yeah, we hated
losing and simply worked harder.
HHC: Your senior season at Nebraska was
1991-1992, and as a team, you again made the NCAA
Tournament, as you finished 19-10. How gratifying was it
to end your career on a high note?
DO: It was extremely gratifying. I was
able to get there back to back years, and my senior year
was probably my best, as far as playing wise. And it was
just so much fun, it was like it was supposed to be. I
have no regrets as far as playing basketball at the
University of Nebraska goes, especially my senior year.
HHC: What are your favorite memories of
Nebraska, both on and off the court?
DO: On the court, I think it would have to
be… Well, being the Ameritas Classic MVP. That was a fun
weekend. And off the court, it’s probably just the
friends I made out there. I still keep in contact with a
few people out there, and the campus experience was a
lot of fun for me for my four years.
HHC: A lot of people
say that those early 90’s teams choked come NCAA
Tournament team, and were selfish. What is your response
DO: I really believe
we should have beaten Xavier the first year. The second
year was Connecticut, and I think they were much more
talented than we were. So, we were outmatched with them.
But the first year, we could have done a few things that
could have gotten us a “W.” I think it came down to some
X’s and O’s types of things, at least to me. A lack of
certain calls and certain combinations and rotations
were the main reason that I think we lost like that.
HHC: When was the last time you were back
in Lincoln, and do you get a chance to follow the
current team much?
DO: I was in Lincoln about two or three
years ago. I played with Henry T. “The Legend” Buchanan
at a tournament in Hastings, and I try to follow the
program as much as I can, I’m a Cornhusker. As a matter
of fact, I’ve got a big huge, huge wager with a friend
here on that Michigan/Nebraska Alamo Bowl game, so we’ll
see what happens.
HHC: And before we get to what you’re
doing today, can you give us a funny Danny Nee story or
two to add to our growing collection?
DO: The thing that we used to laugh with
him about is that he would always tell you almost
exactly what you wanted to hear. If you had NBA dreams,
he would give you a person in the NBA and compare you to
them. For me, he used to tell me, “Hey Dapreis, you’re
just like Mark Aguire. You’ve got that body, and you can
get to the NBA.” And after awhile, he just stopped
saying it (Laughs).
HHC: (Laughs) At least he didn’t tell you
that you reminded him of Kurt Rambis! Hey, what has
Dapreis Owens been doing since 1992, and what is he up
DO: Well, after I
left Nebraska, I had a pretty good career in Europe and
South America. Most of my career was in South America,
where I played from 1994-2000. But, I played in places
like Paris, Venezuela, Australia for a year, Uruguay,
Argentina, so I was really a world traveler. I was
enjoying it and ended up having a stress fracture,
didn’t know it, came back to Lincoln to get it looked
at, and they fixed it for me. And I played one more
spot, Chile, and it was bothering me so much that I
stopped, and my plan was to rehabilitate it some more
and then keep playing. In the meantime, they gave me a
teaching job to teach special education here in
Mansfield, so I’ve been teaching special education for
the last seven years.
For awhile, I also coached
basketball at the high school level, and now at a local
college called OSU-Mansfield, where I run the women’s
programs. We are the Mansfield Lady Mavericks.
HHC: Nice. Dapreis, thanks a lot for
taking the time to join us. We’ve set you up an e-mail
[email protected] , and are hoping
you’ll take some e-mails from Husker fans. Are you cool
DO: Most definitely, that’d be great. And
thanks a lot for having me, this was fun. I’ll have to
get some contact information for some of my old