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    Then & Now: Derrick Vick

    Then & Now: Derrick Vick

    Compiled By Dave Brandon

    (Photo Courtesy NU Media Relations)

    Derrick%20Vick.jpgDerrick Vick played at Nebraska

    from 1987-1988, and led the Huskers in blocked shots

    both seasons, along with field goal percentage in 1987

    and rebounds in 1988. Vick is also among the Top 60

    scorers (703 points) in NU history.

    The 6’6” forward played a key part

    in Nebraska’s 1987 3rd place NIT finish, as

    he was named to the All-NIT team after leading the team

    in scoring (17.0 PPG) and rebounding (7.6 RPG) in the

    five game tournament.

    Vick is our latest guest in this

    Sunday’s edition of “Then & Now.”

    HHC: You went to

    Corliss High School in Chicago, where you were named one

    of the top 25 players in the Chicago area as a senior in

    1984. After that, you started your career at Hutchinson

    (KS.) Community College, where you became teammates with

    former Husker guard Henry T. Buchanan and forward Pete

    Manning, while also playing for former Husker assistant

    coach Gary Bargen. Before we talk more about the

    Nebraska connection there, tell us which Division One

    schools recruited you out of high school, and what made

    you end up at Hutchinson?

    DV: Originally, Kansas was recruiting me

    out of high school, but my grades weren’t up to par. I

    had Kansas, Illinois State, and I want to say San Diego

    and Minnesota on my list, but I think that was out of

    Junior College. But, those were the main two out of high

    school (Kansas and Illinois State), although I know

    there were others that I couldn’t name now. Nebraska

    though did not, at least not out of high school. But I

    know I took a visit to Kansas, but since my grades

    weren’t good enough, I had to go to JUCO.

    HHC: What did you learn from Coach Bargen

    while at Hutchinson, and how would you describe him as a

    man and coach?

    DV: Coach Bargen is a great X’s and O’s

    coach, and a good motivator. He teaches fundamentals of

    the game, and he preaches team and defense. I definitely

    enjoyed the two years we had down there, and he’s a

    great team coach. He coaches to the talent of his

    players with the system he used. There are not enough

    good things to say about him.

    I never regretted playing for him

    at all; I just thoroughly enjoyed my time there. His

    style of play and the way he teaches the game, he’s hard

    on everyone, but that’s only because he wants the best

    for everyone. And, he expected you to be a student first

    and athlete second.

    HHC: Henry T. Buchanan told us that you

    and him decided to go D-1 together as a tandem. What

    made Nebraska your choice?

    DV: I fell in love with the facility and

    the academic environment that they had for support. In

    the Big 8, I was going to a good conference, and it was

    very competitive. And that led to my decision to come

    here.

    I wouldn’t say Henry and I were

    totally as a package, because I was also thinking about

    Kansas State, South Carolina, Minnesota, San Diego

    State, and Houston. But, I never took all the visits.

    And at the time I visited Nebraska, I just decided to

    make that commitment. I think I verbally made the

    commitment there, but didn’t do the papers until I came

    back.

    HHC: We understand that Coach Larry Brown

    at Kansas had a good relationship with you. Any regrets

    about not ending up in Lawrence?

    DV: Well, you know, out of high school

    they recruited me. But he didn’t pursue me after that. I

    kind of wish I did have the grades at that time to be at

    KU, because they were a very talented team, and I love

    the challenge. And it would have been interesting to

    challenge myself for playing time at a program of that

    stature at the time. And, they still are, but in terms

    of the Big 8, they were cream of the crop, because

    between Kansas and Oklahoma, they were normally sitting

    at the top every year.

    So, regretting not having grades,

    yes I do regret that, I wish I had gotten better grades

    early on in my high school career because I didn’t start

    playing basketball until I was a sophomore, at least

    competitively. I really had no interest in high school

    basketball at the beginning, but I was convinced by a

    neighborhood friend of mine, Larry Harris, to go out and

    try out for the team, because I was better than anybody

    they had out on the playgrounds, in his opinion.

    HHC: You were at Nebraska for Danny Nee’s

    first season in 1986-1987, and you guys finished third

    in the NIT at New York’s Madison Square Garden after

    compiling a record of 21-12. Before we talk more about

    that season, talk about your relationship with Coach

    Nee, both during your times at Nebraska and after?

    DV: My relationship with Coach Nee was up

    and down. You know, the first year was okay. My senior

    year was not that good. I mean, me and him had battles

    the entire season, and I really never played up to my

    full potential my senior year. My junior year, I played

    exceptionally well.

    But my relationship with him was

    still more professional, and afterwards, it really

    wasn’t much of a relationship, because he never helped

    us further our careers, whether it be basketball or

    anything. Year after you were done, you were done, and

    there wasn’t much help with anything else.

    HHC: When was the

    last time you talked to him?

    DV: Oh, last time I talked to him, was

    probably a year or two before he left. I never really

    did come around the program too many times. I mean, I

    never had any bad or mixed words with him after the

    fact, but it was more of just a “Hey, how you doing,”

    type of thing. And that was the extent of it afterwards.

    It was never “Hey, help me do this,

    or guide me.” Outside of getting us to get degrees, that

    was about it.

    HHC: Can you give us a colorful Danny Nee

    story or two to add to our ongoing collection?

    DV: Oh, well how about the time he kicked

    me out of practice for three days, have you heard about

    that? (Laughs)

    HHC: No, but please

    share!

    DV: Oh, that was my

    senior year, and we had a confrontation at the beginning

    of the year, about me and my position on the team and

    where I was going to be playing. And he permanently

    wanted to play me at the 4, and I was not totally

    agreeing with him. I was like, “Okay, I’ll play a

    little, but I need to play the wing as well.” I didn’t

    want my back to the basket the whole time.

    But that’s how it got started, and

    he kicked me out. I’m trying to think if that was the

    actual first day of practice, or the second.

    HHC: How’d you get

    back in?

    DV: Oh, eventually, I think it was Henry

    T., and he told me that I needed to come back and do

    what he says, and play the position he said. And that’s

    what I eventually did, but I think I was gone for a

    couple of days. And we really didn’t have any

    communication to iron it out, really, it was just,

    “Okay, I’m back, I’ll play your style.” He wasn’t happy,

    so I was never happy that senior year. It’s not that I

    didn’t want to play power forward, it’s just that I

    needed to play other positions if I wanted to further my

    career.

    HHC: As we mentioned, you guys went deep

    into the NIT that year, but before we talk about that,

    we want to hear what you remember about making the

    buzzer beating, game winning layup that you made against

    Kansas. The shot was in overtime, and ended a four-year

    time frame of not defeating the Jayhawks. Walk us

    through what you remember about that play and game?

    DV: Oh, that was a very good game. Dude, I

    definitely remember most of that game. That game, I

    didn’t score as much if I recall. One, they had Danny

    Manning guarding me, which is a tough guy to get around

    and shoot over, since he was so agile at that time. He

    didn’t have any knee problems back then.

    But about that play and that game,

    it was a back and forth and tight game the entire time

    it was played, and I remember that last play. It was

    designed to go to Bernard (Day) or a drive by one of the

    guards or pull up and shoot the ball - it wasn’t

    designed for me specifically.

    But I think Henry T. got the ball

    on the left side of the court and drove to the middle.

    And Manning was guarding me, and he pulled up to help on

    Henry, and by doing that, I snuck right behind to the

    basket and got the pass, which I knew would come. And

    the rest, as they say, was “history” on that layup.

    That was one memorable moment, and

    I don’t have any film of it, although I wish I did. But

    that was an incredible feeling, because I think Kansas

    was in the Top 5 at that time when we knocked them off.

    That was especially nice since I never got recruited to

    KU after my high school career, even though I was an

    honorable mention Junior College All-American, so that

    was sweet to hit that.

    HHC: And talk about your memories of the

    NIT and playing in New York City, especially since you

    were an All-NIT selection and led the team in scoring

    and rebounding for the tournament?

    DV: That tournament...that was an

    incredible feeling to be able to go to New York and play

    in Madison Square Garden, the Knicks home court. We were

    very competitive, and only lost the first game by three

    or four points. It was a competitive game back and forth

    throughout. Being able to play in front of a crowd of

    that size, and knowing that you’re on national

    television, since its only one of the few games

    remaining. Knowing everyone’s watching, knowing you’re

    representing your program and being able to get them

    some exposure, it was a great feeling, and also, so was

    being able to play well.

    Being able to play under pressure

    was great. I’m not afraid of pressure, and that’s one

    thing that’s always been true. I just wish we could have

    filled it and won the entire tournament, but the ball

    didn’t bounce that way.

    HHC: Talk about some

    of your teammates from that first year, especially guys

    like Brian Carr and Bill Jackman?

    DV: Brian Carr was a great player. He

    wasn’t a selfish player, and he ran the offense and was

    a great point guard. He made sure everyone was where

    they were supposed to be. He distributed the ball, and

    took his shots as well, which he was supposed to since

    he was a great outside threat. He was a really heady

    point guard, and I enjoyed playing just that one-year

    with him.

    Bill Jackman was a workhorse - he

    gave it his all in practice and in the games. He may not

    have been as talented as some of the big men in our

    league, as just about each school in the Big 8 had

    someone big who was real good. But, he played up to his

    capabilities and then some – he always gave 110% on both

    ends of the court. I enjoyed playing with him as well,

    and I always thought that Bill, or as we called him,

    “Bill the Mayor,” could have won it, because he was that

    popular. He came from Grant, but he was an extremely

    popular guy who went to Duke and came back. He would

    have fit well in Duke’s system too, just with the way

    they utilize the big man, because he could face the

    basket and pull up for a jump shot, and that’s the kind

    of big man that Duke likes to have.

    HHC: 1987-1988 proved

    to be a tough season, as you and Henry were the only two

    starters back, and Coach Nee was building for the

    future. As a team, you guys finished just 13-18,

    although a highlight of the season was again defeating

    (eventual National Champion) Kansas on a Beau Reid

    buzzer-beater. Is that what sticks out about that season

    most?

    DV: As far as good memories, yes. There

    again, that was a heck of a game, and Beau Reid made a

    great shot, right by our bench. Yeah, that was one of

    the things that stuck out in what was otherwise an

    uncomfortable year for me, because I was pretty much

    disgruntled the whole year. And even though I played, I

    look back and I don’t think I played to my full

    potential. I mean I played hard, but I still think that

    after looking back, had I not had all that animosity and

    anger about just playing one position, I think I could

    have given a lot more, which would have resulted in our

    win/loss record being a lot different than it was.

    I take the cards that I’m dealt,

    and I went ahead and played, and at that time, I was

    thinking why didn’t I just try and go pro after my

    junior year, because there were a lot of NBA scouts

    there watching. But I thought what was best for me was

    coming back to improve myself and skills in playing both

    slots, and then see if I could get a shot or tryout. But

    things didn’t work out as best they should have.

    And also, I had some stuff that I

    never received from the coach. I hate to bring up

    negatives, and like to stay positive, but it’s tough

    sometimes. That was a tough year, and especially going

    13-18, nobody wants to go out their senior year with a

    losing record.

    Sure, we did have a young team, but

    we were talented enough to be better than what we were.

    HHC: How difficult was it to end your

    college career on a sour note like that, especially

    after riding the highs of the previous season?

    DV: It was very difficult, because what we

    accomplished the first year, all my thoughts were that

    it was going to be better the next year. And we were 1

    or 2 games away from making the NCAA Tournament that

    first year, and I think it was between it was and

    K-State, and that’s when we lost to them in the Big 8

    tournament. And, they ended up with the selection.

    But it was very disappointing to

    see where we were the first year, and come back the

    second year and have a down year like that, because we

    expected better things and more things. So that was very

    disappointing, and like I said, you never like to end

    your career with a losing record like that. You’d like

    to be able to end on a positive note and not have a

    losing season. And you had to think about what your

    options would be afterwards, and you knew you were on

    your own and had no help, so I continued to get my

    education and degree the following year.

    I wish I would have done some

    things differently, like come out with a positive

    attitude and keep things to my own. As I look back, I

    don’t think I was giving it my all, because I still had

    that animosity about only playing one position instead

    of multiple. So, I didn’t let that go that year, and I

    still had that chip on my shoulder.

    HHC: Both on and off the court, what do

    you remember most about UNL?

    DV: Off the court, the environment, the

    atmosphere of the student body. I enjoyed my time here.

    Lincoln is not a huge town, but it’s a nice college

    town, and you’ve got quite a few things to do. Of

    course, you can always get into trouble no matter where

    you are, but with Lincoln, I enjoyed myself and never

    really got into any kind of trouble. It’s a good college

    atmosphere.

    HHC: And finally, what has Derrick Vick

    been doing since 1988?

    DV: After college, I got my degree and

    started working for Commercial Investment Property,

    which is a local real estate company, and they are still

    around, the big dogs on the block here in terms of real

    estate and property management. They own quite a few

    properties in and around Lincoln. So, I worked for them

    for 10 or 11 years. And then I started working for State

    Farm as insurance. (Pauses) What son? (Laughs)

    HHC: You there?

    DV: Yeah, (Laughs) my

    son just said that I had him in that time too. (Laughs)

    But yeah, then I went to work for State Farm Insurance

    working catastrophe claims, so anytime you hear

    catastrophic laden events, that’s where I’m at. I was

    just in New Orleans and just left last week, and had

    been there since early September.

    HHC: What was that

    like?

    DV: Worse than you can imagine. You can’t

    imagine the devastation. Sure, the pictures tell you one

    thing, but actually being there and being in it and

    going around and see it - wow.

    Imagine Omaha and Lincoln combined,

    devastated. Everything from electricity being taken

    away, water, housing, you name it, nothing was

    available. Just imagine what everything would be like

    coming to a screeching halt. No university, no

    hospitals, no nothing. And I was down there September 2nd,

    which was early, right after it first happened, and it

    was incredible. Just the amount of flood waters with

    homes being 10 feet under water, and just sitting

    underwater. The flooding came and never went away, it

    came and it stayed.

    HHC: Puts a new

    perspective on life, I’m sure.

    DV: For sure.

    HHC: Hey, would you

    be cool taking some e-mails from our readers if we set

    you up an account at

    [email protected] ?

    DV: Yeah, for sure.

    HHC: Awesome.

    Derrick, thanks a lot for taking the time to join us.

    Anything you’d like to add or say to the fans of

    Nebraska?

    DV: Nope, tell them that I’m still around

    and enjoying Lincoln. Keep rooting and keep wishing for

    the best. Our program is still looking to improve, and

    we’re working on that, so stay supportive.<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">



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