Then & Now: Terrance Badgett
Compiled By Dave Brandon
(Photo Courtesy NU Media Relations)
Terrance Badgett lettered at
Nebraska from 1993-1996, and played on some of the best
Nebraska teams of all-time. In fact, while at Nebraska,
Badgett played on three twenty win teams, including the
1993-1994 Big 8 title team, and the 1995-1996 NIT
championship team. Individually, Badgett finished his
Nebraska career in the top thirty of all-time scorers,
as well as top ten in blocked shots.
The 6’6” former forward recently
joined HHC to reflect on the good old days of the mid
1990’s, as well as the current times of the mid 2000’s.
HHC: Terrance, we
welcome you to HHC.
TB: Thanks a lot, I
love the site and am glad to help out.
HHC: Before we get to
your times at UNL, we want to reflect a little on your
high school career at Omaha South. As a senior, you
averaged 24.5 points per game and 11.0 rebounds, which
enabled you to achieve the 1991 Gatorade Player of the
Year honors. Also, in 1990, you lead your team to the
state championship, and have often times been quoted as
saying that was the best team you were ever on. Do you
still believe that in 2005?
TB: Yeah, I still
believe that. We were a whole bunch of individuals who
had a lot of talent, and we had two years before that
together when we were predicted to do well and didn’t.
The year we won state, we had six seniors, and the
seniors took it upon ourselves to step it up over the
summer in preparation. We played at the Air Force base
in Bellevue almost every day to get ready, which means
we played tough and were getting thrown around. It
really enabled us to gel and come together as one, and
taught us to come together and fight through adversity.
We really stayed together, and I think that’s what made
it the best team I ever played for, because nobody told
us to do what we did, we did it on our own.
HHC: Speaking of
Nebraska high school basketball, the talent level across
the state is not near what it once was. Why do you think
this is, and do you feel this will be a continuing
TB: I really feel
that it is down, and that being because of things like
the And One’s, the Street Jams, etc. I think it takes
away from the fundamentals and the essence of why you
love to play basketball. Now, you have more influences
of money and cars, which were not the personal goals we
had back then. For us, it was more about getting a
scholarship and perfecting your craft. You knew that in
order for you to be the best, you had to really work at
it and improve on every aspect of your game. I think
that is lost today.
HHC: Now, onto your
times at Nebraska. After a redshirt year in 1991-1992,
you began your career at Nebraska in 1992-1993, and
started seventeen games while being named to the Big 8
All-Freshman team. However, you guys ultimately had a
disappointing loss in the NCAA tournament, losing to New
Mexico State. In retrospect, was the loss to New Mexico
State the most disappointing moment in your career at
Nebraska? And, do you agree with the sentiment that you
guys “choked” in that game?
TB: Yeah, I agree. I
guess that is the most disappointing moment because we
went into that game and basically were stunned. We
weren’t prepared. When people say its tournament time,
people turn it up, and we found that out the hard way. I
remember their point guard had like seventeen assists
alone, and the whole experience was just really
As far as whose fault it was that
we weren’t prepared, I don’t think it was anyone’s
fault; we just didn’t expect them to come out to the
level of us. We were a little cocky, coming from the Big
8, so we thought we had a better conference and a better
team, and we didn’t take them 100% serious. We felt it
was a great situation for us to get a game and go to the
HHC: 1993-1994 saw
Nebraska win its first Big 8 tournament title, before a
tough NCAA tournament loss to a good Pennsylvania team.
Instead of focusing on more negative, talk about what it
was like in Kansas City during that amazing Big 8 run,
and what you remember about it?
TB: That run was
priceless. I will pick that as one of the top two
things (with the NIT) that we did. Piatkowski, Chubick,
Johnson, Chandler, all those people stepped up. It was
just unbelievable, the attitude that they showed and the
motivation, the focus, was all there. To be honest,
until the Big 8 tournament, I never thought Piatkowski
would be an NBA player. In the Big 8 tournament, he
blossomed, and he just took it over.
The best part was that we were
playing teams in the Big 8 that we had lost to during
the season and lost too badly, but once we got to the
tournament and started rolling, it was wonderful. I
would compare it to the team at Omaha South in 1990 – we
all came as one. It wasn’t about who was scoring or
doing what, it was whoever was ready to play. Everyone
did their part. That tournament WAS Nebraska basketball
– it was all one.
HHC: The 1994-1995
team made the second round of the NIT tournament and won
eighteen games, but it’s your senior season in 1995-1996
that people really remember. Before we talk about the
NIT championship, tell us what happened with the player
walkout as best as you can. What do you remember about
TB: I remember we had
been ranked eighteenth, and then lost like nine
straight. We felt there were players playing their
butts off and that we weren’t getting a chance to play.
Further, we felt that Danny wasn’t listening to the
coaching staff and us as players.
In retrospect, I guess the biggest
thing with the walkout was that … Well, there’s certain
things you experience, and Coach Nee’s credibility was
kind of taken away after that. As young men, you don’t
know exactly what you’re doing…I don’t know if the rest
of my teammates regret the walkout, but as a person and
a man, I know how much a reputation means to someone,
and I would never want to tarnish someone’s reputation.
Coach Nee did a lot of things that a lot of people don’t
know about – he always taught us professionalism before
basketball. He always taught us to be successful – we
took etiquette classes for almost six months our
freshman year – how to sit at a table, how to talk to
women…He gave us planners, backpacks, etc.
Even after the walkout, he was
upset at us but apologized – that’s when you know you
have a good leader and coach.
HHC: Now, what about
the NIT Championship. Talk about what it meant to bond
together as a team and make an improbable run after
overcoming the walkout. Is this more gratifying than the
Big 8 run?
TB: Yes, I would say
so… I can remember Tyronn Lue stepping up and saying,
“Lets do it for you guys.” It was wonderful. Actually, I
think that the key moment of the whole NIT run was when
we first got to New York and went to a dinner. Check
this out, this is how savvy coach Nee was. We went in
sweat suites to this fancy dinner in New York City while
all the other teams were dressed up for the nice ball.
Everyone looked at us like, “Who in the hell are they?”
We sat down, had a couple of bites, and got up and left.
We left on the bus and we were laughing hysterically
Coach Nee’s savvyness set the tone
before the tournament began. He basically said to us,
“Guys, we have worked hard to get here, now we are here,
and we are going to win the whole thing.” I think that
was one of the key parts of the run because it separated
us – we went through a lot that year and we decided
that, “You know, we’re different. We weren’t predicted
to do this, so let’s continue this.” We fought and
lifted the expectations of Nebraska basketball. We all
played our part of the team. Everyone shined from the
freshman to seniors, even Andy Markowski, Chad Ideus,
Leif Nelson, and Jason Glock. That’s what made it so
HHC: That was a
classic Danny Nee story, but we must ask you for
another. Give us another classic moment.
TB: (laughs) Alright,
how about this… Recruiting visit, I was paired to hang
out with Tony Farmer, who had a BMW Convertible and was
just hilarious. Farmer comes to get me from the hotel to
take me to practice, with snow on the ground and cold
temperatures. He has the convertible open, music
blaring, and we pull up to the gym… Nee looks and says
the most classic thing ever.
“What in the hell are you doing
Tony? This is a recruit! You’ve got to be the dumbest
banana in the bunch. I count on you to show him class
and professionalism and your driving around with your
top down on the convertible in the snow. I’m so sorry
Terrance, for putting you with him, please forgive him.”
(laughs) “Dumbest banana in the bunch.” I still laugh to
this day about that.
The thing about coach Nee was, he
always had little classic words and names for each
player, from Wald to Strickland to me. I want to say
something else about Danny real quick.
One thing he did a great job in was
that he was an okay coach, but he was a wonderful
friend. He was there for you and so supportive. I
remember I had surgery to have a screw put in my foot,
and I stayed at his house and I saw what kind of man he
was. He was wonderful off the court, just excellent. I
remember when my grandfather passed, he did his best to
open his arms to my family.
When I think about the walk out, it
stings me and is what I regret. I got caught up in the
moment and didn’t take time to think of what he did for
me. He made my Mom two promises when he recruited me –
that I would play for Nebraska and get my degree. I did.
He kept his promise on both things. One thing I have
learned in life is that a man is only as good as his
word, and that was his.
HHC: And what about
today? Where is Terrance Badgett at, and how did he get
TB: I was fortunate
in that I got to play professional basketball for four
and a half years after college. I played in Taiwan,
Ireland, Oshkosh Wisconsin of the IBL, Sioux Falls, San
Diego of the ABA, Frankfurt Germany, Kansas City of the
ABA, and my last tour was the best of all; I played in
the Phillipines and did great over there, leading the
league in scoring.
During those four and a half years
that I played, I lived in Sacramento, before coming back
to Nebraska in 2002. Since then, I have been working for
the Omaha Home for Boys. I started off as a case manager
and got promoted to a consultant about seven months
later. I’m about to earn my masters degree, which I
never thought I’d do, and I’ll graduate in December of
this year. It’s been wonderful, the tools I’ve learned
and I just continue to grow. You can never stop
learning. I’m still not married, no kids or anything,
but I’m preparing myself. (laughs)
HHC: (laughs) Well
good, maybe we can play matchmaker. We’re going to set
up an e-mail account for you at
[email protected] so you can
communicate with our readers. Maybe someone can set you
TB: I’ll absolutely
take e-mails – I love the fans and people of Nebraska.
I’ve never had a chance to thank them all, and I want
to. I don’t feel my teachers, coaches, and fans know
what they did for me in my life. I just want to say
thanks for all the great years, and for all the great
people I have been able to relate and talk to through
autographs and such. I hope everyone knows how much they