Nebraska’s ‘transfer portal’

Winter sports are approaching and the Central Eagles basketball team is preparing for a new start. With only two returning varsity players and a change in coaching staff. Despite the change, the Eagles are still looking up this season.  

After last season, head coach Eric Berhens resigned to become the athletic director at a new OPS high school, Westview. Omaha South assistant coach Bruce Chubick filled the Central position as head coach. With the disappointing record of the Packers in the 2021-2022 season. The rumor was that the entire South team would follow Chubick to Central. The Packers lost all but two of their players to schools like Westview, Millard North, Omaha North, and Westside. Only four came to Central.  

“I followed Chubick because he is a good coach and I feel like he will always lead me in the right direction,” senior guard Kamden Hutcherson said. “He has everyone in the right mindset to win and he wants his players to work hard.”  

The Eagles did lose a lot of their players from last season, not just seniors but some transfers as well. The junior varsity and reserve players did not disappoint last season and are ready to step up in the upcoming year.  

“In a perfect world you would love people coming back who have experience, but I also know the guys we have to fill in the holes and I trust that they are going to do a really good job,” said Coach Chubick Obviously, you lose Jayden Dawson, you lose PJ Davis and those are big holes to fill, but you don’t have to fill it with one guy, you can fill it with a couple and if it goes like I think it is going to go, our depth will be good, and it will help us a lot.”  

The Eagles worked to find replacements during fall league games and preseason workouts. Every Tuesday and Thursday, they lifted weights and on Monday and Wednesday, they did basketball drills at either Central or Blackburn. This has helped build up the team chemistry. During the fall, the boys went to football and volleyball games together. Teams work for this camaraderie because it positively affects the chemistry on the court.  

This has not gone unnoticed by Chubick. “The boys feed off of the good things they do, instead of being excited for something you do well, they are excited for each other,” he said. “The teams that have been the greatest have worked for and with each other, which is why they were as good as they were.” Working with each other is something the positive team relationship will help build.  

“I think this season is going to be different because everything at South was difficult, including our relationship with the coaches and with each other,” said junior forward and South transfer Devin Holman. “Now, we do everything together, which has built up the team chemistry a lot.”  

From 2011-2020, South won two state titles and there was only one season where the Packers did not make it to the playoffs.  Going back to the tournament is something Chubick wants to do at Central. The team plans to take the season game by game.  

Getting to state is not just about the team’s relationship, it is also about the amount of work being put in to get there. Hutcherson said, “If we want to win, we have to go hard at it from all angles, and I think we will be able to do that.”  

Chubick is an experienced basketball coach. He has played at the professional level and is an inspiration for the team. “They work really hard and that is something I did as a player and it is really hard for me to reconcile the guys who do not want to work hard,” Chubick said. “Because I’ve never seen someone really successful who did not also work very hard.”