Senior forward ready to lead men’s basketball team


Darrian Nebeker averaged 18 points in the first two games. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff


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Darrian Nebeker, a transfer from Snow Junior College in Utah, has made his mark on the UNK men’s basketball team over the last two seasons. He leads the team in not only 3-point shooting percentage, but also off the court.

In the 2021-22 season, he was one of three players to start all 28 games and averaged 34 minutes a game.

“He’s been with us for three years because of COVID-19, he’s getting an extra year,” said UNK basketball coach Kevin Lofton. “He played two years at a junior college, he’s progressively gotten better. He’s always been very coachable and always goes hard.”

The transition to a new place to call home was easy for Nebeker. He enjoys his time at UNK and the community of Kearney as well.

“The initial transition was pretty crazy,” Nebeker said. “When I was transferring, it was kind of right at the peak of the pandemic so nobody could take any visits. So really I was just taking my chance on photos that I’d seen of the campus. Once I got here, the transition was really easy. The community was super inviting, all the athletes got along, so it was easy to be here.”

Nebeker also took on a new team dynamic and is a great leader for the Lopers. The 6-foot-6 forward led the team with 129 assists last season.

“He leads more by example than vocally,” Lofton said. “He, not everyone, is really good at being vocal. He does when he needs to, but by example. He works extremely hard in practice, he’s very coachable, he is really a leader on and off the floor.”

Nebeker is a construction management major at UNK. He has high hopes for his future after his career is finished.

“Right out of college, I plan on being a project engineer somewhere,” Nebeker said. “Later down the road, I hope to own my own residential construction company and build some homes.”

The audience, friends and family can help an athlete’s career. Nebeker has a good support system behind him.

“My mom is my best supporter,” Nebeker said. “She has always been there helping out no matter what we’re doing.”

Nebeker has made his mark at UNK with 27 steals and 16 blocked shots last season.

“He’s always where he is supposed to be when he is supposed to be there, doing the right things,” Lofton said. “Once he gets there in the classroom, he does a solid job there. So I couldn’t be more proud of him. I’m hoping he can stay healthy this year and put together a really good year for us.”