Like a small traveling band that undertakes a coast-to-coast tour and builds crowds as it goes, Jeriah Horne increased his number of admirers over the course of the 2015 travel season.
I first observed him at the Jayhawk Invitational, which while not an official Under Armour event did enable Horne to establish his major conference credentials. He proved himself nationally on the Association circuit throughout the summer, averaging 17 points per game to by far lead KC Run GMC in scoring.
His recruitment initially involved a range of mid- and high-majors, but it would track for larger programs as the summer progressed. He cut his list to six schools in August — Nebraska, DePaul, Kansas State, Iowa State, Wichita State and Pepperdine — and, after taking several official visits, committed to the Cornhuskers on Thursday.
Horne stands out primarily on the basis of his inside-out scoring ability. He stands 6-7, 205 pounds and thus doesn’t need to add too much more weight for college, as he’s already very solidly built with a substantial lower body frame.
That enables him to create space inside and compensate for average leaping ability, and he’s also a solid rebounder who pulled down seven boards per contest for KC Run GMC.
His greatest offensive weapon is a turnaround jump shot. Horne is very comfortable from close-range all the way out to 17 feet, and atypically he also knocks in a healthy percentage from the baseline. Those are shots he’ll be able to get in college, and 51 percent shooting from the field illustrates his accuracy. He also buried 75 percent from the foul line.
He also hits some threes, but presently he’s more dangerous from medium-range. Still, he may be able to step all the way out past the stripe as he accrues experience with the Huskers.
Horne also passes the ball quite well which, combined with his shooting, makes him very effective in the high post. He spots cutters on their way to the basket and also rifles crosscourt passes to spot-up shooters. Additionally, he handles well enough (especially going right) that he can beat many opposing forwards off the dribble.
Beyond his physical attributes, he’s a very intelligent and instinctive player who actually led Run GMC in steals. He jumps passing lanes and does a great job reading the eyes of opponents.
Size and athleticism always have been the limitations Horne has had to overcome. He’s slightly small for the post at 6-7, yet not really a wing in terms of lateral quickness, and he doesn’t possess great straight-up leaping ability. Thus, finishing versus length could prove a formidable challenge against Big Ten competition.
His offensive talent should enable him to overcome that hurdle, but it’s defense where he could struggle against taller, more explosive opponents. Mastering a style that allows his strengths to shine will be key to his effectiveness in Lincoln.
Horne may not project as a superstar, one and done candidate or anything of the like, but I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t develop into a stalwart contributor for the program.
The Huskers have played stout defense during the Tim Miles era but continue to seek an offensive identity. Their splits last season were dramatic: No. 25 in adjusted defensive efficiency but No. 285 in offensive efficiency, according to Ken Pomeroy’s advanced metrics.
Their freshman class should help, but without question Horne’s scoring polish will be very welcome the moment he arrives on campus. How quickly he can earn meaningful playing time hinges upon his learning curve in terms of speed and physicality, but over the course of four seasons he should help bring the club’s offensive potency more closely into alignment with its defense.