Aussie Big Man Wastes No Time

The word got around about Aleks Maric and his coach's phone started ringing, but the 6-11 Aussie, who has NBA potential according to one veteran NBA scout, didn't waste any time in picking a college.

Aleks Maric didn't waste any time upon hitting U.S. soil.

The 6-11, 250-pound Australian senior center, who has fielded interest from the likes of Georgia, Temple and Purdue in the past week since arriving at Life Center Academy (N.J.), ended his recruitment almost as quickly as it began on his lone official visit this past weekend to Nebraska.

``I liked it as soon as I stepped off the plane," Maric said. "They treated me like family and it's a chance for me to come in and play right away in the Big 12."

Although few have had a chance to see Maric play, one long-time NBA Eastern Conference scout raved about his abilities.

``He has some NBA potential," the scout said. "He likes to play inside under the basket and can also step out and shoot 15-foot jumpers. He likes to bang and uses both hands, but he can step out and shoot it like Bill Laimbeer." However, Maric has more power than Laimbeer and is extremely skilled around the basket, according to Life Center coach Darryl Gladden.

``He's in better shape than any of my kids," Gladden said. "He's much more athletic than you'd think. He can run, is really good in the low post and also has nice touch. He's a high-major kid and is much better than I expected. Offensively, he's the best big guy I've ever had."

Maric averaged 10 points and 13 boards per game last season at the Australian Institute of Sport and was a member of the gold medal Australian under-19 team that competed in Greece this past summer.

``I just knew that this was my future home," Maric added. "It's a good situation because they added a really good guard from Florida who I can play alongside. Now we'll pull them (Nebraska) back where they should be."

The addition of both Maric and former Dillard (Fla.) 6-5, 210-pound wing Joe McCray, who is spending this season at Laurinburg (N.C.), gives the Cornhuskers arguably their best class in a decade – since they inked Andre Wooldridge, Erick Strickland and Jaron Boone back in 1992-93.

Nebraska assistant coach Scott Spinelli was instrumental in bringing both McCray and Maric on board. Now Barry Collier, Spinelli and the rest of the staff will focus its efforts on trying to land either IMG (Fla.) 6-8 forward Jerome Johnson or Marriott Charter (Md.) 6-9, 205-pound forward Jerome Habel.

``Schools just didn't know about him," Gladden added. "But when they see him, they aren't going to believe how good he is."

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