Fuller preps for Nebraska

Scoring 598 points and averaging 24.9 points per game as a senior, Nick Fuller set a Sun Prairie school scoring record by finishing his four-year varsity career with 1,938 points.

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. – As he watched the final games of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association boys basketball tournament in mid March, Nick Fuller couldn't help but be a little discouraged.

After all, the Cardinals were ranked in the top 10 in the state's highest division for most of the season, won a conference title and won more games than any Sun Prairie team in over 40 years. But after being bounced in the second round of the playoffs by a conference rival it beat twice during the regular season, the thought of not reaching the team's ultimate goal left a sour taste.

Fortunately for Fuller, the bitterness didn't last long. He had more important things to do, like prepare his mind and body to be a key member of Tim Miles' rebuilding project in Nebraska.

"I had to look to the future," said Fuller. "It didn't end the way I wanted, but I had to get back at it, start working out and get better for Nebraska."

Fuller is the highlight recruit of Miles' second recruiting class in Lincoln that includes small forward Nathan Hawkins (Rowlett, TX) and shooting guard Tai Webster (Auckland, New Zealand). Rated the 25th-best small forward in the country by Fox Sports Next, Fuller brings a pedigree unmatched by few seniors in the Madison area.

Scoring 598 points and averaging 24.9 points per game as a senior, Fuller set a school scoring record by finishing his four-year varsity career with 1,938 points. He also shattered the Big Eight conference record of 1,669 points set by Madison Memorial's Jeronne Maymon (2009).

"He's an offensive machine in many ways," Fuller's coach, Jeff Boos, said to the Sun Prairie Star. "He can score in many different ways. He's been an integral part of helping move this program to the level to where it has been. He's been that offensive guy that has been able to move you along. It's a big thing."

Fuller – along with sophomore point guard Nick Noskowiak (one of the state's top young players for 2015) and junior Craig Evans (a highly-touted football recruit who has offers from Wisconsin, Nebraska, others) – broke Memorial's 31-game conference winning streak on Feb. 1 and gave the Spartans their 10th conference loss in 10 seasons.

That paved the way for Sun Prairie to win a share of the school's first conference title in 37 years, and first in the Big Eight, with Memorial – winners of the last 10 conference championships.

"One of my goals this whole season was a Big Eight championship," said Fuller. "We accomplished something that never happened at Sun Prairie, and something we really worked for. That banner will always be up there, and we'll always be the first team to do it."

Despite having scholarship offers from Creighton, Marquette, Milwaukee and Toledo by May 2011, Fuller was yearning for Big Ten scholarships, including one from Wisconsin. Despite averaging over 20 points per game as a junior and earning conference player of the year recognition, Fuller's interest from the Badgers – whose campus is approximately 20 minutes from his high school – never really materialized into anything more than a few conversations and a couple home football games.

Enter Miles, who had known about Fuller when he was at Colorado State. After taking the job in Lincoln, Miles reached out to Fuller to gauge his interest, spent the summer going to virtually all of Fuller's AAU games and extended him a scholarship offer that outshined Minnesota, Illinois, Butler and others.

"Big Ten basketball was something I always wanted to play," said Fuller. "It really didn't matter where it was. He (Miles) really showed me how interested he was. That was guy I wanted to play for, and who showed me the most interest."

Fuller waited until a campus visit August 10th to give Miles his commitment pledge in person, committing on the same day as Hawkins. From that point on, Fuller was an avid observer. He visited Lincoln when Nebraska hosted Wisconsin, watched them stay competitive after five straight losses began conference play, beat Minnesota in the final game of the Bob Devaney Center and beat Purdue in Chicago for the school's first conference tournament win.

He even snuck into the Kohl Center to cheer for the Cornhuskers behind their bench when they came to Madison in February.

"To see what kind of year they had despite low expectations throughout the year, they worked really hard," said Fuller. "I watched a practice and saw how hard they worked. They wanted to make the postseason. They tried as hard as they could. They really progressed throughout the year.

"Coach Miles had the players believing they could win and they did win some big games. Coach Miles teaches toughness and they proved they can play with toughness. The fan base is really getting excited and jumping on board, seeing that something special is in the making."

While the Big Eight may be one of the best conference in the state, Fuller knows the intensity will vastly increase when he gets thrown into the Big Ten. Doing extra lifting and quickness drills, Fuller is expected to arrive on campus June 10.

Ironically, it's virtually the same type of exercises he did after his junior year, which caused his game to explode on the AAU circuit that generated the original interest from Nebraska.

"The Big Ten is a fast, physical game," said Fuller. "I am just trying to work on my all-around game with shooting, dribbling, taking it to the basket hard to try and get myself prepared the best I can."

With a goal to put himself in the best position possible to contribute next season, Fuller's ready to chase his Big Ten dream, hoping to end another school's long title drought.

"The Big Ten is one of the top conferences," said Fuller. "I am just going to work hard and try to prove myself. I want to play good and help my team. I want to help rebuild and make them into a winner down there."

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