After spending a year at Chadron State College, Scottsbluff’s Dru Kuxhausen is coming back home to play for Western Nebraska Community College for his sophomore year.
Kuxhausen said he missed Scottsbluff and wanted to play for a team that went to the national tournament and have a chance to experience that winning ways. Last year the Cougar men finished the year at 27-8.
“I played my first year at Chadron and there were a few things that just didn’t fit me at Chadron so I decided to transfer,” he said. “I think WNCC is a perfect fit and I am excited to come home and play.”
Kuxhausen said coming to WNCC was easy, especially after watching Trent Harris and Austin Hoffman, who Kuxhausen played with and against in high school succeed. Kuxhausen will have just one at WNCC as a sophomore.
“All the threes they shoot was a part of coming back. But, just watching the culture here because they have a winning culture, and they were at the national tournament a few weeks ago,” he said. “It was fun to see Trent and Austin succeed here. That played a big part to come here as well. It was cool to see what Trent did here so I want to do that.”
Kuxhausen is the first signing for next year for WNCC head coach Cory Fehringer. Last season, Fehringer guided the Cougars to the national tournament and their first Region IX title in 17 years. Fehringer said it is great to get a shooter like Kuxhausen.
“We were fortunate to have a glimpse of Dru when we were coming over to take the job and we thought he would be a good fit, but the timing of the recruitment didn’t go well,” Fehringer said. “The second time around he had an opportunity to see the brand of basketball we play and he has a chance to evaluate himself in our program. He can step in and help us be successful. With the players that we are losing with our sophomores, we thought it would be important to bring in some older kids as well. Someone that averaged 11 points a game in the RMAC is proven that he can play at the college level. For us at Western Nebraska, we want to get quality kids in love the game, want to compete, and want to bring home more banners and bring back home a ring.”
[Right after the press conference I spoke with Coach Fehringer about this big signing and what it means for both, Kuxhausen and his program. Obviously Dru brings plenty of offensive firepower along with him to campus]
Kuxhausen, who was the Star-Herald boys basketball player of the year his senior year, averaged 28.5 points in his final year of high school. Kuxhausen was a four-year starter for the Bearcats, where he scored a career 2,110 points, the most ever for a male or female player from the Panhandle and is 17th all-time among boys in the state. Kuxhausen helped Scottsbluff to the state tournament all four years, including playing for a championship in his junior and senior year. ,
At Chadron State, Kuxhausen started eight of 21 games, averaging 11.4 points a game. Kuxhausen netted just 37 3-pointers as an Eagle.
Kuxhausen knows he has to still get better to compete for playing time as a Cougar.
“I am excited to play with some of the dudes here,” he said. “I think there are a lot of athletes and talent here. I think it will make me a better player. I just need to expand my game where I can score in different areas and to be able to handle the ball. Junior college is a different type of game than Division II. Just adjusting to the physicality and just learning to play the type of basketball.”
Kuxhausen becomes the fourth person in his family to play for the Cougars. His grandma Janie Keller played basketball in the 1970s, his dad, AJ, played for the Cougars in the mid-1990s, and his aunt, Yoda Woods, played for the Cougars from 2004-2006. His dad and aunt both went to the national tournament when they played at WNCC.
“It is really cool that I get to play at the same place that my dad got to play at,” Kuxhausen said. “Also, my aunt Yoda [Woods] played here and my grandma played here. I think it is cool to be the fourth person in the family to play here.”
This is Fehringer’s first recruit for next year and he couldn’t be happier.
“We got off to a great start getting Dru. The rest of it will unfold as the season goes along,” he said. “We will do what we always do and that is try to get the best players ahead of themselves to help our locker room out first, take the floor and put on a Cougar uniform with pride. I can’t think of a better community to put a team in front of. We tell our guys all the time these people will pay to see you play, go out and give them what they ask for and play tough basketball – blue-collar basketball. We think that is what Dru has in him.”