Nebraska University is off to a strong start in the NCAA Basketball season. The Big Ten school holds a 6-1 record, including a key win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. This week, the team’s big man Andre Almeida was named Big Ten Player of the Week.
Almeida is a 6’11” senior center who is improving his play after missing all of last year’s season with a knee injury. Almeida won the award from his strong performance and career highs against ACC Conference foe Wake Forest. In the game against the Demon Deacons, Almeiada had his first career double-double and set a career high with 20 points.
On the season, Almeida is averaging 19.9 minutes per game. Almeida averages 9.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. The impressive thing for the big man is his increases in field goal and free throw percentage. Almeida’s field goal percentage is 66% and his free throw percentage has greatly improved to 71%.
Two things for Almeida to work on are his personal fouls and consistency. The big man averages 3.3 fouls a game and has seen valuable minutes missed as he sits on the bench in foul trouble. Almeida also needs to consistently put up big numbers in points and rebounds to help his team. In the game after Almeida’s award, he scored 8 points and added 2 rebounds against USC.
Before missing last season due to injury, Almeida was Nebraska’s backup center in 2010-2011. The Cornhuskers big man averaged 5.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 14.9 minutes per game. Almeida had a field goal percentage of 56% with a poor 54% free throw shooting percentage.
Prior to his time with Nebraska, Almeida was one of the top junior college players in the nation. In two years at Arizona Western College, Almeida averaged 13.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. The Brazilian born basketball player was also a member of the Brazilian Junior National Team.
Nebraska faces a huge test against the ranked Creighton Blue Jays on Thursday. Almeida has played a key role in the team’s impressive 6-1 record. The Nebraska big man will need to stay out of foul trouble against Creighton and have another double-double effort to pull off the upset.