Throughout the day, we'll take a look back at iconic figures — one per school — from Big Ten's basketball past. The seventh installment:
Whatever happened to ... Nebraska’s Eric Piatkowski
Then: During an unprecedented run by the school’s football team (three national titles in four years), the “Polish Rifle” made it cool to root for Nebraska basketball. During his senior season, he led Nebraska to the 1994 NCAA tournament, averaging better than 20 points a game for Danny Nee’s Cornhuskers. The team earned a No. 6 seed but was upset in the opener by Penn. The Indiana Pacers noticed Piatkowski’s work, taking him with the 15th pick in the NBA draft.
Now: After spending more than a decade in the NBA, mostly with the Los Angeles Clippers, Piatkowski retired and returned to Nebraska. He worked as a television analyst on Nebraska games and had his No. 52 jersey retired by the school. Currently, Piatkowski lives in Omaha, Neb.
What they’re saying: “We found him up in South Dakota, a skinny kid. We redshirted him his first year and got him in the weightroom. He always practiced hard. Each year he got better. He was the first one at practice and the last to leave. A tremendous work ethic. He was very athletic. Once he got some muscle on him, he just kept getting better and better. A great offensive player, a tremendous shooter and a great teammate. He’s a wonderful guy. His longevity in the NBA is a testament to him.” — Danny Nee, former Nebraska coach