Trevor Menke has become a fan favorite at University of Nebraska basketball games.
Last season, whenever the Beatrice native checked into a game late, the Devaney Center crowd would come to life and yell “shoot it” whenever Menke touched the ball.
On Tuesday, Nebraska head coach Tim Miles rewarded Menke for his hard work both on the court and in the classroom. Miles offered him a scholarship and Menke accepted.
“We’ve just been doing a lot of working out this summer and Coach Miles called me one afternoon and let me know what was up,” Menke said. “He said they were going to offer me a scholarship since one was available. It was crazy at first and I really couldn’t believe it. I told him ‘of course I’d accept it.”
Menke is living out his dream at Nebraska. The 5-foot-11 guard had enough talent to play at any small college of his choosing, but he chose to walk on at Nebraska, a team he has cheered on since he was a kid.
While many young Nebraska kids abandon the struggling Husker basketball team to cheer on championship-caliber teams such as Duke, Kansas and North Carolina, Menke never drifted away from the home team. He went to as many home games as possible with his dad and brother.
He’d even occassionally dart out of the locker room after a difficult Beatrice High School basketball practice so that he could get to Lincoln for a 7 p.m. Husker game. He said it never even crossed his mind to root for anybody but Nebraska.
Menke said that former Beatrice coach Jim Weeks lined up a meeting with former Nebraska coach Doc Sadler to see if Menke could walk on and play for the Huskers. Sadler agreed to it.
“Growing up, the Huskers were a big part of my families’ lives,” Menke said. “We went to Husker games all the time, whether it was football, basketball or baseball. I really didn’t want to go the small college route because Nebraska sports has just always been a part of my life. I couldn’t see myself playing for anybody else.”
Menke said he owes a lot of his success to Weeks and the Beatrice basketball program. Menke graduated from Beatrice in 2010 after leading the Orangemen to a state championship in 2008, runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2009 and a third-place finish in 2010. He started all four years for Beatrice.
Menke said Weeks, who stepped down from Beatrice to coach at Doane, taught him to work hard and play the game right.
“When things are going bad, I just need to keep grinding,” Menke said. “If I keep grinding, things will eventually work out. That’s what I learned from coach Weeks and things are really working out for me right now.”
Menke said he thinks his hard-working attitude, along with being a home-state kid, are reasons why Nebraska fans have embraced him so much.
Menke admits, however, that he doesn’t hear the crowd’s cheers during games because he’s focused on the task at hand. He said he knows fans have done it in the past, however, for home-state kids.
“I just think they like home-state kids and they know that when I do get in, I’m going to do whatever I can to not let anybody down.” Menke said. “If you look at me, I’m not the biggest guy, but a lot of people know that a kid like me from Nebraska understands Nebraska athletics and will play hard. I think that’s what they appreciate me for.”
Menke, who’s entering his sophomore season, said he’s going to enjoy the moment and take it year by year. He said he hasn’t set any specific goals for what he wants to accomplish in his remaining years at Nebraska.
“I just want to contribute however I can,” Menke said. “Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do it.”