Local prep star drawn to Nebraska’s Huskies

Former St. Louis Park High School standout and current University of Nebraska forward Kendall Coley during a 70-67 Big Ten women’s basketball victory against the MN Golden Gophers on December 6, 2021 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. Nebraska won 70-67.
Photo by Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

Watching his youngest daughter play college basketball should be as comfortable as old shoes for Tylor Coley. He watched his older daughter Chase Coley play at Iowa, and now he is usually in the stands to watch Kendall Coley in her first full year as a Nebraska freshman.

“I’ve been up in Lincoln, Nebraska 14 times alone—a 12-hour road trip,” said the proud father during halftime of the Dec. 6 Huskies-Gophers contest at Williams Arena.  

The 6’2” forward-guard graduated early from St. Louis Park and enrolled early in mid-January of this year because she had more than enough credits to graduate and because the Minnesota high school basketball season was delayed by the pandemic. Kendall committed to Nebraska in April 2020 as the top-rated player in the Huskies’ top-25 recruiting class.  

She played both volleyball and basketball at St. Louis Park, an All-Metro West Conference performer as a junior, which concluded her final high school season.

Kendall immediately was eligible and saw her first collegiate action on January 28. She averaged around eight minutes a game in 12 contests, including four postseason games (Big Ten and WNIT).

Coley’s first college game back in her hometown in front of her family, friends, and other well-wishers saw her collect an assist in Nebraska’s three-point road win over the host Gophers. She afterwards told the MSR, “At first it was a little nerve-wracking, but I was really excited to see all my friends and family here.”

The young lady first played at the Barn Feb. 24, a career night for her—six points on two three-point shots—but because of health protocols, her performance took place in front of an empty arena, as no fans were allowed.

Tylor said choosing Nebraska offered his daughter the opportunity to play in the Big Ten like her sister. “She just felt like [the school] is a good place,” Also, Kendall is good friends with Edina’s Kennedi Orr, who also attends Nebraska and plays volleyball. “They are kindred spirits,” Tylor noted. “They’ve been together for a long time.”

Kendall made the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll in the spring of 2021. She’s studying advertising.

“It’s really fun,” said the young woman on the Huskies’ season thus far.  

“They’re gonna be a tough out this year,” said Tylor.

 The sweet science

The Minneapolis Armory has since 2018 hosted seven nationally televised boxing cards featuring both local and national fighters. That includes last Saturday when Minneapolis native VeShawn Owens and Cuban-born and now Minneapolis-based David Morrell, Jr. both were in action.  

Morrell improved to 6-0 as he successfully defended his WBA world super-middleweight title with a fourth-round TKO over Alantez Fox, now 28-2-1. He was in control from start to stoppage. 

“Fox didn’t have the power to keep me off of him, so I knew that I had to take advantage of it,” explained Morrell afterwards. “I love fighting here in Minnesota.”

Owens, however, lost to Alberto Puello (20-0) in his first defeat at the Armory and his first nationally televised appearance. “I could never get in my rhythm,” he said afterwards. 

Puello landed 50% of his power punches as opposed to nearly 20% by Owens, now 13-3. “He was sharper than I expected. It was all me. No excuses—he was the better man.”

Unreported fact: All but one fighter, including Owens, who were in the red corner suffered defeat last Saturday. Light heavyweight Chino Hill fought to a draw with Suray Mahmutovic in a four-round preliminary bout.

About Charles Hallman

Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at challman@spokesman-recorder.com

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