Western Nebraska Community College's Dru Kuxhausen is headed to the Division I level, living a dream of playing at the college's highest level after signing with McNeese State University.
Kuxhausen said he picked McNeese State because it gives him a chance to play away from home.
"It is pretty cool and something I always wanted to do," Kuxhausen said. "I am excited that I get to do it and Western Nebraska is a big part of that in getting me that opportunity."
Kuxhausen said he picked being a blue and gold Cowboy because they really wanted him.
"I choose McNeese State because I think it will be good for me to get away from home a little bit," he said. "I choose them because they recruited me the most among another school. It seemed like they wanted me the most of any other school so that is a big reason I went there. I also like the coaches."
WNCC coach Cory Fehringer said Kuxhausen has spent time at three different levels of college. Two years ago he played for Chadron State College and this year at the junior college level at WNCC. Spending time at WNCC helped Kuxhausen grow as a player.
"I don't think the level matters for a lot of guys. It matters about their competitive spirit. I think it matters about their commitment of getting better. Ultimately what role do you serve in the team to make them great," Fehringer said. "For Dru, he has a weapon that is hard to come across. But what he brings is his shooting and his is competitive spirit. Being an ultimate teammate, Dru was able to bring solidarity to our program with Jervay Green being as dynamic as he can be and Martin Roub as difficult as he is to guard, and with the other pieces that we had. I thought Dru was dynamic in his role and I think those are the same reasons that McNeese State loved him and came to see him a multiple of times with his weapon and tool."
His specialty was shooting from beyond the arc and the charity stripe. Kuxhausen made 50.9 percent of his long range shots (119 treys) and shot 89.1 percent from the free throw line (115 of 129). Fehringer said his shooting is something amazing.
"He has mastered it and he spent time in the gym in order to perfect it and now he gets to take those tools he has on to the Division I level," he said. "We are proud of him for the work he has put in academically and the work he has put in physically and mentally. He has gotten what he deserves and earned. Nobody gave it to him. He had to go out and take it night after night against quality opponents and a tough schedule."
Last season for the Cougars, Kuxhausen scored double-digits 27 times, clipped the 20-point mark 13 times, and scored 30 or more twice with a high of 33 points in a win over Northeastern Junior College as he helped lead the team to a 24-8 record and an appearance in the Region IX Tournament semifinals.
Kuxhausen was that same kind of shooting weapon at Scottsbluff where he scored 2,110 career points ranking him 17th all-time among boys in the state. He averaged 11.5 points as a freshman, 14.2 his sophomore year, 21.9 as a junior, and 28.5 his senior campaign. He earned first team all-state honors regardless of classification his senior season. He was also the Star-Herald Male Basketball of the Year his senior season.
McNeese State head coach Heath Schroyer is excited to be getting a scoring machine of Kuxhausen's talent.
"Dru is a young man who fills an immediate need in our program. His ability to shoot the three, stretch defenses and score the ball, are talents this team needed moving forward," Schroyer said. "He comes here from a well-coached, winning culture at Western Nebraska. His presence will make an immediate impact in our program. I couldn't be happier to have Dru in our program the next two years."