Believe it or not, The Legend of Johnny Trueblood dates longer than the past 10 days.
This is before Trueblood, a (previously) seldom-used senior walk-on from Elkhorn, came off the bench to spark an improbable comeback victory against Iowa on Senior Day. Before his four steals against Rutgers and three-pointer against Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament. Before national sportscaster Andy Katz interviewed Trueblood in the halls of the United Center in Chicago.
We’re talking about a time before Trueblood even joined the Nebraska men’s basketball team, back when he was on his official recruiting visit as a preferred walk-on.
On that day, Coach Tim Miles walked toward his office in the Hendricks Training Complex. To his surprise, he found Trueblood, a high school senior, using Miles’ personal shower.
“He just helped himself,” Miles said, recalling the story Tuesday. “I walked down the hall, and he was in my shower.
“We have showers for players, showers for assistants, and he’s in my damn shower.”
Uhm, so what did Miles say?
“What do you say?” Miles retorted. “He’s got guts man. I like him.”
Trueblood grinned and turned a light shade of red as he confirmed the story. In his defense, Trueblood said a member of Miles’ staff had told him to use the private shower, as the players’ showers were fully occupied after they’d all played a pick-up game, and Trueblood was pushed for time.
“It wasn’t like I walked up there and said, ‘I’m going to use his shower,’ ” Trueblood said. “But yeah, Coach was surprised somebody actually got in his shower. It was kind of funny.”
To this day, Trueblood holds the dubious distinction of being the only person to use Miles’ shower on his recruiting visit.
Stories like these emerge when players like Trueblood rise to the forefront, especially at the conclusion of their careers.
Trueblood and the rest of Nebraska’s seniors have already been officially honored during Senior Day ceremonies, but they’ll have at least one more home game at Pinnacle Bank Arena, when Nebraska (18-16) hosts Butler (16-16) on Wednesday night in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament.
And to think, the last time Trueblood prepared to play what he thought was his last home game, his biggest claim to Nebraska fame was a career 100 percent 3-point shooting mark – with one successful attempt, as a freshman, against Rutgers.