Texas set for a reunion with Miami guard and former Big 12 First-Teamer Nijel Pack

Christina Huang, Sports Editor

Texas is no stranger to Miami third-year sophomore guard Nijel Pack.

Pack, formerly of the Kansas State Wildcats, made an uncontested layup in the last 90 seconds of Kansas State’s game against Texas at the Frank Erwin Center on Jan. 18, 2022. Whether there was miscommunication between the Longhorns or if they were simply bested by the Wildcats, Pack’s layup ended up being the last points of that game. Final score? Kansas State 66, Texas 65. 

Pack ended the 2021-2022 season with the Big 12 Most Improved Player award and First Team All-Big 12 honors. That same season, Bruce Weber, former Kansas State head coach, resigned from his position, and Pack hit the transfer portal while entering the NBA Draft. 

Now in sunny South Florida, Pack is seeing his decision to transfer pay off. Miami is back in the Elite Eight for the second year in a row, and Pack has been a big reason why the Hurricanes are still rolling.

“The weather is always beautiful obviously,” Pack said about coming to Miami. “But it was really these guys to the left and right of me. Their play is the main reason why I came. I wanted to be part of something special, something great.”

Pack is one part of Miami’s guard trio that’s led it to where it is now. Pack, along with fourth-year junior guard Isaiah Wong and fifth-year senior guard Jordan Miller, have created a strong bunch of guards that is similar to what Texas has going.

Marcus Carr, Sir’Jabari Rice and Tyrese Hunter can step up on any given night for Texas. Pack, Wong and Miller pose the same threat for the Hurricanes. 

Pack exploded for 26 points in Miami’s upset over Houston on Friday night. Wong put up 20 points and Miller had 13 of his own. 

While the former Kansas State guard is enjoying his new life at Miami, he’ll be recalling games against a former Big 12 opponent this weekend. 

“They have a really good team, especially from the times that I played against them,” Pack said about Texas. “Some really good guard play, especially two guards out of the Big 12 that I’ve also played against. Now they’re teamed up together.”

On the other hand, Texas is also expecting a tough matchup against Pack.

“We understand the caliber of player he is,” graduate guard Carr said about Pack. “He’s playing really well at a high level right now.” 

Hunter also knows to expect a good fight out of Pack. During his time at Iowa State last season, the Cyclones split the season series against the Wildcats. Just like the Longhorns did. 

The history between Pack and the Big 12 runs deep, but on Sunday night, Texas and Pack will have another shot at each other on the biggest stage in college basketball.