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Connect and Compete – Alexis Markowski

Jeff Griesch

Nebraska Athletic Communications

Nebraska Gatorade and MaxPreps High School Player of the Year Alexis Markowski brings passion and competitiveness to the court every day.

Her passion for basketball exuded in her actions the past two seasons at Lincoln Pius X, where she led the Thunderbolts to back-to-back Class A state championships. Not only did the 6-3 forward/center average 23.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game in leading Pius to a 25-0 record as a senior, her fiery fist pumps, constant high fives and consistent vocal communication served as connecting forces with her teammates and intimidating factors to her opponents.

Now in her first summer on campus in preparation for her freshman season at Nebraska, Markowski is bringing that energy to the Huskers at the Hendricks Training Complex on a daily basis.

“I am a very passionate and competitive player. I have a desire in me to win,” Markowski said. “My first few weeks in terms of training and practicing have been challenging and fun. I am learning a lot of new things and getting better each day.”

Nebraska Head Coach Amy Williams said Markowski’s work ethic and competitive fire have emerged in summer practices and helping drive the energy level of the Huskers.

“As we watched Alexis compete the last few years for her Lincoln Pius and Lasers teams, we saw she was a winner who will lay everything on the line for her team,” Williams said. “That has been confirmed already this summer. She approaches each training opportunity as a chance to compete and improve.”

Markowski’s defining characteristics on and off the court are a perfect fit for Nebraska’s Connect and Compete mantra entering the 2021-22 season.

“I love the Connect and Compete philosophy,” Markowski said. “I feel that every girl on the team has bought into this philosophy and they compete hard at practice and connect after practice. I have been able to connect with every player and coach in this program. Everyone has been very helpful and welcoming, and it really is one big family.”

Markowski’s real life family has helped lay the foundation for her love of basketball and spread that love and connectedness to her teammates on every team she has been a contributor.

“I am so excited that I get to play in front of my home state, friends and family,” Markowski said. “My family has been at the center of my basketball life, and I can’t wait to see them all cheering me on in the stands.”

Her father, Andy, was a 6-8 forward on the Nebraska men’s basketball team from 1994-95 to 1998-99 and was a member of four postseason tournament teams as a Husker. A team captain in 1998 and 1999, he helped the Big Red to the 1998 NCAA Tournament. He was also a member of NU’s WNIT Championship team in 1996.

Andy served as the coach of her Nebraska Lasers teams from her earliest days of competitive basketball and was also an assistant coach at Lincoln Pius X. Alexis, the oldest of Andy and Jaime Markowski’s four children, also played alongside her sister, Adison, the past two years for the Thunderbolts, while sister Ava and brother Jake were always in the gym cheering for them.

“It was very important for me to stay close to home for my younger siblings,” Alexis said. “Not only do I get to see them grow up, but I get to see their games improve. I love that I get to hang with them whenever I want. I love being independent, but I still feel very close with my family.”

Now that her basketball family has grown to include the Huskers, Markowski is embracing the leaders of the Nebraska program.

“I feel that the leadership on this team is amazing,” Markowski said. “I have felt very welcomed and involved on this team. I just want to be the best teammate I can be and make everybody better every day.”

Coach Williams said Markowski’s work ethic is driving her improvement and a higher level of play for the Huskers.

“She is a worker who does not take possessions off, and that makes her a tough guard each day in practice,” Williams said. “We are loving her hunger to get better and her desire to win.”

Growth and improvement were cornerstones of Markowski’s high school career. As a freshman, Markowski missed the entire basketball season with a foot injury. Being forced to sit out the entire 2017-18 season had a major impact on Markowski’s approach to the game.

“I learned a lot during my injury. I realized that every day on the court is a gift and can be taken at any time,” Markowski said. “I also realized how much love I have for the game of basketball. Before my injury I took the game for granted.”

In her first high school season on the court in 2018-19, Markowski led Pius X to the Class A state semifinals by averaging 13.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. The sophomore also notched a Pius X single-season record 47 blocks to earn third-team Nebraska Super-State honors from the Lincoln Journal Star. She also earned the first of three straight appearances on the Class A All-Tournament team.

“My passion for the game grew tremendously after I sat out a year,” Markowski said. “After the injury, I had the mindset that you never know when your last game could be, so leave it all out on the court.”

After a strong offseason, Markowski took her game to another level as a junior in 2019-20, averaging 21.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game while powering the Thunderbolts to a 26-1 record and a Class A state championship. She tied the Nebraska Class A state tournament scoring record with 80 points over three games, matching the total of Nebraska Athletics Hall of Famer and the women’s basketball program’s first 2,000-point scorer, Maurtice Ivy.

But perhaps Markowski’s greatest improvements as a junior came on the defensive end, where she displayed the ability to challenge shots from corner to corner and at the top of the key while continuing to protect the rim.

She continued to provide a dominant presence at both ends of the court as a high school senior in 2020-21, despite the disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During quarantine I really focused on improving my lateral movements and getting in better shape,” Markowski said. “My senior season, I felt that my defense was much improved compared to my junior year.”

While continuing to show defensive improvements as a senior, Markowski also broke her own school scoring and rebounding records in her final season. In fact, she scored 22 more total points (582) and grabbed 10 more rebounds (325) in two fewer games (25) as a senior compared to her junior season (27). She earned her second straight appearances on the All-Nebraska and Super-State first teams, and her third consecutive spot on the Class A All-Tournament Team. She was voted the captain of the Class A All-Tournament team for the second time while leading the Thunderbolts to a second straight title by averaging 23.7 points and 19.3 rebounds over three tournament games. In a 47-38 state semifinal win over Omaha Central, Markowski erupted for 30 points and a season-high 27 rebounds, before adding 27 points and 19 boards against Fremont in the title game.

Her championship performance against Fremont, followed a career-high 42-point effort against Fremont on Jan. 2, 2021.

In just three high school seasons, Markowski amassed 1,484 points and 867 rebounds over 76 games.

True to her passion and urgency for the game and her overall competitive drive, Markowski is approaching her first collegiate season with her focus on getting better each day.

“I need to improve in every area of my game, but the biggest adjustment I will need to make is on defense,” Markowski said. “I also need to expand my post moves and use them to my advantage.”

Wise words for a hometown hero who just turned 18 years old and is hungry to play in front of family, friends and Husker fans for the first time as a collegian at Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2021-22.

“I cannot wait to play in front of all the Husker fans,” Markowski said. “We have the best fans in the country, and I have already felt the love from them.”

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