Moe’s superstar Shelley signs on

Buckets: Jaz Shelley led her College team in scoring during the 2022/23 season. Photograph supplied




ONE of Moe’s greatest claims to fame is the dynamic college basketball star Jaz Shelley, who will return to the Nebraska Cornhuskers women’s basketball program for a fifth and final season.

With an extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shelley had a decision to make.

The Australian native could have decided to pursue professional options, likely back home, or play one more year for the Huskers.

She chose the latter.

Shelley’s motivation to go back for one more year of college basketball comes from a feeling of unfinished business and a drive to exceed expectations.

“I guess I’ve always kind of had that underdog feeling coming from Moe. We’re not always expected to do a whole lot,” the star basketballer said.

Starting her career at the Moe Meteors, she quickly moved into the Big V and even captained her Under 16’s Victoria Country team.

By 2016, she moved to Canberra to train full-time at the Australian Institute of Sport.

In April 2017, Shelley led Victoria Country to it’s first Under 18 national title since 2000, recording 13 points and five rebounds in the final.

Shelley played with the Melbourne Boomers of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) for the 2018-19 season.

She was voted WNBL Rookie of the Year after assisting the Boomers to the playoffs.

She was named Basketball Victoria’s Junior Female Athlete of the Year in 2018.

Shelley signed with the Geelong Supercats of the NBL1 for the 2019 season and led her club to a runner-up finish by averaging 10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game.

“I’ve always liked the challenge; I’ve made a lot of Australian teams as a double bottom age and bottom age when I wasn’t expected to and stuff. I think growing up in those environments and challenging myself when the opportunities come,” she said.

Shelley was considered a three-star recruit and 28th-best point guard in the 2019 high school class by ESPN.

Colleges fought over Shelley, but she ultimately chose Oregon over offers from Oregon State and Nebraska in October, 2018.

At Oregon, on December 16, 2019, she made her first career start after previously playing off the bench, Shelley scored a career-high 32 points and set a program single-game record with 10 three-pointers in an 84–41 win over UC Riverside. Her Oregon Duck’s team were among the favourites to win the 2020 NCAA tournament, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a sophomore, she averaged 4 points, 1.9 assists and 1.7 rebounds per game.

In 2021, Shelley announced that she would transfer to Nebraska, and play in the Big 10 conference.

Moving from Oregon to Nebraska was a “hard process to do and an even harder decision to make,” Shelley said.

“Because I’m so far away from home, I definitely wanted somewhere that felt like a home away from home, we had a lot of players and coaches leave, so it didn’t feel like my place.

“I grew up with Izzy Bourne, she is another player on the Nebraska team, so I pretty much got in contact with her and found Nebraska as my home.”

Shelley has led the Huskers in points, assists, and steals in each of her two years for the Huskers.

The 5-foot-9 point guard started all 33 games for Nebraska this past season and is fresh off of averaging team highs of 14.5 points, 6.2 assists and 1.7 steals and 4.8 rebounds per game.

In her time at Lincoln, Shelley has also hit 154 3-pointers on over six attempts per game.

“My experience has been incredible; I’m really happy with my decision to go to college, and I’m also happy about the decision to come back for my fifth year; I think my team is really capable of something, so I’m excited about that,” said Shelley.

Head coach Amy Williams welcomed Shelley’s decision to return for another year of college, as Shelley has been a cornerstone of the team for the past two years.

Shelley transferred to Nebraska, where she has seen great success.

She earned a first-team All-Big 10 selection in 2023, the first player to do so under Williams at Nebraska.

Shelley would have declared for the WNBA Draft if she hadn’t decided to return to Nebraska.

She also could have gone home to Australia and played professional basketball.

“Our team is hoping that our team can make the NCAA tournament again, which is really hard to do, we did it two years ago, and we fell short of those goals last season, so that’s one of the big reasons why I wanted to come back as well,” Shelley said.

The Huskers will look to return to the success they enjoyed in Shelley’s first season in Lincoln.

After making the NCAA Tournament in 2022, the Huskers finished off this year’s campaign 18-15, advancing to the Super 16 of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) before falling to Kansas 64-55.

On the court, Shelley wants to improve some parts of her game, such as scoring at the basket and shooting a higher percentage on midrange shots.

She’ll work on that when she returns to the United States on July 1.

“My biggest goal in life is to get drafted, and that will hopefully be after this year, so we’ll see what comes of that, and I want to come back and play WNBL and come back in Australia for however long. I’m just really excited to come back and play Australian basketball,” Shelley added.

One way Shelley’s decision differs from some other fifth-year players is that she doesn’t have the same opportunities as other top college players to earn NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) money due to her student visa. Shelley says Nebraska’s compliance department continues to look into NIL opportunities for international athletes.

“Pretty much I’m on a student VISA so I can’t be paid for any working experience, and NIL stands for Name, Image and Likeness, and companies can pay me to promote their business or do a service for their business or camps and sell their merchandise, but I can’t do that while I’m in the United States so I have a certain period of time when I come back home to Australia where I’m open to all NIL activities,” she explained.

Shelley could sell merchandise with her name on it online during her time back home.

Having advocated for the rights of International Students in college basketball, Shelley enjoys standing up for what she believes is right and uses her public platform to raise awareness.

“Since the NIL stuff happened, I think a lot of internationals have looked at me as an advocate for all that, because I have a platform. I think it’s important to be able to use it in positive ways,” she said.

“I think that came from when I was in Oregon, you know, the whole weight room incident, I was a part of that, I was really close with Sedona, who posted the TikTok about it, so I was there and lived that experience so I think a lot of that came from that and how much you can really use your voice and platform to get the issue out there,” she said.

Oregon forward Sedona Prince posted a video of the NCAA women’s tournament weight room, which consisted of a single set of dumbbells.

The video then showed what she said was the men’s tournament weight room, which was stocked with rows of weights and training equipment.

The video attracted widespread outrage as people were shocked at the inequality in women’s college basketball.

The NCAA did apologise due to the widespread backlash.

Shelley is a superstar in Nebraska and many young children idolise her and the Huskers’ team as their sporting heroes.

“We don’t have any professional sports in Nebraska so there’s a lot of young kids that look up to our student-athletes, those little kids who play basketball look up to us and our basketball team. We’re kind of like the epitome of who they want to be, I think realising that, I’d do a lot of work with those kids,” she said.

“We sold out a game, I think it was 12,500 people at a women’s basketball game; I think the support around it is real.

“We don’t have any pro sports teams, so we get fans and support for our games,” she explained.

The decision to stay at college for another year was hard for Shelley, who misses home soil but also wants to pursue a WNBA career.

“I only come home once a year, so it’s definitely hard,” though going to the AIS before college, Shelley has gotten sort of accustomed to being away from home but does miss her family. As the hardest challenge to get through in her college basketball experience for Shelley was “definitely being away from family,” she said.

Shelley loves coming home to support local talent and especially to watch her siblings play in NBL1, with an older brother in Ringwood’s team and her younger brother playing for Mt Gambier.

Moe never forgets their most famous Meteor and always welcomes her back with open arms.

“When I went back, I think it was last year, seeing just how much the Moe girls still watch my games, and I had no idea that they would even know who I was. It was a good feeling,” she said.

Shelley was super stoked to host her first school holiday training camp back in her hometown at Moe’s STADIUM 34’s new basketball training facility.

On the school holidays kids from as young as seven all the way to 18 had the opportunity to be taught a range of fundamental basketball skills by Nebraska’s best player.

Taking to twitter Jaz Shelley said, “I am thankful for all the young kids who showed up, you guys were awesome. Big thanks to Stadium34 for allowing me to use your incredible new facility.”

“Being able to connect with them and stuff and realise how much of an impact I had on them made me want to go back and visit them and do those camps,” Shelley said.

If you would like to learn more about STADIUM 34’s new facilities head to

Return: Shelley opted to do a fifth year of college basketball after the option was granted to all college athletes due to the break from COVID-19.
Home grown: Jaz Shelley (middle) recently hosted her first school holiday training camp back in her hometown at Moe’s STADIUM 34’s new basketball training facility.
Photographs supplied