Nebraska joined the Big Ten last season and won just four conference games. Since the end of last year’s overall 12-18 performance, the school dismissed head coach Doc Sadler and lost players who accounted for about two-thirds of the team’s minutes.
Most of the player minutes were lost to graduation, but the roster also took a hit over the summer with lesser used players leaving the program for various reasons ranging from medical issues to a dismissal.
The Huskers hope to feel growing pains throughout the upcoming year. While seniors Brandon Ubel, Dylan Talley and perhaps injury-prone Andre Almeida will look to lead this squad, Nebraska needs others on the roster to progress.
This season will be painful for Nebraska, but as long as there are some beneficial growing pains mixed in with the pure frustration of another year in the cellar, new head coach Tim Miles will find things to build on in the future.
Glass Half Full
Ubel is a nice player. The 6’10” senior was forced to be play a bit out of position last year (staying inside more than desired), but should be able to get out on the perimeter more this year. He’s never attempted more than 28 three-pointers in a season, but may get a chance to show his deep range more often in 2012-13. Lots of room to increase his usage and I think he can still be a highly efficient offensive player who shoots for a good percentage even with a big boost to his workload.
As a junior, Ubel showed big improvement on the offensive boards and in cutting down his turnovers.
New Head Coach
Tim Miles came over from Colorado State after five years as their head coach. Coach Miles has a number of Minnesota ties and brings in former Gopher cager Ben Johnson as one of his assistants. Miles is a likable coach and provides an energy boost to a program that needs it.
Glass Half Empty
There’s no way around it – this team does not have the talent to compete in the Big Ten this year.
- Realistically, in the near future Nebraska would like to be in the position of feeling like they have a reasonable chance of getting onto the NCAA bubble each year. This is a program that has never won a tournament game and has gone dancing just six times.
- Walter Pitchford (Florida) and Terran Petteway (Texas Tech) transferred into the program this summer and will be eligible to play in another year. Pitchford is a big 6’10” forward who could wind up being fairly good for the Huskers.
- The 2013 recruiting class looks promising and the Huskers still have spaces to fill. Solid combo guard Nathan Hawkins and former Minnesota Gophers target Nick Fuller, a 6’7” wing from Wisconsin, are joined by an interesting wild card in Tai Webster. Webster is a point guard from New Zealand and has looked good at times in international competition.
- Nebraska opened the $19 million Hendricks Training Complex one year ago, giving the basketball program an excellent practice facility.
- Pinnacle Arena is scheduled to open in Lincoln early next fall and will serve as the new (rental) home for Nebraska basketball. The cost of the multi-purpose arena is estimated to be approximately $180 million and will hold events throughout the year.
A Look Back at 2011-12 Preseason Preview Quote(s)
“Up front, junior Brandon Ubel started 10 of the team’s final 12 contests and may get a chance for more minutes this year. His offensive Value Add would say he’s the top returning offensive contributor from a year ago and with a bulked up frame (now 6’10”, 240 pounds) to go along with good shooting range for his size, indications are that he could be a key contributor this season.”