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
Brandon Ubel 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
Reality 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.”
Earlier this month, LateNightHoops.com attended the USA Basketball Men’s Development National Team mini-camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. There, 44 of the country’s top players from the 2015 and 2016 high school classes were on hand to be introduced to USA Basketball and to be evaluated by the staff, who was led by head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City HS/Iowa City, IA). Coach Showalter has led the USA Developmental National Team to four straight gold medals as head coach from 2009-2012.
If you have questions or comments, including inquiries about other players that attended the camp but are not included in this article, please send us a message via our Contact Us page.
TWIN CITIES & SURROUNDING AREA TALENT
Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake, WI)
6’9”, 250 | Rice Lake HS | Class of 2015
October 2012 Notes
You may hear Ellenson called a center by some, but that’s selling him short. Physically he looks the part and he can certainly battle on the blocks, but his skill and athletic ability sets him far apart from other kids his size.
Henry is an excellent shooter with plenty of range well past the three-point line, but has also worked on developing his game on the blocks. Over the next few years he should be able to continue adding to his arsenal of offensive weapons, which is a scary thought for teams trying to defend him.
His strength and quickness are not areas of concern, but there is opportunity for him to be elite if these areas progress nicely over the next few years. In college, there is no reason Ellenson can’t be a 3/4 switchable type who can score at multiple levels and defend multiple positions.
Now, at this point in time you wouldn’t have him dribbling the ball all the way up the court on a 3-on-1 fast break, but there’s not a lot I’d give him a red light on doing.
At a minimum, he’s a very good college prospect. With hard work, I can see Henry winding up as a top 10 player in the 2015 class.
Other potential factors such as good coaches, supportive family and older brothers who also play basketball (the oldest brother, Wally, is a freshman at Minnesota and will be able to share his D1 experience and Henry’s father played college ball for Marquette and Wisconsin) all seem to favor the likelihood of success for Henry Ellenson. He’s legit and the sky is the limit.
Amir Coffey (New Hope, MN)
6’3”, 160 | Hopkins HS | 2016
October 2012 Notes
The first thing that stands out about Amir is his length and how well he uses it. With the ball, he’s able to create passing lanes and make plays that others can’t. On defense, his instincts combined with long arms result in frequent steals and deflections.
He’s a good scorer, but with more consistency and aggressiveness he could become excellent.
Coffey can play off the ball or at point and his ball handling, passing and feel for the game is especially propitious considering he’ll likely wind up standing a solid 6’7”.
I’m very high on the future prospects for Amir and can see him at the college level as a versatile wing and distinguished defender. Similar to Ellenson, Coffey’s family (father Richard played for the Gophers and his older sisters are excellent basketball players) and other factors should help him along the way.
With Amir now being just a freshman at Minnesota high school basketball powerhouse Hopkins and there being a special class of 2014 in Minnesota, it may be a little while before the masses recognize how good Coffey can be. Nonetheless, we here at LNH are sold and look forward to watching his progression over the next several years.
USA Basketball U16 Mini-camp, Selected October 2012 Notes – Public Version
Stone can be as good as he wants to be. The big man controls space inside, but it’s his hands and seemingly delicate touch when shooting that are most impressive. Elite prospect. Likeable demeanor and court presence, he’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. Great voice too – post-playing career as an on-air talent awaits Mr. Stone.
Guys I Want With Me in a Brawl – Horace Spencer (State: PA/Height: 6’8”/Weight: 210/Class: 2015) and Andrew Fleming (TN/6’4”/185/2015).
Spencer had me worried about his safety – unquestionably willing to sacrifice his body to make a big play. It often looks as if his life depends on denying the opposition’s shot. He’s absolutely a full tilt player with good length. Offensively he’ll clean up the glass and put it back, but has a lot of room for improvement with the ball. However, Spencer’s ability to run the floor, block shots and rebound, as well as his borderline-crazy effort earns his game a ton of respect.
Coming off the bench for M33M this summer, we saw Andrew Fleming at several tournaments across the country providing a spark for his team. Sometimes it was relentless defense or a hustle play to save a ball heading out of bounds. Other times it was a deep three or an aggressive drive the bucket where he was able to absorb contact and finish.
Fleming is a good shooter, big time worker and fearless. In Colorado, we saw more of the same – tireless effort from a very competitive kid.
Jaw Dropper – Harry Giles (NC/6’8”/205/2016)
Giles is no longer a slim, wiry young kid. It appears he’ll be able to add a lot of strength by the time he reaches college. Very athletic, runs the floor well and is everywhere on the court. Would think it may be difficult to get him out of ACC country, but schools should sure try. He’s excellent at this point, but I believe he’ll be ridiculously good in a few years. I’m sold.
Who is That?! – Malik Monk (AR/6’3”/170/2016)
Monk was not a guy I was there to see, but his play dictated that I had to watch him. Time and time again he impressed when finishing at the rim, pulling up for jumpers and passing. His athleticism really stood out on certain plays – had several “woah, he just did that?” moments.
Wise Beyond His Years – Josh Langford (AL/6’5”/200/2016)
Strong all-around player who made smart decisions throughout the weekend. I think he projects more as a 2/3, but I really liked what he did when making decisions with the ball in his hand. Will be interesting to see if he continues to hold an edge in court IQ as time goes on, but right now looks like a guy who you’d want as your team captain. Tough, strong and smart kid.
Other Selected quick comments:
Charles Matthews (IL/6’4”170/2015) – Matthews is 6’4” and a long combo guard who looked great scoring off the dribble. Worked with the point guards at USA basketball mini-camp and has the potential to be a dangerous point guard. May wind up as a wing, but if he becomes a good defender and continues developing his lead guard skills, he could be spectacular. Lots of possibilities for Matthews.
Simeon’s “next up” include D.J. Williams (IL/6’7”/186/2015) and Benjamin Coupet (IL/6’6”/180/2016). Both are long wings that can run and score in transition. Two to keep a close on eye.
Ivan Rabb (CA/6’8”/191/2015) is legit. Super active and a ton of fun to watch. It’s also obvious he’s having a lot of fun while on the court. Could wind up in conversation of top 5 in his class.
The camp’s youngest player Seventh Woods (SC/6’1”/168/2016) is unquestionably a superior athlete. Explosive. Has work to do if he’s going to play point in college, but at a minimum he’ll be one of the most athletic players in his class regardless of position. Head-shaking highlight-maker.
Eric Davis (MI/6’3”/161/2015) played a lot of point guard over the weekend, but he’s a combo guard that is always looking to score. His shot wasn’t consistently dropping this weekend, but he showed no fear in taking the ball to the rim against an impressive collection of lengthy wings and big men who were there to challenge him on defense. Quite animated and competitive. Lots of Big Ten interest.
Josh Jackson (MI/6’6”/175/2016) passes the eye test with his length and athleticism. Sunday morning during a four-on-four fastbreak/transition drill he fired up the entire gym with an impressive two-way display. First on offense, he drove the lane and slammed home a contested dunk. Quickly, his team had to turn their attention to defense. Jackson turned on the jets for a sprint down the length of the floor and leaped high off the ground to block a dunk attempt from behind, drawing cheers from all of the players and setting the tone for the session.Not sold on his jumper, but he was effective slashing to the bucket this weekend. Length and quickness allows him to come up with blocks, steals and boards in bunches. Loads of realizable potential; future impact Big Ten player?
Minnesota Pump N Run and Edina (MN) high school point guard Graham Woodward has committed to Penn State. The 2013 floor general would have attracted more early attention from high majors if he were taller, but eventually many schools decided they couldn’t help but take interest in the under-six-foot guard after a strong summer.
LateNightHoops was in Las Vegas in July and witnessed an impressive run to the final four of the adidas Super 64 by Woodward’s Minnesota Pump N Run 17U squad. 2014 F Reid Travis is the more well known name on that team (and rightfully so), but in several games during the tournament it was clearly Woodward who led the way.
Woodward is a true point guard who combines a solid all around game and a strong court IQ with a incredible effort and grit. Capable passer and scorer, his game continues to develop. He’s small, but has skills and smarts. There is no doubt that the effort will be there.
Penn State will graduate do-it-all point guard Tim Frazier after the 2012-13 season, but the Nittany Lions expects to sign both Woodward and combo guard Geno Thorpe next month during the early signing period.