Hoops: Back to work

Doc Sadler and crew have started practicing - who's impressing? Big Red Report was on hand today and has this exclusive report.

To watch Nebraska guard Brandon Richardson's exclusive HD video interview w/ Big Red Report...Click Here

Lincoln, NE - The Husker football and volleyball teams are not the only students on campus during the Nebraska fall break. The basketball programs are in full swing and on Friday the men's team started practices.

In his sixth season, head coach Doc Sadler returns four starters off last year's squad and features newcomers who could make instant impacts (Dylan Talley & Bo Spencer). Expectations are on the rise and through four practices Sadler is pleased.

"(Practices) are moving along pretty fast. Just like everybody this time of the year, we can't go too fast and forget the little things," said Sadler, who has been holding three to three and half hour practices. "Obviously you are not going to be able to go hard for three hours, but I have been very pleased with their attention and effort.

"I think the biggest thing in the first week is the grind. To know you have Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday – five days before you take a day off, it's nice to know they have nothing but basketball to concentrate off."

Practices feature a blend of 1-on-1s, drills, scrimmages, and weight lifting. After five straight days of training camp like work, Nebraska will take tomorrow off to recuperate.

Sadler feels his team is probably ready for the break, but at the same time it's not something they are anxiously waiting for.

"I think they understand the amount of work they have to put into be a good basketball team. They want to be a good basketball team, so I'm not sure that is a huge concern," said Sadler, who will go to Kansas tomorrow on the player's day off.

"I'm actually going to go watch their practice, maybe get a few ideas from them and see what they do differently. We run basically the same offense."

Practice Observations

Sadler is known for his media friendly style and his willing to open up practices to reporters who would like to attend.

On Tuesday, Big Red Report was on hand to watch the 5th session of the season.

1.) In no way would we say there is a 1st or 2nd team set, but right now the first 12 guys are split up like this.

Red Jerseys: Bo Spencer, Caleb Walker, Jorge Brian Diaz, Ray Gallegos, Christopher Niemann, and Josiah Moore.

White Jerseys: Toney McCray, David Rivers, Corey Hilliard, Dylan Talley, Brandon Richardson, and Brandon Ubel.

2.) Brandon Ubel's progression should have Husker fans excited. The junior really started to come into his own late last season, after jumping from 220 to 240 pounds his freshman/sophomore season. Now a lean 235, Ubel looks smooth in the post and has become more physical. He's also shown improvement in his footwork. His time with new veteran assistant coach Jeremy Cox is paying dividends, Cox is known for being a great down low teacher. Ubel averaged 10 points and 6.6 rebounds in the Huskers' last four contests last season, expect his numbers to climb even higher this year.

3.) German native Christopher Niemann is getting back to his old self. Niemann has had back some bad luck at Nebraska, twice suffering ACL tears. Halfway through last season, he was finally healthy to play, but did so on a limited basis. After a summer with no problems, Niemann is getting full strength back and could provide quality minutes down low behind guys like Diaz and Andre Almeida.

Bo Spencer looks like a difference maker

4.) Learn the name Bo Spencer. He's going to be a guy heard from often this season. Spencer is the storyline that possibly everyone isn't talking about enough. He's exactly what the Huskers need on the perimeter, an experienced presence that has played in big games. A LSU transfer, he averaged 14.5 points a game his junior year in the SEC. After watching just one practice, it's clear he's become a leader on this Nebraska squad. If' he's not the starting point guard from day, we would be shocked.

Sadler quote to note during practice:

"Let's clean it up, let's clean it up. We have to get our turnover numbers below 10."

To watch Nebraska guard Brandon Richardson's exclusive HD video interview w/ Big Red Report...Click Here

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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