LINCOLN, Neb. – After a strong exhibition performance on Monday night, Nebraska basketball will kickoff their season on Saturday against Mississippi Valley State.
Coming off an unexpected 13-18 seasons, Tim Miles enters his fourth year as the head coach of the Huskers. Just two-years ago, Miles was named the National Coach of the Year after getting Nebraska into the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s hard to believe it’s already here again,” said Miles. “I heard the PA guy say, ‘in his fourth year.’ I thought to myself, I just walked in the door. What are you talking about?"
Nebraska will be one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten in 2015-16. The Huskers could play up to five true freshmen in the rotation this season. Guard Glynn Watson, guard Evelyn Bakari, forward Ed Morrow, forward Jack McVeigh and forward Michael Jacobson all played against Northern State on Monday.
“I thought they were okay. They have a long way to go,” said Miles. “It was good, because Northern gave us a different look than Wyoming (scrimmage opponent) did, which is a different look than in practice, which is probably a different look than we will get against Mississippi Valley or Nova. They are going to have to keep making adjustments in their game. It’s not like you are just running up and down playing against similar talent. You are running against older guys who are game planning for you.”
With a younger group of players, seniors Shavon Shields and Benny Parker have had their hands full trying to get the squad ready to compete every night.
“There connection with these guys is everything,” said Miles. “The young guys are impressionable for a time…the upperclassmen will tell those guys, ‘we need you. We are depending on you. We want you to be good. Listen to coach.’ There is a real connection that way of teaching and learning.”
Earlier in the week, Miles wasn’t ready to commit to how deep his rotation will be in the early part of the season.
“There are times I think we have four and there are times I think we have nine,” said Miles. “Somewhere in between. I hope we can get five for sure.”
Big Red Report Projected starting lineup:
G.) Benny Parker – The high-energy defensive presence has played in 96 games at Nebraska.
G.) Tai Webster – After struggling his first two years, an aggressive Webster could be an x-factor this season.
F.) Andrew White – A Kansas transfer, the junior scored 18-points against Northern State on Monday night.
F.) Shavon Shields – The Huskers returning leading scorer averaged 15.4 and 6.0 rebounds last season.
F.) Jacob Hammond – Will be asked to contribute big minutes this season after only playing in 11 games last year as a true freshman.