Huskers Set to Play in the Bahamas

Nebraska coach Doc Sadler announced Monday the final details of the upcoming Husker basketball team's summer trip, which will take place during an eight-day span in mid-August. The Cornhuskers will head to the Bahamas on Aug. 13 to play four games in preparation for the 2010-11 campaign, Sadler's fifth on the sideline in Lincoln.

"This trip comes at a great time," Sadler said. "Everyone knows that there's a lot of room for this team to improve over the summer, and I think this trip will help that process. We had a really inexperienced team last year, in addition to some injuries. Now, we'll have a couple of those players back fully healthy and this will add to the experience level."

Gaining more experience playing together in a competitive environment is the No. 1 factor for a going on a summer trip, Sadler said. That can only help even when the Huskers already return two full-time starters in point guard Lance Jeter and center Jorge Brian Diaz, along with two others (Brandon Richardson, 16 starts; and Brandon Ubel, 15 starts) who started nearly half the games last season. Overall, the Huskers return at least 60 percent of the scoring (63 percent), rebounds (76 percent), 3-pointers (60 percent), assists (62 percent) and blocked shots (65 percent).

"During the summer, coaches don't get to work with the players. It's on the players to do their own workouts and get in the weight room with the strength staff," Sadler said. "This trip -- which we're fortunate to have and thankful to the administration for helping us with -- will give us a chance to work with the players, not just in practices, but in a live setting against other teams. It will be a chance to get some of these guys playing organized basketball together for the first time in a couple years, or ever."

Under a recently adopted NCAA rule, incoming student-athletes who complete at least three credit hours at the institution will be eligible to join the team for a foreign tour. Junior college transfer Caleb Walker, a first-team JUCO All-American as a sophomore in 2009-10 at Butler Community College, started the second five-week summer term on July 12 and will be finished with his classes in time to join the team on the trip to the Caribbean.

While Walker will be competing in organized games with his Husker teammates for the first time, he will not be the only one making a debut of sorts. Junior Toney McCray (elbow surgery) and sophomore Christopher Niemann (ACL surgery) both missed last season and will be making their return to competitive action. McCray and Niemann have been cleared to play in pick-up games this summer, and the 10 practices and four games will be a great chance to start the basketball conditioning process and get a jumpstart on the upcoming season.

"For Toney and Christopher, this will be a good chance for them to see where they're at when playing live games," Sadler said. "They've been playing some already and they and the doctors are comfortable with their progress. But we are going to count on them this year, so we want them to get as much extra work as they can to make sure they're fully ready when the season comes. We expect that they will be."

The Huskers will start their practices on Aug. 2. They plan to use all 10 practices before leaving for the Bahamas on Aug. 13. Dates for the games in Nassau, Bahamas, are not set yet, but the Huskers will have four games against: Y Cares Wreckers/Hardcore Development, Commwealth Giants, All-Stars/Hardcore and Cybots.

In addition to the games, the Huskers will have a little time for sightseeing and relaxing. When the Huskers made their last foreign tour in 2004 to Australia, the team spent time at the Great Barrier Reef and took in exhibits at the Cairns Zoo and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.

The Huskers return on Aug. 21, two days before the start of fall classes. Overall, the team traveling to the Bahamas will consist of 13 players, including: Jeter, Diaz, Richardson, Ubel, McCray, Niemann, Walker, Christian Standhardinger, Ray Gallegos, Eshaunte Jones, Drake Beranek, Matt Karn and Mike Fox.

Nebraska can start four-man group workouts for two total hours a week once fall classes begin, with full-team workouts (still two total hours weekly) available to start Sept. 13. The official start of practices in the fall will be Friday, Oct. 15.

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