2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers Basketball Preview
Coach Doc Sadler has brought the Nebraska Cornhuskers (20-13 overall, 7-9 Big 12) a long way in two seasons. In 2006-2007, the team was 6-10 and sat out the post season; last year they went 7-9, tying them for seventh in the conference and they went to the NIT. This season, unlike last, the Huskers lack an upfront presence. That does not bode well for posting a winning conference record or a post-season bid.
In the front, center Aleks Maric (15.7 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.7 BPG) and his offensive and defensive prowess must be replaced. Freshman Christopher Niemann could be the answer if his eligibility is approved by the NCAA’s international players clearinghouse and academic clearinghouse. The frontcourt will include sophomore Alex Chapman and freshman Alonzo Edwards—both of whom were redshirted last season. Edwards has the potential to be a tough power forward, posting double-doubles. Chapman has good speed and quickness on the transition.
Five of the team’s six top scorers return and are in the backcourt. Seniors Steve Harley (26.3 MPG, 9.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.5 APG, 42.5 FG%, 70.9 FT%) and Ade Dagunduro (22.5 MPG, 8.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 49.1 FG%, 60.6 FT%) are both solid players. Sophomore Cookie Miller (26.6 MPG, 6.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 38.4 FG%, 67.8 FT%) offers excellent transition speed. Both Harley and Miller need to improve their conversion rate from the field. The Cornhuskers lost a potential starter and go-to guy when junior college transfer Roburt Sallie was ruled ineligible to ever play for a league school. Sallie is now in the NBA. Freshman combo guard Eshaunte Jones, who is six-foot-four, will try to take up the slack. The backcourt is deep with returning players and new talent.
In the NIT last year, the Cornhuskers defeated Charlotte in round
one 67-48 and then lost to Ole Miss in round two 85-75. This year,
they will be hard-pressed to get to the NIT. But if, like they did
in 2007-2008, they play tough, scrappy ball, this Nebraska club
has a shot at the second-season. The NCAA Tournament is at least
another year away.