Published Saturday, February 11, 2012 AT 3:24 PM / Updated at 4:38 PM
Blurred vision: The future of Nebraska basketball
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Beyond the hideous offense, past the losses that are now piling up for the Nebraska basketball program, is an instructive moment that NU fans, coaches, players and administrators should notice. Stick with me, because there’s a point, and it’s not a small one.

Illinois looks to be ready to fire coach Bruce Weber.

The new athletic director, Mike Thomas, answered questions on a local radio show, most of them pointed at the Illini, who are 16-8 overall and 5-6 in the Big Ten. Some of his quotes:

“When you’re looking into the NCAA postseason play, it’s not a question of whether you’re in the tournament, now you’re sitting there saying, ‘Where are we going to be seeded?’”

and

“For us, we have to compete at the highest level with our men’s basketball program. There’s no doubt about it. We have to be in the higher ranks of the Big Ten Conference. Let’s face it, in the Big Ten, not just men’s basketball but for anything, if you’re in the upper crust, you’re a top team nationally.”

In nine years, Weber’s been to six NCAA Tournaments. He’s had just one losing record. He made the NCAA Championship game — albeit with Bill Self’s players – in 2005. Illinois has been pretty good. Beyond respectable. In possession of a decade that Nebraska fans would fall on bayonets to have.

But the fans and media are nudging Weber out. Writes Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star:

“Even Bruce Weber’s biggest supporters now say it’s time for the Illini to fire their coach. That includes me in both camps, both one of his biggest supporters and one who thinks it’s long past time the Illini changed directions…He’s a good man, a great quote and a good Xs and Os coach. But he can’t recruit. Not worth a lick.”

And Herb Gould of the Chicago Sun-Times:

“From time to time, Weber has lamented his Illini teams have lacked toughness. But he hasn’t recruited that toughness. While Illinois has been running in place, other Big Ten programs have upgraded. Indiana and Michigan are revived, and Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin already are rock-solid. And Purdue is in good shape, too.

“Where does that leave the Illini? With a coach who hasn’t produced the hard-nosed teams he craves and who hasn’t recruited well enough to overcome other competitive flaws.”

Maybe you notice the parallels of those criticisms to the ones you might levy at Nebraska coach Doc Sadler. Good guy. Good coach. Great coach. Recruiting? Meh.

But I’m not arguing that, because Illinois may fire Weber, that NU should indisputably dump Sadler. Don’t make this that. We have writers covering that. Nor am I suggesting that Weber would ever be a good candidate for the Huskers. I’m illustrating something.

These are the stakes in Big Ten basketball.

If the Illini, a mid-level power in the league, is ready to flush Weber’s record down the toilet, how much more of a vision does Nebraska have to have to consistently reach the NCAA Tournament?

Minnesota might make the NCAA Tournament without its best player. Iowa’s “Butler coach,” Todd Lickliter – more accomplished than Barry Collier ever was in Hinkle Fieldhouse – got half of Collier’s six-year stint in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes didn’t sit around on it. They’ll sit around on Fran McCaffery for at least two more years because Roy Marble’s kid is there, four of the five best players are underclassmen and he can recruit a little bit. Penn State coach Patrick Chambers just landed a top 100 recruit. These are lower-tier Big Ten teams. The dock workers.

This is what Nebraska’s battling just to get out of the basement. What will be the Huskers’ total response? Not just the coaches. Not just the facilities. The whole culture. What will it look like? Is there a total response?

I hear a lot about a new arena. I’ve seen the practice facility and its giant stone basketball floating on water in the foyer. I’m supposed to regard it as the Liberty Bell, I guess. This is Nebraska’s sun chair, where it signs a declaration of independence from ponderous mediocrity.

Without clear vision – not some blurry “well, we built it” mindset – the Hendricks Center risks being a gilded lily. The new arena, too.

Does NU expect kids to just emerge in Lincoln at the scent of these buildings? Is that the idea?

That’s not real commitment. That’s all guns, no butter. Not a lick of nation-building. That’s the guy who buys his girl a $10,000 engagement ring and says, “There. See? I love ya.” That makes for a two-month marriage. Then some snow falls on the Pinnacle Bank Arena, temps dip below 20 degrees, nobody wants to drive on the streets the City of Lincoln plow like it’s 1879, and whaddya know? We’re back to a half-filled joint with warmer, more expensive cups of pop in our hands. We’re headed to Houlihan’s or Sizzler or the Twee-Themed Haymarket Restaurant for the second half.

A new arena isn’t worth the bounce you think it is. Creighton hasn’t won a single NCAA Tournament game because of the Qwest/C-Link. Since the place opened, CU’s been to more NIT/CIT/CBI shindigs than Big Dances. Attendance is through the roof, the games are an event, the sports bars down in NoDo sure love it. It’s good for the city. It’s had no bearing on the program’s success, unless you presume Creighton was heading into a slow nosedive when it left the Civic Auditorium. That’d be a tough sell, of course, considering 2002-2003 – the last season in the Civic – was Dana Altman’s best team.

No. CU is what it was in 2003. Maybe it could have been something else. But three of the team’s four best players right now are the coach’s kid – who was otherwise headed to Northern Iowa – and two transfers from Rutgers and Gonzaga. The other, Antoine Young, is from Omaha. I don’t know if the Qwest/C-Link played into his decision-making process.

What’d Quin Snyder do in newly-opened Mizzou Arena? Lose nine home games in two years and get fired. Texas Tech’s United Spirit Arena may have helped lure Bob Knight there in 2001, but it didn’t transform the Red Raiders’ basketball program. Will Matthew Knight Arena boost Oregon to a Final Four? Not with that basketball court – and probably not anyway. Maryland opened the Comcast Center in 2002 – the year after the Terrapins won the national title – and haven’t done better than a Sweet Sixteen since. Penn State opened the Bryce Jordan Center in 1995 – and have been to exactly three NCAA Tournaments in 15 years.

A structure isn’t a culture, folks. These kids – the good basketball players – have been in about 235 arenas in their life. They’ve seen every kind of gym. They’ve played outdoors, in parks, streets, driveways, basements, sidewalks, elementary schools, you name it. They’ve played in places with ceiling rot and moldy cinder-block walls, frankly. Basketball is not football – and even there, the facility bounce is overrated.

Commitment isn’t really measured in stuff you build or things you buy. You’ll be told that, sometimes, by the people who build the stuff and buy the things, but that’s often for their own self-assurance. Nah. Commitment is culture. It’s vision. Vibe. Passion. Time spent.

It’s building a grassroots basketball program in this state that works. It’s investing hours, days, weeks – whatever it takes – in Omaha, figuring out why the well annually springs at one school – Central – and virtually nowhere else. It’s understanding that a rivalry with Creighton is the one good thing you’ve got going, and dousing it with visions of Duke is a dodge and a mirage. It’s pushing for a shot clock in Nebraska high school basketball so kids learn to play with a little tempo and conditioning. It’s building to last, not chisel out one NCAA Tournament bid that writers and fans wax poetic over for a decade.

Notice this debate isn’t about Sadler. We have enough people working the Doc angle. It’s really about everybody else but him, in fact. Many of the key stakeholders in the success of this program – fans, ex-players, money folks, local high school coaches – have nothing to do with NU’s current 11-13 record. They just kind of regard it. Someone needs to engage them at a big ol’ table and hammer out a vision. And perhaps consult Darin Erstad for a little advice.

Erstad may not succeed at Nebraska. But it won’t be for lack of leadership and vision. Since his hiring – and the firing of Mike Anderson, who manufactured more “good reasons” for Nebraska’s mediocrity than his offense did runs – Erstad’s struck every right note. He declared a recruiting strategy that says nobody gets south of Lincoln. He hired an ex-Dave Van Horn tough guy (Will Bolt) to run his offense. He hired a terrific pitching coach (Ted Silva) out of California. Both have great recruiting ties. He scoured the state this summer for prospects. He ran the heck out of guys in the fall to get them faster. He beefed up the non-conference schedule with plans of making it downright brutal in 2013. He aimed to drag the Big Ten into the 21st Century instead of being more pragmatic about the limitations of the league.

He’s set a tone, made a plan, and created a goal. But the goal is just part of the vision. The worldview. In a league where mediocrity alone might win a conference title.

In February, Erstad began running a commercial for the program. You’ve probably seen it at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s pointed, and it works. At the end, it’s clear that Erstad’s talking about a revival. The last words he speaks serve as the tagline:

“We will fight for every pitch, every hit, every base. This is our team. This is your team. Welcome back to the ballpark.”

That’s vision. A clear one.

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at sam.mckewon@owh.com. And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.

Comments

  1. @HuskerInsanity says:

    Hot damn, Sam nailed this one out of the ballpark.

  2. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    Doc is a good coach, im not sure his recruiting skills are all that bad, NU isnt a basketball school, much like we are not a QB school.
    Hiring Doc a recruiting coordinator may help, a young energetic ex basketball player assistant, possibly from one of the eastern schools, i dont know.
    What i do know is, the players are not responding to Doc.

    1. John says:

      How can anyone who knows anything about basketball claim Doc is a good coach? Look at his offense and its inability to get people open for quality shots and the lack of motion or innovation. No one with expertise in the sport would allow someone to make such an obviously in err statement. Doc is a mediocre coach whose assistants consistently leave him because he has no vision.

    2. bob jones says:

      We may not be an NFL producing QB school, but I can think of more than a few great college QB’s here at NU since I have been following dear old Nebraska U. Here’s a few, Dennis Claridge, Bob Churchich, Fred Duda, Van Brownson, Jerry Tagge, Dave Humm, Vince Ferragamo, Tom Sorley, Turner Gill, Gerry Gdowski, Keithen McCant, Steve Taylor,Tommie Frazier, Scott Frost, Eric Crouch, Joe Ganz and now Taylor Martinez and Tommy Armstrong. An awful lot of all-conference, all-American, and big boy football players that I can remember and probably a few more that I didn’t remember.

  3. Tom says:

    Rock Solid and spot on. But, it MUST start with the head coach. It may take a really risky hire – it may take guys who were here during the good times to re-ignite the attitude – help recruit, coach, etc. No different then when Callahan got fired…he had no vision, had no passion for Husker football…just another job to him…typical NFL mentality. DIdnt care.

    Doc may have the passion to be here and to build this into a good program but he is really lacking in recruiting and in helping build a pool of instate talent as a base of talent.

    Husker football would not be where it is if Devaney – Osborne and others did not work the high schools to get kids motivated to be the best and then come play for the Huskers. I cannot understand why NE cannot produce 3 or 4 good H.S. kids per year. Your point about the shot clock…maybe it seems minor but you are right and it could be a start. Creighton and NE and now UNO need to figure out how to help develop more instate players. They all will benefit in the long run. Has to start at home.

    1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      Solid

    2. Firthyfan says:

      Tom
      I’m not a BB fan. It’s good to see fans care so much about the NU BB program.
      I can see how folks would be so frustrated.
      But many folks seem to be putting this on Sadler.
      Hold-up everyone.
      You describe Doc as passionate and goal-driven. Yes, these are HIS responsibilities.
      But you also add things that are not HIS responsibilities: Crappy instate talent and a crappy BB culture. These are OUR responsibilities. Doc finally has the facilities to recruit somebody. Plus you say he has the passion and loyalty. (He must be loyal, because who could stand to coach in such a dismal place as it is here?)
      So it sounds like he finally now has the tools to succeed.
      Now, you parents, get your kids away from the Nintendo, and start taking your kids to see those NU BB heroes! That is OUR responsibility.
      If this state can be a womens’ volleyball recruiting hot-bed, then we can do the same to build a BB culture.

      1. bob jones says:

        It is always the bottom line, and Doc was hired to win games and get the program competitive, some improvements were definitely made, but Doc is 6 years in, and that is more than enough time to get something done, this season is ending with a big disappointing, embarrassing whimper. This program is not only not getting better but is a major embarrassment to the state and to the coach who told us this would be his best team. You cannot still be making excuses after 6 years, and it is very apparent that there is no vision or long term plan. If Bill Snyder can turn around the worst football program in history, in a sport that is much more difficult to get turned around, then Nebraskans can and should expect the NU administration to do one heck of a lot better job making this program respectable and not a source of embarrassment, lots of other football schools have competitve and even winning basketball programs, let’s cut out the excuses and get somebody in down there that knows how to get the job done.

    3. Nathan says:

      I’m not sure a shot clock would make all that much difference. High school basketball employs a 35-second clock in the eight states that use one. I doubt that you get many high school basketball possessions in Nebraska that last longer than 35 seconds as it is. It may force some of the very deliberate teams to change tactics a little bit, but I don’t think it would change the “tempo and conditioning” to the degree McKewon is looking for. You can’t legislate that teams must play an uptempo style.

  4. Andrew Graham says:

    Well done Sam. Your article is Nebrasketball in a nutshell. It’s the anti-thesis to Nebraska football, almost as though we put so much energy and effort into creating a behemoth of a program out of thin air that we have to have a sigh of relief and down time after football season. Baseball allows for a breath before it begins as where basketball is picking up right as the Bowl season is ending. I don’t know if we can shift gears quick enough to be able to support it like we have football or even baseball. I hope we can, but am a little worried.

  5. Jeff says:

    You could make the same claim about Pelini. He seems to have 5 or 6 excuses about recruiting.

  6. HuskerRebel says:

    Good article, Sam! Now, can we get a QB that can pass to a
    Receiver while in stride?

    1. Mart says:

      We don’t need a new QB, we need receivers that can catch the ball when thrown to and an offensive line that can give our QB time to set and throw. Taylor completed almost 60% of his passes and would have been more if the receivers would have caught them. Give Taylor a break!!!!!!!

  7. Bill C. says:

    Vintage Sam commentary…strong work!

  8. R says:

    …is it really the 1879 standard of snow removal ?

    I didn’t think Lincoln EVER plowed their streets..just one front end destroying rut after another.

    Kind of like NU Basketball.

    1. Jason says:

      Didn’t Omaha have a “pothole-gate” and essentially see a mayor get voted out over the streets there? Glass houses, stones and such

  9. r.r. says:

    your article was pretty good till you started talking about NU baseball’s dreams—so what if erstad said a bunch of pretty words–thats all they are— words—lets see results—you heard it hear first –the trifecta—bo is gone doc is gone and so is tom—just wait–now thats a statement you can bank on—have a nice frigid weekend !!!

    1. Ozarks Husker says:

      You’re delusional if you really think that is going to happen. Doc, probably, but Osborne and Bo are not going anywhere. And that’s a statement you can bank on. And you obviously didn’t get the point of the article–his point is that you have to have some kind of vision to have success, and Erstad has that. He did not say that he would necessarily produce results, but let’s give him a chance before we start with the negativity.

    2. Kevin says:

      Doc said the same type of propaganda when he got hired that Erstad is saying now.

  10. dismalswamp husker says:

    As I read the responses I conclude one thing, the passion for Nebraska basketball really is not there. We enjoyed the Nee years of tournament exposure, but it didn’t matter if we were one and done. We had an NBA team in Omaha, in the 1970′s, that met a short death, when do the writers get it: Most of us don’t care about basketball, it’s a sport that fills time between the end of football and the beginning of baseball.

    1. TP says:

      And those that do care about basketball are at the Creighton games. The difference between Creighton and Wichita State today was that WSU started four seniors while CU started one. This should bode well for Creighton next year.

    2. Jay says:

      I disagree. I am a season ticket holder for NU basketball and make the drive even though I live much closer to Creighton. The fans are very passionate but are just pessimistic because they have seen this all before. The Bob can get very loud when things are rolling at NU and I don’t think I have ever heard the crowd boo the home team like I did at the C-Link on Satuday. Booing a 21-5 team? really? Sure it isn’t football but every article on NU hoops gets a ton of comments and people do care. I think it could be a sleeping giant if it got rolling.

      1. Tony says:

        I was at the game on Saturday and I heard no one booing the team. ??

  11. KB says:

    Good article Sam. Just a couple comments. Every time I read an article about Doc the writer invariably refers to Doc as a good coach or great coach. Why? What makes people say that? Is it because he is a nice guy. Great basketball coaches don’t have the 300th ranked scoring offense. Great coaches can recruit. Knowing your x’s and o’s does not necessarily make you a great coach. In college basketball you can’t separate on court coaching and recruiting. They go hand in hand. So I think it disingenuous to call him a great coach.

    To build this program to a consistently good level requires the right hire. It’s coaching. Every good basketball (and football for that matter) started with the right guy. A good coach who builds a winning atmosphere and wins consistently. Once that atmosphere is built and the program gets established then fans can accept a down year and still stay energetic because the good will has been established. Winning starts it all in any sport. Bob Devaney started it in Nebraska and as much as we love our football team, the sell out streak does not exist if the Huskers were not CONSISTENT winners. I lived in Louisville Kentucky for 15 years and I saw the passion for basketball and because Nebraska had never built a program that endeared itself to my heart, I became a Louisville fan. I see that among many of my Nebraska fans. There is not a person I know in Nebraska who is not a Cornhusker football fan but when it comes to basketball I know more people who are not Nebraska fans. They cheer for Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Creighton. That is the most damning thing about the basketball program. All the reasons that make the football program so ingrained in the state’s identity are the same reason the basketball program can succeed. The fan base is there they just need a reason to care and if you give them that they will be as rabid as the football fans. I agree the facilities and new arena will not make the program but they are better and they are a good start. The hire of the next basketball coach could be the most important hire in the history of Nebraska basketball (and that’s not just hyperbole). The hire needs to be a home run and I’m not saying Nebraska needs to go out and hire some big name, they just need the RIGHT guy. There are a lot of young good coaches out there and I think the new facilities and arena can show a prospective coach that the university is serious about investing in basketball. That can be a strong enticement. Coaches are egotistical but practical. They want to go to a place to prove they can build a program and make a winner but they also know that to do that the tools have to be in place to enable that coach to achieve his goals.

    I hope that Osborne brings in some consultants on this search. I question his judgment ( I know its anathema to say anything negative about Tom but in fairness how much experience does he have with basketball) in basketball matters after the decision to extend Doc’s contract and increase the buyout. I’m not sure what in the previous five years made Osborne think that Doc warranted that. It was a mind baffling move that is going to impact how much the university is able to pay the next coach. $3.4 million is a lot of coin.

    One final thing, an offensive minded coach who plays an uptempo brand of basketball would also be a plus. The growing pains associated with trying to build the program will be easier to take by the fans if the product on the floor is exciting. Losing 85-79 is more tolerable than 51-45.

    1. TP says:

      I am not a Cornhusker football fan, and I know many others who are not.

      1. KB says:

        I don’t know you so I wasn’t talking about you, troll

        1. TP says:

          Nice to meet you, too.

    2. Melvin says:

      Nu used to lose 85-79 with Danny née. Also had 25 turnovers in countless games they should have won but lost instead

    3. KG Corn says:

      Great piece Sam. I enjoy almost everything you write and couldn’t agree with you more here.

      KB, your comments are dead on. I am a Creighton fan in Omaha that grew up going to Creighton games. I will always be a Creighton fan, but I am still an NU fan as well. For the one time they play a year I will root Creighton. Right now I am completely indifferent to NU. There are many in Omaha that would root for both teams for the rest of the year and be passionate about it. If NU could do what Wisconsin has done it would be incredible. I’d go to a few games a year and wear my Husker Red proudly

      A few years back I had great seats at the Devaney for the CU V NU game and I was dressed in my Creighton Blue. The Cornhusker band fired up “Hail Varsity” and I jumped out of my seat and started clapping along to it. It was so natural to do so because I am an avid Husker Football fan. After a minute I realized I was their rooting for Creighton, had a good laugh and sat down.

      Great comments above

  12. Kevin says:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t seem to be able to follow where Sam is going about three of Creighton’s best four players… (Can someone help me out?)

    1. Nathan says:

      He’s saying that they didn’t arrive at Creighton as a result of winning big battles on the recruiting trail. He’s saying a sparkling new arena (Qwest/C-Link) didn’t cause big-time recruits to flock to Creighton, so Nebraska shouldn’t expect them to come to Lincoln just because of a new area either.

      1. Jeff says:

        By the way, he’s right. In the case of the transfers it may have helped them attract them over other MVC teams, but that really doesn’t mean anything.

  13. Rickenaz says:

    IF ANYPLACE should have a clear vision about what it takes to fail, it’s NU basketball. HOW TO FAIL 1). Hire a small school coach that has no record of scoring points against good competition. 2). Expect that coach to talk recruits into coming to NU where we play great defense. That’s it…… Kid’s know that if they want to play and get noticed by the NBA, they have to score points. No one gets to the NBA playing great defense. I can’t think of one guy. IF NU, want’s to compete for the top recruits, we HAVE to sell offensive hoops or we will get the other guys, project guys and JC guys. So NU’s vision IMO, should be to pick up a coach that has coached at the Div 1 level in a larger confernce and shows he can coach offense and can recruit. The kids will like a coach that wants to score points and has had success and when they come into see NU, they will also see the new facilities and will be impressed by Nebraska’s direction and determination. My overall favorite at this time would be Doug Stewart from Oregon State. He’s young, has a great offensive mind and is a very strong recruiter. He helped Oregon State finish with a 10th ranked recruiting class. He’s currently the top associate head coach. I think our facilities would appeal to him if we could offer him a solid package. Well that’s my vision and I hope that NU will soon have something simular. Only time will tell.

  14. Joey says:

    Creighton bb ROCKS!!!!!!

  15. ASDF says:

    hey at least they still have the american flag patch on the uniforms. the republicons can never be all that strongly against the team, right?

  16. GLOBALI says:

    A point missed? – Would the new facilities (practice and areana) attract Coaches?

    1. Rickenaz says:

      The BIG pull would be that we are a University in the Big Ten that would be giving the right guy an opportunity to put the pieces together at Nebraska. The new facilities would help with any recruit that would visit the campus. In my opinion, we need a coach that has been achieving on a div 1 team and has an offensive slant. If we can get a offensive minded guy in here that is affable, then yes the facilities would be an attraction for that type of coach because it makes his selling points that much more tangible. If a young man visits because he likes the coach and the Big Ten exposure and then see’s the support for the new direction and great facilities, I believe we can get great recruiting classes here in Nebraska. My biggest dread is that we would hire another guy that coaches great defense as his primary selling point or that we would get a guy that has been a part of a coaching staff at a small school and we find out at the div 1 level he can’t really compete. Then in 5 or so years were back to square 1.

  17. Melvin says:

    The football program thinks it can build new skyboxes to make up for it’s complete lack of focus, identity and leadership. What exactly is TO doing to ensure long term on-field success of any of his teams????.

    1. Rickenaz says:

      I think being overly critical of TO in terms of knowing what to do for long term success is an odd position to take. How many Big Eight and National titles did he win? A bunch. I think he will have to regretfully cut his loses in Basketball and attempt to find the right guy to replace Doc. My favorite right now is Doug Stewart from Oregon State. OSU did not have the best facilities and yet they nabbed the 10th best recruiting class. OSU also averaged over 81 points per game and scored over 100 three times. But TO may not want to pull out the chair for the young man for the very reason you complained about above(he wants a long term guy). However, TO will likely take advice and in the end, he will make the decision based on what he thinks will be the best guy(experienced head coach or not). What’s obvious to me is that Doug Stewart is a rising star and ready for the next level. He like Erstad just needs someone to pull out the big chair.

  18. Sooka says:

    I know one thing……….NU is now in the cellar with Penn State.
    Get used to it………………………..

    1. Billy says:

      That’s the problem. We are used to it. It’s been a long time.

      1. bob jones says:

        You have got that exactly right Billy, we are used to it, and either the NU administration doesn’t care or they are just completely clueless how to get it turned around.

  19. Mark says:

    I’m a die hard Husker fan(football, baseball and basketball) I have been waiting for a competitive men’s basketball team forever. To hear the lack of fan support is just nonsense. I’ve watched most of N U’s games this season. When a high profile team or a important game was at hand, there was plenty of support. The crowd’s were raucous, with anticipation of N U being able to compete and dare I say maybe even win? After watching this pitiful display (at home throwing up air ball after air ball from all over the court, not just the 3 ball) your not going to garner the support that you desperately need for your program. I love Nebraska B B , I havelost any interest in watching another game. When the team was competitive I would race to the computer just after the game was over to look at the schedule to find the next game. I don’t even care about their next game. I no I’ve hit rock bottom. Switching gears in my ramble, Doc has got to go. When you lose top recruits (2 in Sioux City to Iowa, an 1 in Nebr to Min.) You know there’s something a foul. With the Universities support we don’t have to be just a “Football School”. The new arena and practice facillity are a great start. Now it’s time for a new coach as well. One with vision, recuiting and the X’s an O’s of college basketball. One last thought, keep in mind its BASKETBALL, your not recruiting 40 players. If you get a handful of tallented players, with the right coaching staff, your in the tournament yearly. Doesn’t seem that far fetched to this Husker fan.

    1. Jeff says:

      You may be a committed Husker basketball fan, but you don’t understand recruiting in today’s game. The Sioux City kids (one of which does live in Iowa), played for an Iowa based AAU team. Just because Gesell’s parents pay taxes to the state of Nebraska, doesn’t mean the kid identifies himself as a Nebraskan or ever had dreams of playing Nebrasketball growing up.

      I agree with you that Doc needs to go, I just think Nebraskan’s in general have a lot to learn about basketball. If you’re going to blame Doc for not being able to pull in Woodbury, you may as well blame him for not pulling in Harrison Barnes or Dougie Fresh.

  20. kevin says:

    Can someone answer this question….. what has happen to the D-1 players out of Omaha ????? who is the last recruit from Omaha to play D-1 ball, or more to the point played and mattered at NU. Like most above I’m a Husker fan, doesn’t matter if it’s Fball, BB, Or Baseball if / when they come to Texas I go watch them. I too have stopped watching NU basketball. It’s painful watching them put points on the board. I didn’t realize how important Diaz was to this team until his been out. Luckily for me baseball starts next week. For those people who criticize or question Osborne all I can say is really ? he did pretty good with his hire of Erstad, I assume he is talking to some of the best basketball minds in the country and picking their brain on who the top young coaches R, I’m sure he realizes his not a basketball guy, but his smart enough to have the right contacts throughout the country. I KNOW OSBORNE will make the RIGHT call

    1. Jim says:

      How do we know, yet, if he made a good hire in Erstad??

      1. macjones says:

        Right. Like Ozzie made the ” RIGHT CALL, ” and gave that Good Ol’ Boy a contract extension. LMAO

        Seriously, y’all small town/suburban bUbba’s should stick to Lil’ Herbie PIGSKIN matters.

        Because at least y’all good ol’ boys have some serious credibility yapping about such Lil’ Herbie college sports matters. dUh.

        1. kevin says:

          Hey crocodile Dundee, most people realize a contract extension means nothing, simply lets kids that you plan on recruiting know you have a contract to be their from your freshman year to your Senior year. Why don’t you go back down to the bayou and do what you do best….. just stay away from the jelly fish ! As for Jim we don’t know Erstad the right hire, but he made a great decision in getting rid of…. as Crocodile Dundee would say, ” that midwest farm boy hick from the fields of Wood River ” HOWDY !

          1. Tony says:

            I think that the high school recruits have figured this out, too. So, really, all that it insures is that Doc becomes a millionaire.

        2. Rickenaz says:

          I sure can tell that your education level must FAR exceed those of us from the sticks. Boy-Howdy, thanks for the Troll statements of the day. I sure do feel a lot more educated now. Please come back when you have something MORE to offer!

  21. Cmac says:

    Everyone has to quit blaming the fans. I live in Omaha, am an avid Nebrasketball fan and follow the program as close as any. Bottom line: put a good product on the court and you will have your sellouts and loud crowds. That is what NU has failed to do consistently. The good news: here’s all you need. One or two good players, a guy that can recruit (Strickland?), and a head coach that doesn’t completely lack basic offensive concepts. Let me remind you, the last time NU had a coach that put emphasis on offense, they went to the dance regularly.
    And yes, facilities do make a difference. Sam, you can try and compare Creighton and NU all you want, but it’s apples and oranges. All NU has to do is to be in the top 6 of the B1G about 2 out of 5 years and… there are your NCAA Tournament berths. Creighton HAS to win the conference tourney or win 25 games, and even then, they have been left out.

    1. Jason says:

      Great point – conference DOES make a difference

    2. Tony says:

      That is why the Valley games are more exciting – EVERY game could be a season breaker.

  22. macjones says:

    Oh by the way, Lil’ Herbie is exactly a PIGSKIN school! No if’s, but’s or may be’s!

    R.I.P. Lil’ Herbie MCB.

    And Dana AIN’T coming back home. That I can bloody well guarantee SAMMY and like-minded good ol’ boys!

  23. macjones says:

    Finally, at least for now, my BAD for being the chavaunistic OUTSIDER. LIl’ Herbie is also a VOLLEYBALL school. LOL

  24. macjonesismybish says:

    NU is a bowling school. Talk smack about that.

  25. kevin says:

    thanks Croc remember stay away from the jellyfish when your huntin for crocs in Carter Lake…HOWDY

  26. Jerry says:

    What do people think about going after Dana Altman?? I think he’d like it back here in his home state and I think he could recruit. I know his family would sure love him back in Nebraska!

  27. Laura says:

    Interesting. Ehrn you talk about building a grassroots basketball program, I think you’re promoting the Terry Pettit model. “If you build it, they will come,” doesn’t have to mean the facility. If Nebraska isn’t great at recruiting elsewhere, do a better job of helping the local coaches develop the talent you want. It may not be a quick fix, but it has staying power.