Nebraska moved to 3-0 on the season after defeating Arkansas-Pine Bluff 67-53 Saturday afternoon at the Bob Davaney Sports Center.  The Huskers were led by guards Steve Harley and Sek Henry.  Harley finished with a game high 18 points while Henry helped the Husker cause by netting 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.  Brandon Richardson and Paul Velander continued their good play this season by chipping in 9 points a piece.  Arkansas-Pine Bluff was led by Lebaron Weathers and Gavin Montgomery who combined for 22 points in the loss.


Nebraska struggled on defense in the first half allowing Arkansas-Pine Bluff to shoot 52.4% from the field.  There were a lot of easy baskets, especially in transition.  This Nebraska team doesn’t have enough offensive firepower yet to allow opposing teams to have those kinds of easy buckets.  Granted, they only scored 24 points in the first half, but against a better team that would have been a lot more.

In the second half, Nebraska was much better defensively.  Yes, Arkansas-Pine Bluff did score more points, but they did a much better job at challenging shots and creating turnovers.  I’m sure Doc Sadler is going to be drilling defense into their heads in the next few practices. Nebraska can not afford to let up on defense.  That’s the one thing that Nebraska can control at this point.  The fact that it wasn’t there for much of the first half was concerning.

Sek and Harley stepped up in this game.  Sek is going to do some big things this year, he’s improved a lot over the summer.  I have no doubt that Sek Henry is the most improved player on the team this year.  We really saw what Sek is capable of in this game.  He’s going to have many more games like this over the next two years.  It’s equally nice to see Harley get off for 18 points.  We are coming up on a stretch where we need both of these guys to play at a high level.  This is a good sign for the Huskers.

Unlike last year, foul trouble is not going to be a problem for this team.  We are so deep with guys who can play that our fouls will be so spread out that it won’t really even be a problem.  Although I gotta tell you, how does Alonzo Edwards get 4 fouls in 10 minutes?  Impressive.

Toney McCray was sick with a virus, which was the reason for his lack playing time and production.  Had he been able to give us 20-25 healthy minutes, Nebraska would have won by a lot more than just 14 points.  I’m really exited about Toney this year, he’s going to win some games for us.  However, he’s still a freshman, he’s going to be inconsistent at times.

Alonzo Edwards showed some potential.  You could really tell he was really nervous, which led to some mistakes.  He’s been practicing very well lately.  He just needs to log in more playing time.  He should get that after the next 2 games.

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Nebraska vs TCU RecapThe Nebraska Men’s basketball team travelled to Fort Worth, Texas on Wednesday to square off against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Behind another solid defensive performance and a balanced offense attack, Nebraska was able to hold of TCU for their first road win since the 1995-1996 season, 62-50.

The Nebraska victory was led by senior walk-on Paul Velander who netted 11 points. Velander, as usual, did most of his damage from behind the arc, going 3-for-7 from downtown. Senior Steve Harley and redshirt freshman Toney McCray each chipped in 9 points. Ryan Anderson, Toney McCray, and Ade Dagunduro combined for 18 rebounds in the win. TCU was led by 6’8” Forth Worth native Kevin Langford. Langford scored 19 points, 13 of which came from the charity stripe, and hauled in 6 boards. Talented swing-man Edvinas Ruzgas was held to just 6 points by the Nebraska defense.


Nebraska’s offense continued to struggle for the 2nd straight game. Without a viable inside presence, scoring droughts will continue to happen. Teams that are geared like this, such as Tennessee the past few years, naturally go through this. The upside is that these teams can score a flurry of points in a hurry. The downside is that you’re not going not going to put away and breakdown teams as quickly as you would like. Get used to it. Every game against a formidable opponent will inevitably be a battle from now until the end of the season. That’s why Doc Sadler took these kids though “the hardest preseason workout he has ever had”. With a team like this it’s about being mentally tough. It’s about finishing. It’s about finding a way to win. When you don’t have that inside presence, it’s imperative that your team is extremely mentally tough.

Nebraska won the rebounding battle 31-30. I think our guards are rebounding at a high level so far this season. Dennis Rodman allegedly told a coach once, “Do you want me to box out or do you want me to rebound?” Rebounding is a mentality. You can coach and develop a player into a good fundamental rebounder. You can’t coach a player to be a great rebounder. A great rebounder has a totally different mentality. They don’t think about putting a body on someone, they attack the ball. While we don’t have any Dennis Rodmans on this team, we do have 3 players who attack the ball and are willing to battle anyone for that rebound. Those three players are Ade Dagunduro, Sek Henry, and Toney McCray. These guys have that natural instinct. You can’t put a price tag on that, at least not this season as we try to live without Aleks Maric. Players like Ryan Anderson, Steve Harley, and Cookie Miller have been built by Doc Sadler to be good rebounding guards. Rebounding will continue to be a struggle all season, but I give Doc Sadler major credit for coaching some of these kids up in that area and letting players like Ade, Sek, and Toney use their instincts and aggression.

Nebraska was the best defensive team in the Big 12 last year. They have shown why so far this year. They have had a few breakdowns here and there, but they are getting out in passing lanes, causing pressure, creating turnovers, and playing great on-the-ball defense. Tonight, TCU only went 10-of-37 from the field and 3-of-19 from behind the arc. Some of that was poor shooting and shot selection by TCU, but most of it was Nebraska’s defense. TCU had some pretty good ball-handlers out there and the Huskers still forced 14 turnovers on the road. Luckily for us, our offense isn’t going to have to score a ton of points for us to win our fair share of ball games this season.

Paul Velander. Is he the best walk-on in Nebraska basketball history? Just broke out my Magic 8 Ball: It Is Decidedly So. This guy means so much to this program. Paul Velander is not the fastest guy in the world, nor is he the most athletic. All this kid does is bust his ass every day in practice and gives us 110% effort in every game. He doesn’t do it for the scholarship money, he does it for his team, his fans, his state. Paul’s senior day will be coming up later this season. Let’s thank him for his service. Let’s fill the Bob with 14k+ and give him the thanks he deserves! Here’s what I’m thinking: Let’s make up red shirts with Paul’s face on the front doing the “Blue Steel” Zoolander pose on it. On the back we can put, “Paul Velander Center For Children Who Can’t Jump Good”. Let’s rock the Bob 14k+ strong in these shirts! How awesome would that be? Paul Velander is a great player, a great student, and symbolizes everything a Husker should be! We love you Paul!


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The Huskers used a strong first half performance to beat San Jose State at the Bob Devaney Sports Center today winning 63-46.  The team used some impressive defensive pressure in and some hot shooting from 3 point range to take a 38-20 lead at the half.  The second half started off very slow as it appeared Doc wanted the team to work the ball inside.  The team struggled to get points low and shooting cooled off from the outside.  The Spartans were able to cut the lead to 7 at one point until the Husker second team came in and turned the pressure up.  This pressure led to a nice run for the Huskers and put the lead back to near twenty.  The final spread ended up being 17 points.

First Half Breakdown:

The first half saw the Huskers dominate the game.  Their pressure really bothered San Jose State and they were able to get multiple turnovers using ¾ court pressure.  Then when in half court defense the team was using hard pressure on the ball and stepping into passing lanes trying to create turnovers.  When the ball went into the low post the team immediately double teamed.  What really helped the team expand the lead was their outside shooting.  The team was 7 of 12 from three in the first half.  Threes were raining in from all areas of the court; the Huskers definitely took advantage of their hot hands to expand the lead.  Even with the dramatic size difference the Huskers out-rebounded the Spartans 21 to 18 in the first half.

Second Half Breakdown:

The first 10 minutes of the second half the Huskers were just as cold as they had been hot in the first half.  They could not buy a bucket no matter if it was an attempt inside or from 3.  The team attempted to get some points low by getting Chris Balham a couple of looks to start the half, but he failed to convert.  During the cold streak Toney McCray was the only Husker to be able to get anything going.  The team finally got their offense going by Paul Valander making an open three pointer.  Doc turned up the full court pressure at that point and really disrupted the Spartans.  They had trouble getting the ball in bounds and their point guard really showed that he was a lackluster ball handler.  NU used a series of layups to extend the lead and finished out the game.

Player reports:

Toney McCray appears to be the real deal.  He is physically gifted and has definitely benefited from the redshirt year.  He is a physically impressive player that can get his shot and score whenever he chooses too.  Henry and Miller both did a nice job of running the point and applying solid defensive pressure.  Miller’s aggression and ability to push the fast break will help this team get points inside the paint off of layups in transition.  Ade Dagunduro and Ryan Anderson both had solid games and were very strong on the boards.  Brandon Richardson and Steve Harley both made open shots and took advantage of holes in the defense to get drives to the basket.  San Jose really packed the lane in to stop the dribble penetration from our guards.

Final Thoughts and Questions Moving Forward:

Are the Huskers going to be able to continue to get long rebounds from missed 3 point shots and keep possessions alive?  What will NU do when the other team has a capable point guard with the ability to successfully feed the post?  There were multiple times in the second half were the Spartans had dunks caused by NU’s lack of height.  Edwards and Balham are definitely still question marks down low.  Edwards did not enter the game until it was basically out of reach with 5 minutes remaining.  He did play well during the time he was in and showed the ability to score the ball from the post area.  Balham will have to play because of his defensive ability and size.  What does the team do moving forward if they cannot make their outside shots?  It almost cost NU big time in this game as the Spartans cut their lead.  They need to figure out a way to create some layups or other opportunities for easy baskets in the half court.  The defensive pressure they can apply is going to be the key to this team’s success.  Overall the team played very hard and it was an entertaining game.  This team will be fun to watch this year.

Go Big Red!

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Husker Basketball 2008

When Doc Sadler came to Nebraska in the fall of 2006 people expected an up-tempo pressing style of basketball.  So far that has not happened.  Alecs Maric by far the teams most talented player while creating mismatches against opposing teams was not suited to a run and gun game.  Also the depth and talent at the guard and forward positions was not where it needed to be to play fast.  Things have changed, Alecs is gone leaving a big hole, but the Huskers finally have the depth of guards to be able to play the pressing style of basketball that was promised when Doc arrived on campus.  The big question though is who is going to fill the void left down low and can Nebraska win without a prominent post presence?

This year’s lineup will feature a group of guards and forwards as there is not a true center on the team.   The probably starters will include familiar faces that have been in the program.  The only real question of who starts is at the point guard sport where Cookie Miller and Sek Henry are battling daily.  Here is my prediction for the starting lineup:

Sek Henry or Cookie Miller, Steve Harley, Ade Dagunduro, Ryan Anderson, Chris Balham

With the plan to run coach Sadler and the players have said that who starts will not matter as much because there are going to be playing 9 or 10 a night.

The other players that will probably fill out the regular rotation are:

True Freshman Eshaunte (Bear) Jones,  the Redshirt Freshman Brandon Richardson, Alonzo Edwards, and Toney McCray, Senior Paul Valendar

The biggest question mark on this team is down low.  Who is going to fill the big shoes that Alec Maric left?  It appears that the team plans to use a rotation of big men to get this done.  Chris Balham is going to be first looked at to fill this role, but as we saw last year his knees are questionable at best.  He had off season knee surgery to make his knee situation better, but his role with the team will be limited.  Doc will probably be happy with getting 15-20 minutes a game from Chris.  More likely though his minutes will be 10-15 a game with some games missed due to his knee problems.  With Balham’s physical issues redshirt freshman Alonzo Edwards must step up and play very well this season.  Coach Sadler is really pushing Edwards to get better everyday in practice.  If Edwards can live up to his potential he should be able to fill in the majority of the rest of the minutes at the 5 spot.  There are a couple of other people that are probably going to get minutes down low: Alex Chapman and possible Jorge Diaz if he can get qualified in time to start the second semester.  Diaz is working on his English proficiency test.  He needs to complete that test to be able to fully qualify at UNL.

Things to watch for:

This team should have very good guard and forward play although the front line players will not be any better than the other teams in the Big 12 conference, the second wave of players is just as talented as the starters are.  Watch to see how Ade Dagunduro has developed; has he matured to where he will not get two very silly fouls to start a basketball game?  Can Steve Harley get his shot going on something other than a screen?  The guards are not going to have the space they had to operate last year with Maric playing down low.

The key to the season:

The team should be able to score on offense with the players they are putting on the floor.  They will be able to score points when they are aggressive and play to their talents.  The big question is when they get into the half court sets how are they going to get that all important defensive rebound to closeout the possession?  If Balham can stay healthy this team is headed for over 20 wins.  If Balham can’t play this team is going to struggle especially when it comes to conference play.


My prediction is 20-10 regular season with a 9-7 conference record and on the NCAA bubble.  They will need to win at least one if not two games at the Big 12 tournament to make it into the NCAA tournament.  The team is going to have to live up to their potential to be able to achieve these goals.  The team is driven and Doc will push them very hard to be the best they can be.  It will be a very interesting season to say the least.

Go Big Red!


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Basketball season is kicking off and we are glad to have two new bloggers on board at NebSports.Com. Grant and Corey will both be blogging about the Nebraska mens basketball team throughout the season.

Look for a season preview from Corey later on today or tomorrow! Welcome to the site guys!

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NebraskaIt appears that Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler has finally got a recruit to come to the Univesity of Nebraska and play basketball.  Eshaunte Jones a 6-foot-4 guard who spent last season at Hargrave Military in Virginia, will enroll at Nebraska at the end of the summer, according to his travel team coach Eric Vaughn.

After the whole Roburt Sallie incident (who has now signed with Memphis) Coach Sadler really needed to get sign a player for the upcoming season and it looks like Jones is that man.  Jones has said that he got along well with the coaching staff when he visited and he really liked Lincoln.

Kentucky, Pittsburgh, and Baylor were also rumored to be in the hunt for Jones.

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NebraskaWalter Roese has decided to join the Nebraska Mens Basketball staff.  Roese had been with San Diego the last year and previously with BYU the two years before going to San Diego.

One big reason why Doc Sadler wanted Roese on the staff is because he is well known in international basketball.  Roese is a native of Brazil who is fluent in three languages. He coached the Brazilian Junior National team and the Brazilian squad for the 2007 World University Games.

Nebraska Basketball

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NebraskaThe most highly recruited player for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a very long time won’t be making it to Lincoln after all to play hoops for the Huskers.  Roburt Sallie and Nebraska were turned down by the Big 12 due to violation of Rule 6.2, which states that a student-athlete who enrolls at a conference school must meet initial eligibility requirements.

Back in 2006 when Sallie thought he was a Husker the first time he attended a couple of classes and that is what caused all of this problem.  Now Sallie will not be able to play any where in the Big 12 conference and is stuck trying to find another school to attend this late in the process.

What a bad deal all around…

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Husker BaseballOklahoma City, OK - The #7 Huskers have had a tough time finding that spark that has made this team so special all year long.  Last weekend the Husker looked competitive for the first 7 innings of a 3 game set in Columbia versus the Tigers.  Then, Johnny Dorn came out of the game and the Huskers have been outscored 46-16 since then.

That includes Wednesday’s 10-4 loss to the underacheiving Baylor Bears.  The team that took pride from it’s pitching has found itself desperately searching for someone who can throw strikes.  The team that averaged 3.17 walks per game before the Mizzouri series has walked 25 in their last 4 games, just over 6 per game.

Wednesday’s game was no exception.  Dan Jennings, who has cooled off of late perhaps due to being a little worn out, walked 5 in 6 innings although he only gave up 3 earned runs in the process.  Zach Herr, who’s been a staple in the bullpen, replaced Jennings and walked the first two batters he faced and left without retiring a single hitter.

Fortunately for the Huskers, Dorn will take the mound again on Friday against lowly Kansas State.  Perhaps Dorn stop the issue before the flood gates open.  Great pitchers are known for breaking losing streaks and we’re in the middle of one in what’s probably the worst possible time.  A good solid win the Nebraska way with good pitching, good fielding and solid fundamentals could be just what the doctor ordered, and not a moment too soon.

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NebraskaDoc Sadler has received a two year extension and a $100,000 per year raise from the University of Nerbaska.  Sadler can also receive more money if the Huskers make it to the big tournament and even more if they get some wins. 

Marc Boehm said entry into the NCAA tourney would earn Sadler an extra $100,000. More money comes with any NCAA victories: $30,000 in the first round; $40,000 in the second; $55,000 in the third; and $75,000 in the fourth.

In other Nebraska Basketball news, center Shang Ping has decided to transfer to a different school to seek more playing time.

A national championship would be worth $200,000

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