It’s been fairly quiet the past few months on the Nebraska basketball front. The football machine doing its thing the past couple of weeks played a big part in that. And that’s somewhat to be expected, but before you know it, the Devaney Center will be filled with the squeaking shoes on the hardwood and the dribbling of basketballs up and down the court. Nebrasketball fans are also hoping there will be more swishing of the nets as those balls pass through them.
Today marked the unofficial official countdown to the tip off of the season as the Big Ten basketball coaches met in a large ballroom in Chicago and the unequivocal hit of the morning has been the new coach of your Nebraska Cornhuskers, Tim Miles. Husker fans have been somewhat familiar with Miles for some time now, but this was the first time the Big Ten media horde got a look at him and he made quite an impression.
Miles engaging personality, self-deprecating humor and quick wit were on full display at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. He poked fun at Northwestern coach Bill Carmody, Chicago Cubs fans and the dude that set up the conference schedule, which is very front loaded for a team that finished at the bottom of the league last year. His honesty and blunt realism with the project that is ahead were also on display. "It's a league that you have Hall of Fame coaches, you have unbelievable teams with traditions and we're trying to put our mark up there with them."
With a lack of instate talent to feed the program, though some see a bumper crop coming in the next few years, that only heightens the challenge for Miles. "We have to develop guys, no doubt about it. We have to do a good job of developing our players and hopefully our style of play makes that happen in a better way, but you're in an elite league with elite players and we're going to have to look under any rock possible and go anywhere in the world and recruit" he said. We’ve already seen Miles willingness to go anywhere for talent. Husker fans are hoping that will turn into wins as a result.
Miles knows he’ll have every opportunity to win and when he does, it’s going to be a pretty great place to be. "You don't have to go far to see our athletic department through-and-through is outstanding" said Miles, adding "we need to get men's basketball up and running where it should be. It's been since 1998 since we made the NCAA."
Miles is less than two weeks away from his first game at Nebraska and four more away from a game what will remain on his record and he can’t wait. Recalling a conversation he had with Michigan head coach John Beilein: ""I've been in a lot of leagues and there is nothing like the Big Ten on the environment, the on campus arenas, the fan support, there is nothing like it."