Kentucky defeated Kansas to secure their 8th national title in school history. You may have heard about it. It was a decent game. Kentucky basically controlled it throughout. Meanwhile in the state of Nebraska, we're obsessed with the possibility of an alternate uniform. It's such a non issue. It's a one time deal, not a season long overhaul or fundamental change. It's a money grab that's it., calm down people. Sorry, I'll step down from my editorial soap box.
Meanwhile, over at the Hendricks Training Complex, head men's basketball coach Tim Miles has returned from his venture to New Orleans where he was reported to have interviewed several candidates for his two open assistant coaching positions. Reportedly, he's filled one of those spots with Northern Iowa assistant Ben Johnson.
Johnson has spent the past four years at UNI after stops at Texas-Pan American and Dayton. He is a native of the B1G footprint in Minneapolis, MN which is of oh, so much importance while also playing point guard for two B1G schools, Minnesota and Northwestern. He'll probably be working with the guards.
Miles has one remaining spot to fill on the coaching staff. He told Brian Rosenthal that he will wait and see how things play out at Colorado State before making any final decisions on that last spot.
Today also came with the unfortunate, yet unsurprising, news that junior center Jorge Brian Diaz will not be returning to the team. Diaz has struggled to stay on the court in his time in Lincoln. He struggled with foot problems throughout his time here hampering his productivity and at times even keeping him from being able to play at all. Diaz almost never made it back to Lincoln for his junior season after contemplating staying in his native Puerto Rico.
Diaz was often criticized for his perceived passionless play, often based on his proclivity to lay the ball in when a dunk may have been more prudent,especially in traffic. Taking his foot problems into consideration, it's not unreasonable to conclude there was more going on than just a lack of passion. Despite all that, he was a productive player when he was able to get on the floor. He was a capable scorer in the paint with a soft touch that was difficult to defend because he could score with both hands. His slight frame caused him to get pushed around a bit on defense but was a capable shot blocker.
The loss of Diaz is a significant loss for this team considering that leaves an already thin post game that much thinner. This will put a lot of pressure on Andre Almedia to stay healthy and in shape, two things he has yet to be able to do at Nebraska. He is a skilled player and should be a significant player for this team next year, but if he can't stay on the floor, that will leave the Huskers with Brandon Ubel alone on the post. That could trigger the return of the "Mighty Mites" to the Devaney Center, which, ironically was Doc Sadler's best team. Nebraska might just have the depth (despite their experience) to do it.
With Diaz's departure, Nebraska's scholarship numbers now sit at 10 (see notes at the bottom for more) which leaves Miles with three open scholarships to fill for next year if he can find capable guys to fill those spots.
One of those guys might just be former Omaha Central star guard, Deverell Biggs . Biggs was a dynamic athlete for the Eagles and one of the most explosive players to come through the state in quite some time. Biggs went the JUCO route after high school after not making grades after high school. This past year he lead the Seward County CC team to a third place finish at the NJCAA tournament. He's a capable scorer, averaging better than 14 ppg and is a very good defender as well.
Biggs has also made it known he would like to return to play close to home and currently does not hold an offer from Creighton. He also holds an offer from Oklahoma State and some other mid-majors. He would be a much needed talent upgrade and should be Nebraska's to lose. This would be a solid pick up late in the game for Miles and NU as well as starting a foundation with Central which should be a significant factor in the success for NU over the next 3-5 years.
Two more notes from Rosenthal's twitter machine: Mike Fox, a walk-on from Beatrice who saw significant playing time this past season, will not return to the team next year and they will seek a medical scholarship for Christopher Niemann.