One player transfers, ok. Two players, maybe there is something going on? But four players gone in one offseason? Perhaps it is time to do some program soul-searching for the Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball program.
Tim Miles’ team isn’t exactly off to a rip-roaring start to the offseason, as he has seen four players leave. None bigger than the announcement that Michael Jacobson is transferring out of the program.
Jacobson averaged 24.0 minutes per game last season, while putting up 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as well. The junior-to-be wasn’t just anyone on this team, he was seen as a glue-guy and a key component to Nebraska’s frontcourt.
However, his transfer puts a rather large spotlight on a troubling problem that has plagued the Huskers basketball program under Miles.
Miles, to his credit, acknowledges the difficult task of competing in the Big Ten. But, a quote from an article at Omaha.com should trouble anyone if you ask me.
— World-Herald Big Red (@OWHbigred) April 11, 2017
That isn’t exactly singing a positive tune. Miles should be embracing the challenge and getting his players to dig in instead of taking their ball and going home.
The flip side to that is at least Miles understands what some of these players are made of. If they don’t want to do the hard work of re-building or committing to a difficult task, perhaps they don’t belong in Miles’ program after all.
Research also shows that Miles and Nebrasketball’s situation isn’t really that out of the norm. According to NCAA numbers, some 40 percent of players who come to Division I basketball programs have transferred by the time they are sophomores.
Additionally, Nebraska’s four transfers are just four of 400 already in progress this offseason.
But, those numbers only hold water if it is a one-time thing for Miles. Additionally troubling is the fact that over 50 percent (57 percent to be exact) of the players Miles has recruited to Lincoln have left before their eligibility has expired. That can be a killer to any momentum a program is trying to build. It can also be a signal that something is internally rotten with a program.
Clearly this isn’t a one-time deal for Nebrasketball under Miles. However, it isn’t something that really bothers Miles all that much.
“I’m bothered by it, so I would expect our fans to be bothered by it,” Miles said to the Omaha World-Herald. “But we still have a lot of talent left here.
“I want to concentrate on guys who want to make Nebraska basketball a winner. If you decide you don’t want to be a part of that, I’m not going to hold it against a guy. You only get four years for a college career. So it’s got to go right, and on their terms.”
While the sentiment is a nice one, this past season on the court suggests this program has a long way to go in terms of being competitive at the Big Ten level. Losing four players off a 12-16 team and one that started off hot in the Big Ten only to go frigid isn’t exactly confidence-inducing.
The way this offseason has gone certainly should give athletic director Shawn Eichorst a lot to think about when it comes to Miles. Perhaps a change of scenery and a fresh start is what is best for everyone involved.
Rumors linking Miles to other jobs this offseason also haven’t helped things in terms of the public perception. Unfortunately for Miles and Co., perception can be reality and the reality is that Miles hasn’t been able to build a stable program.
What could’ve been a great building block in getting to the NCAA tournament back in 2014 has proven not to be a catalyst for things to come. Instead, it has been an anomaly of an otherwise mediocre (at best) coaching tenure.
Something needs to change quickly, and unless Eichorst knows something we don’t know it is hard to see that change coming from within this current Huskers coaching staff.
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