Success breeds Optimism: When the University of Nebraska’s 2013-2014 basketball season ended, I think the team needed to send three messages. One to each the Big Ten Conference and to the NCAA’s selection committee that said: “We’ll be back next year even stronger and more determined.”
The third message to Big Red fans. “Thank you for your support; we look forward to seeing you in the stands next year. We’ll ride your energy to unparalleled heights of Nebrasketball.”
This season saw Nebraskaland suspenders stretch with pride because of their Cornhuskers’ fortitude on the court. As the young team gained experience, fans began to see confidence. Like a net, this confidence surrounded them and promoted cohesiveness.
Leaders learned to lead. To improve his game, Big Red catalyst and co-captain Terran Petteway, from Gavelston, Texas, stayed in Lincoln over the summer. He stayed in order to have access to the gym and weight room at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
With that level of commitment from their floor general, I’m sure other team members find a way to improve their game over the summer.
Reasons for optimism: Nebraska finished this season 19-13 and, for the first time in 16 years, received an invitation to the NCAA tournament. I believe they lost that tournament game because they weren’t emotionally ready for the magnitude of the NCAA’s. Nevertheless, I don’t think Nebrasketball fans left the game disillusioned; they saw promise and effort despite the ineptitude. They viewed a team learning the ropes of big-time college basketball.
I see the future orchestrating an impressive array of basketball amenities for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The team, clothed in youth and experience, is hung out for display by a young but experienced coach.
Only one of Coach Tim Mile’s basic eight-man rotation graduated this year. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Coach Miles will have five experienced starters returning next season. If he recruits a couple of experienced junior college players, I think he”ll have the rotation to keep fresh and talented players on the court.
Then, too, if defensive specialists Benny Parker and David Rivers improve their offensive output, Nebraska could place a Luke Skywalker type force on the basketball court.
Next season is Coach Miles third year at Nebraska; he and the team are acquainted and each knows what to expect from the other. This eliminates the task of mutual learning. Furthermore, the present Nebrasketballers can help new Cornhuskers learn Coach Miles nuances.
In addition, Coach Miles and his team showcase their wares in a two-year old state of the art arena in front of avid red-clad fans.
How avid? Last season, to motivate his team in a must-win contest, Coach Miles asked fans to remain standing throughout the entire game. The standing-room-only home-court crowd not only stood, but they stomped their feet and exercised their lungs as one. Mass pandemonium reigned and the Huskers upset Ohio State.
Wonder what would happen if fans remained standing for every home game?
Go Big Red.