Fred Hoiberg stands and watches players during practice
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Fred Hoiberg ‘Excited About This Group’ As Nebraska Gets to Work for 2021–22

September 27, 2021

Basketball season is on the horizon and the Nebraska men’s team is ready to get started. Coach Fred Hoiberg met with the media on Monday to kick things off, offering thoughts on his team and more.

The Huskers return seven letterwinners from the 2020–21 season, which includes starters Trey McGowens, Lat Mayen and Derrick Walker. Nebraska also brings one of the top recruiting classes in the Big Ten into the new season, highlighted by 5-star recruit Bryce McGowens and top-100 recruit Wilhelm Breidenbach. The Huskers also add a few Division I transfers: Alonzo Verge Jr., who averaged 14.0 points per game last season for Arizona State, as well as former top-100 recruits C.J. Wilcher (Xavier) and Keon Edwards (DePaul).

“I’m really excited about this group,” Hoiberg said. “We have had an offseason this year which is very beneficial when you’re trying to add new players into the mix.”

Hoiberg noted that the Huskers were limited in what they could do in 2020–21, focusing a lot on individual work. Many players focused on working with their roommates as Nebraska tried to be as careful as possible through COVID-19 protocols. Despite that, Hoiberg was proud of what last year’s group was able to do, especially after a three-week pause in activities due to a COVID outbreak on the team.

Now that Nebraska has turned the page to a new season, Hoiberg is pleased with chemistry between the players through the early stages of the offseason. That obviously will be tested once Nebraska gets to games, but the head coach is happy with what he’s seen so far.

He also said that it’s been important to have some continuity on the team—it’s the first time in three years for Hoiberg—and the the older players are able to help. It makes it easier to coach up the younger players, especially with the goals the Huskers have set for themselves this season.

“They want to make a big jump and accomplish something that’s never been done with Nebraska basketball,” he said.

More news and notes: 

>> Bryce McGowens may only be a freshman, but he’s already impressed Hoiberg.

“Bryce is as talented of a kid as I’ve had the opportunity to coach,” he said.

With that said, Hoiberg reiterated that McGowens is still a freshman so there will be a learning curve that requires adjustment on his end. “As talented as Bryce is, we have to have patience,” Hoiberg said, because of that learning curve. He added that few have the gifts that McGowens has.

>> Hoiberg said that his biggest challenge this season is going to be establishing a rotation. He said there are a number of guys on the roster this year that he feels are capable of being on the floor and making an impact.

“My hardest job this year is going to be establishing a rotation,” he said.

>> The biggest upgrade the team made over the offseason? Perimeter shooting. Hoiberg said that guys like Keisei Tominaga, Wilcher, McGowens and others all have strong shooting backgrounds. He also likes the upgrade they’ve made in the depth department.

>> The Huskers are healthy going into practice. Hoiberg said they should have everybody on the court as they begin official practices.

>> Nebraska is set for the Opening Night with Husker Hoops on Friday.

Fans will have their first opportunity to see the 2021–22 Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball teams at the event at Pinnacle Bank Arena, which will includes introductions of both the men’s and women’s team. The men’s team will also host a short scrimmage, followed by a concert by G Herbo.

“We expect a big crowd that night,” Hoiberg said, adding that G Herbo is a personal favorite of his and that it should be an exciting night for all.

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