Another week, another mailbag.
This week the Hail Varsity crew takes on questions that deal with the men’s and women’s basketball programs, the baseball team’s recent struggles and we even throw in a bit of high school football recruiting.
Let’s get to it.
What does the addition Sam Griesel mean for the men’s basketball program?
Jacob Padilla: First and foremost, he’s a phenomenal character kid who truly cares about the Nebraska program and wants to do whatever he can to help the team find success. He’s a guy that I think Nebraska fans are going to really enjoy cheering for. From an on-court standpoint, he’s a big guard that can get downhill and put pressure on the rim in pick-and-roll and transition situations. He improved his perimeter jumper significantly this past season and can also attack closeouts. He’s pretty good at finding shooters on the perimeter after breaking down the defense as well. He didn’t play against any high-major teams this season so we’ll have to see how his game translates to a higher level of competition at this point in his career, but he was outstanding in the Summit League Tournament this season. Fred Hoiberg recruited him to play the point, so he’s part of the answer for how the Huskers will replace the playmaking of the departed Alonzo Verge Jr. and Bryce McGowens.
Steve Marik: Like Jacob mentioned, Griesel is a big guard, and one that has experience running the point. From watching him at North Dakota State, he just seems like a consistent guy with the ball in his hands. A strong and steady player, which I think that program needs. He’s going to love playing for Nebraska, too.
Were you surprised by the Nebraska women’s early exit in the NCAA Tournament?
Mike Babcock: I was. Anything can happen at tournament time, of course. I thought the Huskers would get more than 21 points combined from Shelley and Markowski, for one thing (and both had four fouls). As far as that goes, Bourne and Weidner had only eight points combined. Haiby was the only one who really stepped up. The Huskers needed to shoot free throws better. They shot well from 3-point range, but the assists were down. You just never know at tournament time, but I expected the Huskers to win at least one in Louisville.
Drake Keeler: Not really. That’s no disrespect to the Huskers, but rather praise for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs came into the game hot, having won the West Coast Conference Championship over BYU. They’re a good team, and that showed in their somewhat close loss to Louisville as well. I wasn’t going to be surprised either way the game went.
Steve: I wasn’t overly surprised. Like Drake said, Gonzaga was good and had some really excellent players. It’s good that this group got the experience of playing in an NCAA Tournament—especially the two true freshmen in the starting lineup in Alexis Markowski and Allison Weidner. That will bode well for the future of this team.
If you could change one thing about the Nebraska baseball team, what would it be and why?
Mike: Have a starting pitcher step up. A consistently effective Friday night starter might give the Huskers some confidence. Yes, they won Friday’s game, but 13-12. They looked as if they were just going through the motions by Sunday, as embarrassing a loss as I’ve seen in 40-plus years. The Big Ten could be a struggle. Nebraska just about has to win the conference to get to an NCAA regional now. Never thought I’d be saying that in March.
Steve: Mike hit the nail on the head in my opinion. You need to have consistently good pitching to win baseball games. The Huskers haven’t had that this season.
Your NCAA Tournament bracket or brackets…how’s it looking?
Mike: No brackets for me, but I would’ve had the St. Peter’s Peacocks in my Sweet Sixteen picks . . . not.
Jacob: I’ve gotten more picks right than Greg and Steve at least.
Greg Smith: That’s unfortunately accurate, Jacob. I regret not filling out my bracket in time now.
Steve: Yeah, about the bracket…usually I fill them out every year. Not sure what happened this season. I would’ve picked Gonzaga anyway. I know, I know, I’m boring.
Erin Sorensen: Better than anticipated.
Lincoln East’s Malachi Coleman is blowing up on the recruiting trail after the offer from Georgia. What do you think he’ll play in college—offense or defense?
Greg: I’ve been pretty consistent that I believe Coleman ends up on offense. As college coaches have told him, it depends on how his body develops. I can see him being a really athletic 6-5, 200-pound wideout at the college level who isn’t afraid of contact but can stretch a defense. I could end up being wrong and he’ll continue to add a lot of mass, but I’m sticking with wide receiver.
Steve: I’m with Greg, I really like Coleman and think as he continues to grow into his body, receiver will be the spot for him.