On Monday, Tim Miles held his first press conference since official practice began over the weekend and shared his early feelings about his team, upcoming fan-focused events, the change in athletic director and more.
Miles has been consistent in his affection for his 2017-18 squad and reiterated that feeling right from the top based on some of the things he and his staff have done to improve the team after a 12-19 season.
“We’ve recruited better shooters,” Miles said. “I think we’ve made some changes to our pack-line defense to help us defend the 3-point line better. Those are big-picture items that we need to handle, but when I look at it I just really like this team.”
Miles revealed that sophomore center Jordy Tshimanga underwent a minor surgical procedure but said that the 6-foot-11 Canadian native would not be on the shelf for long.
“Jordy had a knee procedure that we did to take care of a little chronic tendinitis,” Miles said. “It’s more of a preventative measure … We just all are sick of the three years in a row where we’ve had to practice guys half a practice here or no practice here. You just don’t get better doing it that way so for him to be able to practice and play a complete year I thought that procedure had to be done and we did so accordingly. He’ll be ready to go in about give practices.”
Last season, both Anton Gill and Isaiah Roby missed significant practice time prior to and during the season and both of them struggled during their first season as Huskers. However, both of them are in good health this year and Miles hopes Tshimanga will follow in their footsteps shortly.
Gill, a senior guard, also saw his season ended after 12 games with a significant knee injury, but he was cleared shortly before the start of practice.
“Anton Gill I think has come back well from his injury, probably surprisingly well the way he’s practiced the first two days with actually no issues with his knee or soreness, not a lot,” Miles said.
Miles said the make-up of the schedule could force him to get creative with his defensive schemes based on how little prep time the team will get between some games.
“Eight one-day preps for a team that plays mostly man, and mostly game-plan man, you kind of look at that and you say ‘holy cow,’” Miles said. “I think you’re going to see a team, maybe for us, that’s been more multiple defenses than you’ve ever seen. I’ve done a press-and-zone some years and then mostly man but you might have to do multiple zones. I think just with that vast amount of whatever, almost 33 percent of your schedule being one-day preps, that’s a lot. But that’s the way it goes.”
Fans will get a chance to see both the men’s and women’s teams at the Huskers in the Haymarket event scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. on Canopy Street between R and Q Streets in downtown Lincoln. The event will include a dunk contest, a 3-point shoot-out and interactive games between fans and players and it is free for all to attend.
“I think it was one of my operations guys and then we invited the women to be a part of it,” Miles said about the origination of the event. “We’re also going to do another public scrimmage later in a couple weeks that we invited the women to be a part of. I think this was a two-headed monster to begin with. I think those things are great. I think it will be cool.”
Miles also addressed a few of the major recent news topics. First, he shared his thoughts on the corruption scandal that has been exposed surrounding college basketball and major shoe companies including Nebraska partner Adidas.
“First of all, I’ve had very positive associations with Adidas,” Miles said. “They’ve been people that we’ve known well and we’ve had a long association with them here at Nebraska. It’s just sad. I know some of those guys, I know their families, and whether it be the assistant coaches or the Adidas reps or whatever. You feel awful with what the involvement was with that. I’m confident that our program is in the right direction and doing the right things. You don’t worry about it, but you worry about what the ramifications are for college basketball. At the same time this may be a good thing. Maybe this had to come out the way it did and maybe it will be a better world because of it, the college basketball world. It’s just a tough deal to witness.”
Miles also shared his thoughts on Nebraska firing Shawn Eichorst and bring Dave Remington as interim athletic director.
“I talked to Dave a little bit,” Miles said. “I was sad to see Shawn go for he and his family. You hate to see anybody go through that. You have to trust your leadership, which is Ronnie [Green] and Hank [Bounds], our chancellor and our president, and now Dave. You just have to put your faith in them. This is my third head coaching job now in Division I. I’ve dealt with seven football coaches in three jobs. This will be the eighth athletic director, I believe, and six presidents. I’ve never finished a job with any of the guys that hired me … Those are all major power positions in a university. That’s kind of part of life … Shawn is very smart, he’s got the student’s best intentions in mind, there’s no doubt. He’s got a strong enough resume that he’s going to land on his feet.”
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.