Mailbag: Basketball Stock
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Mailbag: Basketball Stock, Coaching Talk and What to Look for in Spring

March 20, 2019

Another week, another mailbag. The Hail Varsity staff is back to answer your Husker questions so let’s get right to it.

Where is Taylor Martinez in the latest issue of the magazine? (@JacobPadilla_) 

Erin Sorensen: You are the worst, Jacob Padilla. However, I want to address this. We unveiled the latest issue of Hail Varsity magazine earlier on Wednesday and were quickly met with many, “But where is [insert quarterback here]?” Considering I wrote the story, let me say that I have not been asked about a quarterback that isn’t included. Those on the cover are only a small sample and represent a key piece to the story told. But Taylor Martinez? Included. Brook Berringer? Included. Steve Taylor? Yep, he’s there. Vince Ferragamo? You bet. I will leave you with this: Subscribe.   

Mike Babcock: I mentioned some others in the Letter from the Editor. Every quarterback has an interesting story. Mickey Joseph, Mike Grant, Craig Sundberg, Tom Sorley, Van Brownson, Zac Lee . . .  

Hoiberg? I’ll hang up and listen. (@TheOlsonLab) 

Jacob Padilla: I wouldn’t pop the champagne until the deal is officially done. The news leaking when it did the way that it did is still a little fishy; who benefits from that being out there, especially when the team under its current head coach is preparing for a game? I find it hard to believe that the leak would come from somebody on Nebraska’s side (if it did, that starts a whole new conversation). All that being said, it certainly does seem like there is some fire behind this smoke and Hoiberg to Nebraska is much more of a possibility than I ever thought it would be. 

MB: Agree with Jacob. So as long as this is hypothetical, if Hoiberg comes to Nebraska, how long is he likely to stay? Is this a destination for someone who’s coached in the NBA? 

If Bill Moos hires Fred Hoiberg, does he become the most popular man in Nebraska? (@Jeremy_J_KCSR) 

JP: That would still be Scott Frost, I’d imagine. But sealing the deal with a coach like Hoiberg would certainly make up for some of the bumps in the road recently that people have had an issue with. 

Brandon Vogel: It had been a while since I’d really looked at Hoiberg’s Iowa State years. Pretty impressive. That said, if that were to happen it’s less of a slam-dunk hire than Frost was for football. I’m not sure many hires top that. It’s still amazing how everything came together there. Right guy (former NU quarterback) who had been patiently and wisely moving up the coaching ranks at exactly the right time (coming off a 13-0 season) for not just local excitement but national exposure. For those reasons, Frost’s approval rating still reigns. 

MB: Nothing better than the Frost hire. 

Seriously, why are so many people seemingly so down on Bill Moos? That's the feeling I get, anyway. Seems ridiculous to me. (@thawildbunch) 

JP: I think some of it is deserved. I don’t think he’s handled basketball well at all (and that’s not just my opinion, that’s also from people much more knowledgeable and important than myself). The statement repeating something he’s already said was bizarre––either stand by your previous statement of not making changes in-season or actually make the announcement if you’re going to say anything at all. But in his defense, he walked into a tough spot with where this basketball program was when he arrived. 

I'm assuming Hail Varsity and the staff will have a bracket challenge, you can’t choose yourself, but who wins it all? Who is everyone's champions? (@_LilBigRed12_) 

JP: I’ve won a bracket group once in my life and that was in 2013. I wouldn’t pick myself anyway. But with how many people seem to be all in on Duke, I’ll take Gonzaga to win it all to go against the grain. They’ve already beaten Duke once (the only team to do so with the Blue Devils at full strength), and the Zags did it without their best player from last season (Killian Tillie). Tillie is back now and even if he’s not full strength that’s a nice piece to have coming off the bench. Brandon Clarke is a game-changer on both ends and Zach Norvell Jr. can catch fire from deep like few others. 

BV: It’s Wednesday. I have yet to even think about filling out a bracket yet, which is a thing I occasionally do, just take a year off. I like games of strategy more than games of chance, and few things are more random than filling out a bracket. Whether you know the most about college hoops or the least, it doesn’t really matter because there are 63 independent events you have to try to correctly predict and even if we know North Carolina should always beat Iona, the sheer number of games makes it a total crap shoot as a whole. The way we talk about the bracket and how it is in reality are almost entirely divorced. (And, if you’re thinking at this point that this guy is no fun and not someone to play board games with you are probably accurate on both counts.) That said, I may still fill out a bracket and if I do I’ll try to employ a strategy that will be about as effective as trying to roll a 10 on a pair of dice. That said, I’d pick Derek to win. 

MB: I don’t do bracket challenges. Brandon wins. Zion Williamson, I mean Duke, wins it all, though I’m pulling for Gonzaga. 

Who wins a Natty first? Baseball or Basketball? (@brockwhite86) 

JP: I don’t think you can answer anything but baseball if we have to choose one. The baseball team has made the College World Series relatively recently. The basketball team has never won a tournament game. I’ve been arguing that the basketball team isn’t destined to be a cellar dweller, but winning a national title is a bit too far at this point. Winning the Big Ten in baseball is a lot easier than winning the Big Ten in basketball. There’s a better local recruiting base for baseball than basketball, for the most part. Do I need to continue? 

ES: Jacob pretty much said everything that needed to be said, so I’ll just say baseball and leave it at that. 

MB: Neither in my lifetime, or after. 

What things are you looking for in the second half of spring practices? Who’s making the moves for second string spots? (@CoryHonold) 

Greg Smith: I’m looking for any separation in the wide receiver position. On the defense, I’m intrigued by safety. We think Deontai Williams has an inside track to holding down one of the spots but who takes the other? We may not have answers on that until fall camp. 

BV: Wrote about a few of these things in the March issue, but I’m interested in how the offensive line continues to come into focus. That won’t be a “done pancake,” to borrow a term from Travis Fisher, by any means the day after the spring game is over, but I feel like we have a few frontrunners emerging for the top unit, but what’s the second group like like? The rotation as a whole? I’ll also be interested to learn a little more about how the d-line is deployed. Nebraska has the depth to get specialized if they want to. Is that the best way forward for 2019, or something else? 

MB: I’m with Brandon on the lines, particularly how Cam Jurgens progresses and where he is at spring’s end. 

Hey, Huskers. Here’s my question: if we said we were sorry and really did mean it, would you come back to the Big 12? You guys are sorely missed. #SeeYouInNorman2021 (@SoonerBV) 

GS: Personally, I wouldn’t want that. I grew up in the Big Ten footprint so it’s awesome for me that Nebraska plays the schools I watched as a kid. Also, I wouldn’t want Nebraska to give up that Big Ten money.  

ES: As much as I miss the Big 12 (well, Big 8, I guess), I’ve grown to appreciate the Big Ten and I think Nebraska is ultimately a good fit in it. Plus, you can’t beat the stability and money of the Big Ten. Maybe the Huskers can just find a way to regularly play some of those former Big 8 schools through the years like they’re doing with Oklahoma and Colorado. It’s a good trade. 

MB: The old guy says . . . I don’t like the B1G, never have. The move was for money and Chancellor Perlman wanted the academic prestige—plus Tom was frustrated with Texas. I miss the Big Eight, of course, because it was fan friendly. Folks could drive to most places. That changed a little with the Big 12. But also consider that Colorado and Missouri left the Big 12, as did Texas A&M, for whatever that’s worth. So only five of the Big Eight schools remain. Nothing lasts. Even so, I’d prefer the Big 12 for the five remaining Big Eight schools as well as for recruiting and competition implications. 

Where does Maurice Washington stand with Nebraska football team (@CkC_32) 

ES: Until he has his day in court, nothing has changed about where he stands. He’ll continue to be a limited participant through spring football. We’ll know more once his court date and a legal decision have come and gone. 

MB: Until the state of California decides, there’s no way of knowing.

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