Coach Miles and Shavon Shields discussing game plan during a free throw. (Photo by: Lincoln Journal Star).
The 2015-2016 was full of highs and lows (mostly lows) for Nebrasketball. This season was much anticipated going in. We had our Kansas Jayhawk transfer Andrew White eligible for his first season, a long with a veteran Shavon Shields and big time freshman recruits Glynn Watson Jr. and Ed Morrow, “The Baddest Dude in Chicago.” Unfortunately, we wildly underachieved posting a below .500 16-18 record. We had a couple highs however, beating eventual Big 10 champion Michigan State by 1 point on the road and beating Wisconsin in the second round of the Big 10 tourney. Now, let’s take a look at how the key players played throughout the season.
Shavon Shields (Senior, Forward): A-
Shavon had a great senior season to cap off his lustrous Nebraska career. After the departure of high scoring Terran Petteway, Shavon stepped nicely into the leading scorer role for Nebraska though he did much more than just that for the team. He was also a solid defender, usually guarding the teams most lethal guard, while leading the team with 38 steals throughout the season. Shields rose to the occasion when it came to big games throughout the season. He posted a career high 32 points in a losing effort to then ranked 15th Purdue. He then put up loud 28 points in a big 72-71 win against eventual Big 10 champion, Michigan State. That marked his 3rd win over the Spartans in his Husker career. Husker Nation will miss Shavon and wish him the best of luck in his future.
PPG: 16.8 RPG: 5.1 APG: 2.7
Andrew White (Junior, Guard): A
The Jayhawk transfer certainly lived up to the hype he brought in when deciding to transfer from Kansas to Nebraska. He stepped in and immediately took on a chunk of the scoring load for the Huskers. White had a pretty stroke from behind the 3-point arc while having no problem putting it on the floor and taking it to the rack when need be. White was also a lock down defender for Nebrasketball. With an undersized squad, White was often seen guarding much bigger post players and doing more handling his own which can be accredited to the high basketball IQ he often displayed. Jerrand Howard, a Kansas assistant said on White, “We have our practice facility, which is open 24 hours, and that kid, he was in there more than anybody. He stayed in the gym working on his game outside of practice.” His scoring prowess, defensive ability, basketball IQ and work ethic were enough for him to enter the draft, due to the new rule were players can enter the draft without signing an agent and remain eligible to come back and play next season if the so desire. White had a good outing with multiple teams but decided it was best for him to come back for his senior season and boy, are we glad to have him back.
PPG: 16.6 RPG: 5.9 APG: 0.6
Tai Webster (Junior, Guard) : B-
Tai really came into his own this year for the Cornhuskers. The 4-star recruit from New Zealand seemed to have a hard time adjusting to the college game his first couple seasons. Webster seemed more comfortable on the court this year than in previous, maybe the summers playing with Team New Zealand had a part in that. Webster has gone up against some of the best guards in the NBA, such as Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook while playing valuable time for Team New Zealand. Which may have led to Tai looking more confident handling the ball than ever, while also adding 10 points a game for the Huskers. Tai picked up his intensity on defense co leading the team with 38 steals alongside Shavon Shields. Tai stepping up this year was huge for Nebraska and we hope to see him progress even more into his senior season.
PPG: 10.1 RPG: 4.1 APG: 1.9
Glynn Watson Jr. (Freshman, Guard): B-
Glynn Watson provided a spark the Huskers desperately needed off the bench. While some thought he should have been the starting point guard, he was better suited coming off the bench as a true freshman. He got time to hone in his skills at the Division 1 level as he progressed nicely throughout the season. Glynn’s jump shot seemed automatic within 15 feet and his court vision was great all season. When Glynn becomes more consistent, which is sure to come, he will have a bright future not only in the Big 10 but possibly at the next level. He proved to be clutch late in games and was a master at the ‘extra pass.’ He might not have started the games but he usually finished the games.
PPG: 8.6 RPG: 1.9 APG: 2.4
Benny Parker (Senior, Guard): C
Benny’s season can be pretty summed up by his nickname Husker Nation bestowed upon him. The Energizer Bunny. Not many Big 10 teams’ lock down defender is 5’9 but Benny reeked havoc on opposing point guards defensively. He was pest, pressuring them full court and not giving them an inch. Offensively, Benny wasn’t much of a threat. Benny couldn’t really create his own shots or finish at the rack but if he caught an open kick out with his feet set, he had the green light to pull the trigger. His mid range jumper is pretty, goes in more often than not, and helps keep him on the court along with his defensive ability and pass first point guard mentality. Benny had a great career in the Big 10, something no one thought he could do at 5’9 and we will truly miss him lacing up the sneakers in the Bank.
PPG: 4.8 RPG: 2.3 APG: 2.2
Michael Jacobson (Freshman, Center): C+
Jacobson seemed to be a surprise for Husker Nation coming in as a true freshman and adding valuable time at the Center position. It was no secret Nebraska lacked in the big man department but at times Jacobson provided just what we needed. He seemed capable of snagging boards, guarding opposing big men and showed quality footwork and touch in the post. Jacobson wasn’t overall consistent throughout the season but being a true freshman gives him more room for error. We look forward to seeing how Jacobson will progress and hope his big time glimpses turn into him being a big time player
PPG: 4.7 RPG: 4.3 APG: 0.5
Coach Tim Miles: C
What can be said about Timmy Miles? Husker Nation absolutely loves him. Since he has taken over we’ve made the Tournament and got increasingly better. We’ve brought in way more talented recruits and people are seeming to like Nebrasketball almost more than our traditional football program. So why does it seem that Miles might almost be on the hot seat? Well, the Huskers blew many leads throughout the year and almost seemed to always come up short. Though, we’ve had some impressive wins we usual seem to be in every game before we piss it down our leg. To our fans, it seems obvious to who have in at the end of the games but to Coach Miles it seems like he might favor seniority over basketball talent. Not a good mix to win basketball games in the Big 10. Though Coach Miles might be seeming to play the wrong personnel resulting in blown games, Husker Nation truly does love him. Let’s hope next year he figures out how to win some of those close games and implement the right players in the right situations.