Nothing is official yet, but Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles is confident that both James Palmer, Jr. and Isaac Copeland will return to Nebraska for the 2018-19 season.
Both players submitted their names for the 2018 NBA Draft in late March, but did not receive an invite to the NBA Combine in Chicago, which takes place May 16-20. The NBA Draft is on June 21.
Neither player hired an agent, and have until May 30 to decide whether to move forward in the draft process or to maintain their college eligibility.
Miles said “testing the waters” professionally is something he typically encourages to his more talented athletes.
“(Testing the waters) is a term that the NCAA or NBA has used which allows players to go out and test the waters of the NBA,” Miles said. “It’s just like anything else, you’re sticking your toes in the pool and seeing how favorable it is for you.”
Palmer was a first-team all Big Ten pick by the conference’s coaches, while Copeland was honorable mention all-Big Ten by both the coaches and media. Both have one year of eligibility remaining. Palmer finished fifth in the Big Ten with 17.2 points per game. He also averaged 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game.
Miles said Palmer has worked out with the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder. He plans to work with the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday.
Copeland, who received his college degree in sociology on Saturday, averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. He was second on the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots and had three double-doubles on the year.
He’ll work with both the Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks next week.
“We’ve also taken calls from Cleveland, Houston and other franchises,” Miles said. “I’d say it’s more likely they come back than they go.”