No one had a better Memorial Day weekend than Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles.
Over the long weekend, both James Palmer, Jr. and Isaac Copeland announced their intentions to return to Nebraska for their senior year, and forego the NBA Draft.
“James and Isaac coming back were really, really important for us,” Miles said on the Husker Sports Network’s Sports Nightly Wednesday night. “I thought they made really mature decisions for the right reasons, too. Isaac had every option open to him, but like he said, we have unfinished business. That’s the right mindset you hope to see out of your guys.”
In all, the Huskers return six of their top eight scorers from last season.
Was doing the math.
With Palmer and Copeland back, the #Huskers return 6 of their top 8 scorers from last year. To put it in perspective, they return:
79% of scoring
73% of rebs.
75% of assists
72% of steals
71% of total mins.
It's go-time in 2018-19. #Nebrasketball
— Tommy Rezac (@Tommy_KLIN) May 29, 2018
Palmer, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound guard, was a first-team All-Big Ten pick by the conference coaches. He finished fifth in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.2 points per game, while also adding 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game.
Copeland, a 6-foot-9, 221-pound forward from Raleigh, N.C., provided a major impact in his first season at Nebraska, earning honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and media. On the season, he 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.
More news could be coming for Nebraska men’s basketball in terms of scheduling. It was announced two weeks ago that the Huskers will host Seton Hall in the 2018 Gavitt Tipoff Games. Nebraska will also host Creighton in December when the two teams renew their annual intra-state rivalry.
The Huskers could play as many as 25-26 opponents in the Power Five conferences, according to Coach Miles. While the rest of the non-conference schedule is yet to be determined, Miles said news will be coming soon on a marquee non-conference game in the neutral location of Sioux Falls, S.D.
The number of conference games also increased from 18-20 this season.
Nebraska will also play a pair of quality teams in the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, MO on Nov. 19 and 20. That tournament field will also include Texas Tech, USC and Missouri State.
“It’ll be one of those years when our schedule should be strong enough where you can win 19 or 20 (games) and get into the NCAA tournament,” Miles said, “because I can’t stand winning 22 and not getting in.”
Nebraska went 22-11 in 2017-18 and broke a school record with 13 conference wins, but were selected as a No. 5 seed in the National Invitational Tournament.
The fourth consecutive season of Golden State vs. Cleveland tips off on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. central at Oracle Arena. The Warriors are heavy favorites, but Miles isn’t sleeping on LeBron James and former Husker turned Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue.
“I just worry about the fire power of Golden State,” Miles said. “But, what LeBron James and Ty Lue have done, getting this team that far is nothing short of amazing.”
You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.