Nebraska hoops practice, 9.25

Cam Mack passes the ball during the first official day of basketball practice at Hendricks Training Center on Sept. 25.

Fred Hoiberg is feeling fine, thanks.

Asked Monday if the Huskers came out of their closed scrimmage against Wichita State healthy, the Nebraska mens basketball coach cracked: "Me? I feel great. Actually I have a bad hip."

The coach's potential mobility aside, Hoiberg said NU couldn't have gotten much more benefit out of scrimmaging the Shockers. 

Wichita State beat Nebraska 89-75, opening up a 10-point lead in the first few minutes. The teams also worked on various situational drills before going full 5-on-5.

But for an undersized team staring down the barrel of a 20-game Big Ten schedule in a couple of months, Saturday was a good crash course for what's coming.

"It was very helpful, because we just don’t get that look a lot in practice. You get a little bit with Dalano (Banton, who is 6-foot-8) and with Derrick Walker (6-foot-8, 235 pounds), two guys that will sit out for us this year, so you do see it some," Hoiberg said. "But to have all five guys, and the way Wichita plays, how hard they play, again, it was a really good experience for our guys to see it, we went and had a really good film session today, and got after it again on the court after a day off yesterday."

Hoiberg saw plenty he liked during Saturday's matchup. Nebraska attacked offensively, drawing shooting fouls on five of its first seven possessions. When the Huskers did get a rebound, they ran the floor with abandon — Hoiberg said NU scored 34 points in transition.

Point guard Cam Mack finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists, showing off the explosiveness NU's coaching staff saw during the recruiting process and the strength he's regained since landing in the hospital this summer after being diagnosed with Crohn's Disease.

"He just brings a whole different element to our team," Hoiberg said. "If there's a seam to attack, he hits that seam with great pace (and) he's a great decision maker once he gets in there; guys benefit from playing with him."

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But NU was smashed on the boards. Wichita State grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, part of a day that saw the Shockers outrebound NU 51-36.

"I thought it was the perfect game for us just because the personnel of the team that we faced was very similar to what we’ll see in conference play. They’re big, strong, physical, had a size advantage at pretty much every position. So it was a good experience for us," Hoiberg said. "That’s one thing I’ve talked a lot about with our group is, we’ve got to find a way to gang rebound. Guards have to do a good job of getting in there, and once we did secure the ball, I thought did a really good job of getting out on the break.

"So that was a positive. But too many offensive rebounds, and again, every time that thing goes up, man, we’ve got to make first contact, we’ve got to hit bodies. We can’t let them make first contact with us just because we’re giving up size."

Nebraska took Sunday off, and returned to practice Monday in preparation for Wednesday night's exhibition game against Doane at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Stevenson still awaiting waiver decision

Hoiberg said Monday there was no update on the status of Shamiel Stevenson's waiver request, but he did echo what the sophomore forward said last week.

"We're preparing as if Shamiel will be out there with us (when the season starts)," Hoiberg said.

Stevenson can't play in any type of game for the Huskers until his waiver is approved or he becomes eligible starting in December. 

After starting his career at Pitt, Stevenson transferred to Nevada last season after a coaching change. He then transferred a second time, coming to Nebraska, after Nevada coach Eric Musselman left for Arkansas.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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