NU men's basketball media day, 9/19

Nebraska guard Nana Akenten takes a selfie at media day at the Hendricks Training Complex on Wednesday.

How's this for a comparison?

Isaiah Roby said this summer that Husker head coach Tim Miles gave him an article to read about Grant Hill while comparing the junior forward to the Duke legend, NBA star and Naismith Hall of Famer.

"He was saying that, me not being aggressive (offensively) is being selfish. Because I don't like to be selfish. And he's saying by not being aggressive, you're being selfish to our team and what we're trying to do," Roby said. "So he's been trying to instill that in me, and I think it's something I took a big step in, just all the work I did this summer, I think that's going to help me a lot this year."

Roby came on strong as the season progressed last season, finishing the year averaging 8.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game before asking for feedback from NBA scouts on what to work on in the offseason.

The junior and the rest of the Nebraska men's basketball team took part in the squad's annual photo day Wednesday at the Hendricks Training Complex as the start of the 2018-19 season edges closer. It figures to be one of the most intriguing seasons in the recent history of the program, which returns four starters from a team that went 22-11 and 13-5 in the Big Ten last season.

They've got the look: Another summer in the weight room had several players looking stronger than last season. Among those who appeared to make the biggest jumps were sophomore guards Thomas Allen and Thorir Thorbjarnarson, along with Roby and Isaac Copeland.

Allen said he played at about 172 pounds last season, which made it difficult for him to fight over the top of screens and defend the pick-and-roll. Now up to 184 pounds, Allen said he's already noticed a difference in workouts after a "humbling" 2017.

Copeland spent most of last summer and early fall rehabbing from back surgery, and subsequently fell behind his teammates when it came to weight training. After finally feeling close to 100 percent late last season, Copeland said being healthy over the summer allowed him to build muscle, and come into fall camp feeling as good as he has in some time.

Roby continued his impressive transformation from his freshman season. After being listed at 214 pounds in 2016, Roby is listed at 6-foot-8, 230 pounds.

Standing out: Amir Harris was mentioned by several players as a newcomer who stood out in summer workouts.

The 6-foot-6 freshman guard from Frederick, Maryland, was added to the roster in May after being ranked by Rivals as the No. 32 point guard in the nation, and his athleticism and defensive ability almost immediately caught the attention of his new teammates.

He said he often guarded either James Palmer, Roby or Copeland in those workouts. Pretty good introduction to major college basketball.

New threads: Nebraska players wore their new home white uniforms for the first time Wednesday. The most noticeable difference to the ensemble is light gray pinstripes on both the tops and shorts to go with the traditional red lettering.

A Husker manager said the road red uniforms will feature white pinstripes. There also figure to be the usual array of alternate uniforms, including the black-and-cream jerseys the team wore at various times last season.

Almost that time: The first official practice of the 2018-19 season is Tuesday, 42 days before Nebraska's Nov. 6 regular-season opener against Mississippi Valley State. The Huskers play Wayne State in an exhibition game Nov. 1. Miles will meet with the media Monday.

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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