About 24 hours after Jervay Green announced he was sticking with his commitment to Nebraska basketball, the Huskers' assistant coaches were still buzzing over the juco star's decision.
"Huge coup. Huge coup for us because that kid can really play. You’ll see, he has an NBA-ready body, can really shoot the ball, can handle the ball and he’s a great kid," Armon Gates said Monday. "He’ll be a great teammate. I think for our program to continue to have the success that it’s had, I think he’s a huge part of it."
Green averaged about 24 points, six rebounds and six assists per game this season for Western Nebraska Community College, earning second-team All-American honors for the Cougars. He originally committed to Tim Miles and his staff.
Green made a second official visit to Nebraska over the weekend, and reaffirmed his commitment Sunday. Both Gates and NU assistant and recruiting whiz Matt Abdelmassih said Green would be a focal point of NU's building efforts going forward.
"It speaks to Jervay and the people in his family to allow us the opportunity to try and get him to stay committed," said Abdelmassih. "He didn't have to. You see it all across the country — a lot of kids don't. He did, and that speaks to his passion and love that he has for this university and this program."
Assistants' salary info revealed: Doc Sadler will take a small pay cut while Armon Gates gets a nice raise under the structure of Nebraska basketball's assistant coach contracts.
Salary information for Fred Hoiberg's staff was released Monday afternoon.
Matt Abdelmassih, whose contract was revealed shortly after he was hired, will be Hoiberg's highest-paid assistant at $380,000. Sadler is next at $320,000. The former Husker head coach made $350,000 last year as the head coach at Southern Mississippi.
Armon Gates will see his salary bumped from $256,000 last season under Tim Miles to $300,000 this year. Bobby Lutz, who will serve as a special assistant, will be paid $150,000 annually. Lutz's salary is not a part of the $1 million pool of money Hoiberg had to pay his assistants.
All four NU assistants are on two-year contracts.
Lutz's duties wide-ranging: Bobby Lutz’s job title is special assistant to the head coach.
What does that mean? Essentially, a little bit of everything.
“Everything the NCAA rules allow me to do,” Lutz said Monday. “Primarily, it’s watching a lot of tape of our team and opponents. There are limits of what I can do, but scout our opponents behind the scenes. That’s something, when I was at Iowa State (with Hoiberg), I scouted every opponent and I did that at N.C. State and I also did it with the (G-League) Windy City Bulls. … That’s something I’m comfortable with and, more importantly, Fred is comfortable with me doing.”
The North Carolina native and former Charlotte head coach said he also will watch plenty of tape on recruits and on NU’s own players.
“Right now I’m watching all the NBA games and picking out things that may fit into what Fred already does because you’re always trying to improve and tweak (or find) teaching points to show our players.”
Not only that, but he’s also spent the first week on the job putting together NU’s nonconference schedule.
“When we came in, we didn’t have a lot of a schedule, basically,” he said. “The Creighton game was the only game and now we need only one. In a week or so, we’ve basically put together our schedule or we’re getting close.”
Italy trip part of busy summer: Next season's Nebraska's roster, whatever it eventually looks like, will gather for the first time June 10 to begin summer workouts.
That will be the first chance for the Huskers' coaching staff to see what they have to work with as a collective.
"We just want June 10 to come as fast as possible. When we could have whatever team it may be on campus all together where we can get to work with them," Abdelmassih said. "There's a lot of time between now and then and that's great, because we do need the time. But we're really excited about having these guys here."
Abelmassih added that the team will be in Lincoln for the entire summer before heading to Italy, Aug. 3-13. Nebraska will play four games while overseas.
"To have that experience is going to be a huge positive for us just to be able to play four games there against competition and just see what we have," Abdelmassih said.
New (but exciting) backcourt: Green and fellow Husker guard Dachon Burke both bring scoring chops to the table, but neither have played a minute for Nebraska just yet.
Burke, the 6-4 Robert Morris transfer who sat out last season to satisfy NCAA requirements, averaged 17.6 points and 2.1 steals per game.
NU assistant Armon Gates, the lone holdover from Tim Miles’ staff, has high hopes for the backcourt pair.
“One of the most dynamic backcourts in the country, they have a shot to be,” Gates said, likening the duo to former Iowa State guards Monte Morris and DeAndre Kane, who helped lead the Cyclones to the Sweet 16. “I actually went back and watched some of those (ISU) clips and it’s extremely exciting to see the possibility of what (Green and Burke) can do in that same system.”
Gates has seen Burke play in through his transfer year and thinks he and Hoiberg will get along well.
“Burke is a kid that if you love on him, he’ll do anything for you,” said Gates of the junior who shot a combined 3% from three-point range at Robert Morris. “I think Burke, one of his weaknesses is shooting the ball consistently and that was Coach Hoiberg’s strength, so he loves that aspect of Coach Hoiberg spending that time with him on the court, fine-tuning his shot. I think that solidified D-Burke right there and locked him in.”
Sadler, Roby have talked: Doc Sadler has talked to Nebraska senior-to-be Isaiah Roby, who’s considering a jump to the NBA.
Sadler made it clear that Roby might do well to consider how well he would fit in Fred Hoiberg’s up-tempo system and how much he would benefit from Hoiberg’s coaching.
After all, Hoiberg played and coached in the NBA, and as Iowa State’s head coach he sent nine players to the league.
If Roby would decide to come back to NU, “that guy’s game would be expanded so much, it’s incredible," Sadler said. "It would help him down the road."
Akenten still with program: Nana Akenten was suspended for the final six games this spring for a violation of team rules, but Gates said as of now he’s still on the team.
“Nana’s still with the program,” Gates said. He’s got to take care of some things academically, but I think Nana will be fine.”