The Nebraska basketball team gets its final dress rehearsal for the 2018-19 season on Thursday evening, as the Huskers host Wayne State for an exhibition game at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:01 p.m., and a limited number of tickets are available beginning at $7 by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets or calling 800-8-BIGRED.
Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Ben McLaughlin on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and on the TuneIn Radio app. Thursday’s exhibition game will be streamed online on BTN Plus with Zach Penrice and Scott Ayers on the call. The game is available on BTN2Go and online and on Flohoops.com. A subscription is required for both BTN Plus and Flohoops.
The Huskers enter the 2018-19 season on the heels of one of the best seasons in school history. Nebraska went 22-11 and tied for fourth in the Big Ten Conference before falling to Mississippi State in the opening round of the NIT. The Huskers return three starters and their top four scorers from a season ago, as NU welcomes back nine letterwinners.
The Huskers are led by All-America candidate James Palmer Jr., who led the Huskers at 17.2 points per game as a junior. The 6-foot-6 guard was fifth in the Big Ten in scoring and also chipped in 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Earlier this month, he was named to the Jerry West Award watch list for the top shooting guard in the country. He is joined by fellow seniors Isaac Copeland and Glynn Watson Jr. in the Huskers’ starting lineup. Copeland, who garnered honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors, was second on the squad in scoring (12.9 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg) and blocked shots (1.0 bpg) as a junior. Watson, a three-year starter, averaged 10.5 points and paced the Big Red in assists (3.2 apg) and steals (1.4 spg).
Wayne State returns three starters from a team that went 14-17 a year ago. Senior guard Kendall Jacks is WSU’s top returnee and paced the team in scoring (13.7 ppg), rebounding (4.9 rpg) and assists (2.2 apg) in 2017-18.
The Huskers open the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, Nov. 6, when NU plays host to Mississippi Valley State in the regional round of the Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker. A limited number of tickets for the opener are available on Huskers.com/Tickets or calling 800-8-BIGRED.
2 – Nebraska features two returning 1,000-point scorers in seniors Isaac Copeland Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr.
15 -Consecutive wins by Nebraska in exhibition games dating back to 2007.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
10 – Number of times since WWII that Nebraska has returned a first-team all-conference performer. James Palmer Jr. became NU’s first returning All-Big Ten player since Terran Petteway in 2014-15.
160 – Number of starts at Nebraska from its 2018-19 roster, including a team-high 77 by Glynn Watson Jr. In all, the eligible players at Nebraska have started 214 Division I games, as Isaac Copeland (49 starts at Georgetown) and James Palmer (five starts at Miami) both cracked the starting lineups at their previous schools before coming to Nebraska.
HUSKERS EXHIBITION HISTORYHUSKERS EXHIBITION HISTORY
Nebraska is 57-6 all-time in exhibition games dating back to the 1966-67 season and has won its last 15 exhibition games since a 54-50 loss to SIU-Edwardsville in 2006.
- The Huskers are 7-0 in exhibition games under Tim Miles including wins over Mississippi State in a charity exhibition and Northwood in 2017-18.
- Thursday’s game against Wayne State is the fourth time in seven years NU has played against an in-state program. The others were Midland (2012), UNK (2013) and Chadron State (2017).
- Under Miles, Nebraska has outscored its six exhibition opponents by nearly 32 points per game (84.4-54.6).
- Nebraska is 14-0 against in-state teams in exhibition games dating back to the 2001-02 season, including one previous matchup with Wayne State (74-51 in 2007).
SCOUTING WAYNE STATE
Jeff Kaminsky is in his third season at the helm of the Wayne State program. He has improved the school’s win total in each of his first two seasons, going 14-17 in 2017-18. The Wildcats led the Northern Sun in turnovers created (13.5), and was fifth in the conference in turnover margin (+2.5 per game). Prior to taking over at Wayne State, Kaminsky was the head coach at Valley City State University in North Dakota for 11 years, posting a 183-144 record that included five 20-win seasons in his last nine years at the school. His 2015-16 team recorded a 22-11 record and advanced to the second round of the NAIA Division II National Tournament.
- The Wildcats return three starters, highlighted by senior guard Kendall Jacks. Last year, he earned honorable-mention All-Northern Sun accolades by pacing Wayne State with 13.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 2.2 apg. Jacks reached double figures in 25 of 31 games and had eight 20-point games last season.
- Senior guard Trevin Joseph was second on the team in scoring at 13.5 ppg, despite making just five starts. Joseph led Wayne State with 48 3-pointers and shot 47 percent from the field. Vance Janssen is the third Wildcat returnee, as he played in all 31 games, including 30 starts. He was third on the squad in scoring at 9.4 ppg and also averaged a team-high 1.5 steals per contest.
- Wayne State’s roster features five in-state kids, including Lincoln East product Jordan Janssen. In addition, freshman Nate Theyer was a teammate of Husker freshman Brady Heiman at Platteview High School, helping the school to three straight Class B state tournament appearances.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ENTERING 2018-19
1) The Huskers enter the 2018-19 season welcoming back three starters and nine letterwinners from a team that went 22-11 and finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten with a 13-5 mark. The group includes All-Big Ten performers James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland and three-year starter Glynn Watson Jr., all of whom averaged double figures in 2017-18. NU also returns junior forward Isaiah Roby, who started 13 of NU’s final 14 games and led NU in both rebounding (6.3 rpg) and blocked shots (2.0 bpg). Nebraska returns 73.4 percent of its scoring, 61.4 percent of its rebounding, 71.5 percent of its assists and 67.2 percent of its blocked shots from last year. Last year, NU averaged 72.3 points per game, its highest average since the 1996-97 season (72.9 ppg).
2) Nebraska finished seventh nationally and second in the Big Ten in blocked shots per game with 5.5 per outing. It is the highest total since the 1996-97 team blocked a school-record 6.12 shots per game. Nebraska totaled 183 blocked shots last season, which is third on NU’s single-season list.Nebraska returns a pair of players who averaged at least one block per game last year in Isaiah Roby (2.0 bpg) and Isaac Copeland (1.0 bpg). Roby’s 63 blocked shots were the most by a Husker since 2001, while Copeland had 33 blocked shots after recording just 39 in two-plus seasons at Georgetown.
3) Nebraska returns three double-figure scorers (James Palmer Jr., 17.2, Isaac Copeland Jr., 12.9 and Glynn Watson Jr. 10.5) for the first time since the 1992-93 season (Eric Piatkowski, 14.3; Derrick Chandler, 12.3; Jamar Johnson, 11.2). In 1992-93, the Huskers won 20 games and finished tied for second in the Big Eight Conference. In all, Nebraska returns its top four scorers for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.
4) For just the second time this decade, Nebraska returns a 1,000-point scorer to the lineup, as Glynn Watson Jr. enters his senior year with 1,041 career points. It is the 10th time in program history that the Huskers had a returning 1,000-point scorer. Watson is also ninth on NU’s career steals list with 137 and needs 74 assists to crack the Huskers’ career top-10 list in that category. Watson was third on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game in 2017-18 while pacing the Huskers in both assists (3.2 apg) and steals (1.4 spg).
5) Isaiah Roby is one of only two returning power conference players to total 50 blocks and 50 assists last season, joining Missouri’s Jontay Porter. Roby’s 63 blocked shots ranked 10th on NU’s single-season list and was the most by a Husker since the 2000-01 season. Roby also joined a rare group of Husker big men who accomplished the feat.
HUSKERS RECEIVE FIRST RANKING SINCE 2014
For the first time since 2014, the Nebraska men’s basketball team is nationally ranked, as the Huskers are ranked No. 25 in the preseason USA TODAY Sports coaches poll released Oct. 25.The Huskers return three starters, including All-Big Ten selections James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland Jr, and their top four scorers from a team that went 22-11 and reached the NIT last season. In 2014-15, the Huskers were ranked in the first two coaches polls and were ranked 21st on Nov. 17, 2014.Nebraska is one of four Big Ten teams in the preseason coaches poll, joining Michigan State (10), Michigan (18) and Purdue (22). In addition, the Huskers’ ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent is also ranked as Clemson enters the poll at No. 23. The Huskers were receiving votes in the AP poll released earlier this month.
PALMER RECEIVES PRESEASON HONORS
Nebraska guard James Palmer Jr. has been lauded as one of the top returning players in college basketball. The 6-foot-6 guard comes off a junior season where he averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in leading the Huskers to a 22-11 record and an NIT berth. Palmer reached double figures in 31 of 33 games in his first season at Nebraska, including eight 20-point efforts. Palmer’s junior year was highlighted by a career-high 34-point effort at Ohio State. He is one of only five returning power conference players who averaged 17.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 3.0 apg last season.
Palmer’s Preseason Plaudits
- Preseason All-Big Ten
- Jerry West Award Watch List
- No. 13 returning player in college basketball by NCAA.com’s Andy Katz
- No. 43 player in college basketball by CBSSports.com
- No. 35 player in college basketball by Athlon