Nebraska basketball held its first practice of the 2018-19 season Tuesday afternoon. Media was allowed in for about 30 minutes of the workout. A few takeaways from our brief time inside the Hendricks Training Complex
» Junior forward Isaiah Roby practiced for about 15 of the 30 minutes. Roby’s dealing with plantar fasciitis, a heel injury. He seemed to be able to jump fine — as seen on a few towering dunks in a drill — and was able to step into his shot well. After 15 minutes, Roby took himself out of a drill and was limping a bit. After a brief conversation with Tim Miles, he sat the rest of the time media was able to watch.
» When media arrived, players were already shooting well before the practice was scheduled to start at 3 p.m. James Palmer Jr., Nebraska’s leading scorer from a year ago, had clearly been in the gym for a while, his grey shirt damp with sweat. He’s been showing up to shoot at 6 a.m. most mornings and at least an hour before afternoon workouts.
» Look out for freshman Amir Harris. He held his own in a one-on-one drill against some of the bigger guards. His shot looks a little like former Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion and could use some work. But he’s an aggressive defender who can get to the rim, and is crafty when he gets there. Plus, he might be the best dunker on the team.
» Sophomore Thomas Allen changed his shot a bit. It looks smooth. Much quicker. He worked on that this summer, he said last week. Nebraska needs a shooting guard who can stretch the floor.
» The first drill of the 2018-19 season was a shuffle and close-out drill. Nebraska didn’t take a shot of any kind for at least 20 minutes after the start of practice.
» Former guard Evan Taylor was at practice. As was Marc Boehm, who oversees the basketball program for the athletic department.
» Isaac Copeland hit the weight room this summer. And his shot looks great. He’s big enough, if Miles wanted, to play some center this year. A Copeland-Roby stretch four and five could really be an issue for the Big Ten.
» Armon Gates, Nebraska’s newest assistant, is everywhere. During drills, he’s a constant yeller, and when guys did well, he jumped in the air and threw out high-fives. Plus a lot of “Hell yeah!” Take Bob Diaco’s coaching style of constant screaming but add in a stream of affirmation. He’s a shot in the arm at practice, for sure.