1-2 Punch Can Put Huskers on B-Ball Map

Click arrow above to see ESPN praise of Nebraska’s basketball facilities.

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By Randy York

Someone asked what I thought of Nebraska losing fiercely contested recent home basketball games to Oregon and Wake Forest, not to mention the loss at No. 17 Creighton. “Discouraging?” they asked. “No,” I said, and I meant it. Nebraska had a decent chance to win all three games the Huskers lost, and I remain more encouraged than discouraged for two reasons: 1) this team has enough talent and fight to make the Huskers’ first season in the Big Ten Conference both competitive and interesting; and 2) Nebraska has a 1-2 punch that can put the Huskers on basketball’s map.

When I say 1-2 punch, I’m not talking Bo Spencerand Dylan Talley. I’m talking Nebraska having what two ESPN announcers called the best basketball practice facility in the country right now and then moving into the Pinnacle Bank Arena for all games beginning in 2013. After living in their new digs for less than two months, the Huskers’ new home for men’s and women’s basketball is already getting rave reviews. “Our new practice facility and the new arena show our commitment to men’s and women’s basketball,” said Marc Boehm, executive associate athletic director in charge of both NU basketball programs. “We’re expecting both facilities to enhance recruiting and have a dramatic impact on performance.”

Put a checkmark next to recruiting right now. During the second half of Nebraska’s battle with Wake Forest, ESPN announcers Mitch Holthus and Miles Simon couldn’t say enough nice things about the new Hendricks Training Complex. Simon, in fact, tweeted four times to his 2,831 followers: 1) to report that he was getting treatment in Nebraska’s new training room for a minor injury; 2) to call @huskerhoops facilities “right now best I’ve seen … 2 103-inch TVs, a multi-screen video wall with 9 TVs that can become 1 and even “TVs in the toilet stall”, a discussion that carried over to last week’s national telecast; 3) to acknowledge that every player has his own iPad in the locker room that coordinates anywhere in the building … “unreal stuff” …; and 4) to report on the popcorn bag in Doc Sadler’s office and how much he loves it.

Tweets are fun, but on-air repartee is even more compellingfor recruits because Simon and Holthus agree that Nebraska’s basketball practice facility is the best they’ve seen … anywhere. Hit the arrow above and listen to Simon describe why recruits will be impressed. Please remember this high praise is coming from 1997’s Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four. Simon led Arizona to NCAA Tournament upset wins over three #1 seeds – North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky – en route to the national championship. He scored 30 points in that “Battle of the Wildcats” national title game. Holthus, the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs and one of the Midwest’s most respected play-by-play announcers, was equally enthusiastic about Nebraska’s $19-million practice facility investment. He considers the Hendricks Complex more impressive than new facilities recently built at Kansas and Texas A&M. Knowing how well Nebraska’s everyday home turned out, Husker fans can’t wait to see what the new $179 million Pinnacle Bank Arena will look like in the West Haymarket area. “It’s the big part of our 1-2 punch,” Boehm said. “We see it as a real game-changer for Nebraska basketball.”

Send a comment to Randy at ryork@huskers.com

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