For Nebraska basketball, no good news can come without some bad.
Four days after the Huskers landed a top 100 recruit, guard Thomas Allen, the team also lost its director of basketball operations.
Usually, losing a director of basketball operations wouldn’t be a big deal, but the fact that Nebraska lost him to a high school team isn’t a great feeling for Huskers fans. But even if that was just a coincidence—a guy who wants a head coaching job—it’s yet another instance of someone leaving the program.
Such has been the predicament for coach Tim Miles since he arrived in Lincoln in 2012.
Miles hasn’t struggled to bring in top talent since he became the Huskers’ coach. He signed four-stars Isaiah Roby, Glynn Watson, and Ed Morrow, and brought in star transfers Andrew White from Kansas and Anton Gill from Louisville. He has done so behind his own enthusiasm and the Huskers’ outstanding practice facilities, as well as his team’s miracle run to the NCAA Tournament in 2013-14.
But since that tournament berth, things have soured. And in Miles’ five years, his biggest issue has been keeping players around. Miles has lost 11 scholarship players, including 57 percent of the players he recruited out of high school.
Just did the math – he's had 14 HS recruits at Nebraska. 8 have transferred. Only guy to stay four years so far was Webster.
— Eric Gibson (@RLR_Eric) March 30, 2017
That’s a whopping transfer rate.
Transfers aren’t always bad for the program or the players. Sometimes, players don’t fit. Sometimes, players are branded as quitting on their team when in fact the coaches are the ones forcing them out.
That said, it’s not a good thing for a program to lose that much talent. There’s still talent in Lincoln, but the team has been incredibly inconsistent, perhaps due to the constant turn-style of players. Nebraska went 12-19 last season, with losses to Gardner-Webb and Rutgers, but wins vs. Purdue, vs. Dayton, at Maryland and at Indiana.
The question is what Nebraska can do to reverse this trend, or if it can even be done under Miles.
Nebraska has outstanding facilities, and despite being in a state with little basketball talent, the Huskers have proven they can recruit top talent from all over to come to Lincoln. Those tangible pieces that can help Nebraska build its program will be there even without Miles.
But can Miles be the one to get the Huskers back on track? Momentum might not be real in basketball, but it certainly is in recruiting and in program perception, and with so many people leaving the Huskers’ program, Miles might be past the point of no return.
There is talent in the program, and the potential for a turnaround, but unless that talent starts to stay, Miles isn’t going to be the one to get Nebraska over the hump.