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Boone Takes Seat Next To Coach In Husker Loss

February 3, 1996

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Nebraska’s leading scorer had a good seat for the Huskers’ loss to Big Eight rival Iowa State on Saturday _ right next to the coach that benched him.

Jaron Boone sat in street clothes next to coach Danny Nee, watching the Husker coaches work and encouraging his teammates in the 75-65 loss.

``I think a picture is worth 1,000 words,″ Nee said. ``From the intelligent things he was saying to Strickland and the other players, I think it was a lesson.″

Boone had a locker-room confrontation with Nee at halftime against Kansas State last Wednesday and didn’t play during the second half. Nee has said the suspension was indefinite, but may start Boone at Missouri on Wednesday.

Boone was averaging 15.9 points per game. Nee said the turmoil surrounding Boone hurt his team against the Cyclones.

``We can’t have all different things going on off the floor and come on the floor and play basketball,″ Nee said. ``When you take your leading scorer out of the lineup, it’s a factor. I think he’s an important part of the team, period.″

Senior guard Erick Strickland and freshman center Venson Hamilton, who led Nebraska with a career-high 18 points, said they were frustrated by Boone’s absence and behavior.

``It’s frustrating, but we didn’t step up to the challenge,″ Strickland said. ``Whether it’s adversity on the team or his absence or something else, we’ve got to find out what it is soon. We’re not playing the same way we did early in the year and early in the Big Eight.″

Hamilton has a simple solution to cure the woes of the Huskers, who have lost three straight league games and stand a disappointing 3-4 halfway through the conference season.

The solution, said Hamilton, is this: ``Jaron Boone’s coming back with a change of attitude and playing better and all that.″

Strickland agreed with Nee that watching the coaches was a good learning experience for Boone, who was not available for comment.

``I guess he got a coach’s perspective today,″ Strickland said. ``He really sat in there and listened to what they were talking about so he can understand what they’re trying to do.

``Then, hopefully, he’ll work off the attitude or resentment or what it is he maybe has with the coaching staff.″

Nee said he expects Boone to return to his ``normal role″ by the Missouri game.

``I expect you’ll see an enthusiastic, positive player, playing up to his potential,″ Nee said. ``Do I believe he can come out and be a leader on the team and help us? Yes. Absolutely. I wouldn’t bring him back otherwise.″

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