Copeland, Allen ready for big roles; Huskers have eye on March Madness
A year ago the only thing Isaac Copeland could do is stand in place and shoot.
“Now the guy is going up and he can throw it off the side of the backboard, windmill dunk it,” said Nebraska coach Tim Miles. “I mean, he looks 18 again.”
That’s good news for Nebraska. Copeland, the Huskers’ starting forward, will be vital this year, especially if Isaiah Roby’s injury persists. Copeland was honorable mention All-Big Ten last season with 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Miles said he thinks Copeland needs to improve on one-on-one isolation, but Nebraska has guys who can create one-on-one already, like Glynn Watson or James Palmer.
The biggest plus of all may be Copeland’s shot. He hit 36.9 percent of his 3-pointers last year but was near 40 percent in the final 10 games of the season.
“He looks like he’s continued that trend in our workouts,” Miles said.
Allen steps up
Nebraska is in search of a two-guard to replace Anton Gill, and it just might be sophomore Thomas Allen. The highly-recruited shooting guard wasn’t much of a factor last year, playing just 9.9 minutes a game and averaging 3.2 points.
Miles said he and Allen had a chat after the season, and Miles pointed out his best two games were against Kansas and Michigan — two Final Four teams. Allen, then a true freshman, shot 5 for 7 from the floor against KU and made 3 of 4 3-pointers in just 14 minutes.
“So what that tells me is you can compete against the best, but how do you bring it every day,” Miles told Allen.
So far, Miles has liked how Allen has responded. And then quipped about giving Allen a Batman costume.
Nebraska won 22 games last year but didn’t make the NCAA tournament. Part of that was because of a schedule that let Nebraska down.
Miles is pretty sure that won’t be the case this year.
“We tried to put together a schedule that challenges us,” Miles said. “And I think we’ve got the things in place to get us down the line.”
Nebraska will play Creighton, Seton Hall, at Clemson and a neutral-site game against Oklahoma State in the nonconference. Plus the Huskers will play either Texas Tech or USC in a December tournament in Kansas City. Add that to 20 league games in a Big Ten that will likely be stronger than it was last year, and Miles thinks Nebraska will be in pretty good shape.
“I think it should be enough schedule to get us where we need to go but I don’t think anybody really knows how the new metric is going to figure out,” Miles said.