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          Release: 05/25/2010
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NU Hoops Blog -- May 2010

Posted by: Jerry Trickie
May 25, 2010, at 11:12 a.m. 

And here it is.... the Hendricks Training Complex
I've heard from a number of people that they're interested and excited to see what will be available for the student-athletes in our new practice facility starting in the 2011-12 season. Well, here you go. We're only about a month or so from the start of construction, so it's a good time to share.

But first, I think it's appropriate to give a little thanks where it's due, most notably to the Hendricks family. Their generous donation is what jump-started the project. But it is a team effort and we're obviously appreciative of everyone who has played a part in this coming together.

So now, for the first public look at the facility. Click here for a 12-page PDF that includes a number of interesting drawings and renderings.

You can put it under the microscope for yourself, but you'll notice on the first page the location for the facility on the south side of the Devaney Center. This is prime area for many reasons, the biggest being that the addition will give fans - and recruits - and focal point for an entrance.

The toughest decision on physically bringing a recruit into the building in its current form is probably deciding where to enter. There is no specific entrance or lobby area to greet people and to give a 'wow' factor. As you look at the first page of the PDF, you can see the entrance from the parking lot, and this whole area will be seen nicely from the top of the Big X and coming down the Antelope Valley Parkway. This will be a valuable addition for all sports programs, but especially the basketball teams since their locker rooms and coaches offices will be right off this entry area. It's just a fantastic and appealing way to provide what should become a spectacular entrance - and awesome start to a tour of the facilities.

Flipping through the PDF, you can see the layout for the first floor locker rooms and courts, along with the wrestling coaches offices and the strength center. There's also a second floor layout with basketball coaches offices and then some renderings of other areas in the building, including the grand lobby I just mentioned, and more.

I'm sure basketball fans will check over this PDF thoroughly and have more questions. We'll address them as time goes on, and we'll have photo galleries of the progress of the building's construction starting the first day. So check back here at NU Hoops Blog for more.

One area that we'll try to get into deeper in September or early October will be parking. We still have a few more years at the Devaney Center and we're always looking for ways to make parking better. The addition of the practice facility, as you can see from the renderings, will likely cause a number of stalls to go away from the south side. And there's also the Innovation Campus construction that will be starting and other unforeseen parking issues that we'll always have to deal with, but I hope you understand that those things are already being planned for. We know it's tough when you have to sit there in your car for a long time to get in or out of the parking areas. We understand that. But we are trying, and we'd definitely like to hear from you if you have ideas to make it better. We can't always say yes to every suggestion or request, but we're going to listen and take them all into consideration.

That's it for now. If you have any questions you want to see answered here on the blog, just email (NUhoopsblog@hotmail.com) or Tweet me (www.twitter.com/nuhoopsblog) and I'll see what I can find out. Otherwise, enjoy checking out the newest Husker sports facility.

Until next time, thanks again for checking in again at NU Hoops Blog.

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Posted by: Jerry Trickie
May 21, 2010, at 2:02 p.m.

Playing Catch Up
Like I mentioned a week or two ago, Toney McCray and Christopher Niemann are each progressing well in their rehab from season-ending injuries. They are now both back on the court, starting to play pickup games earlier this week with the start of the pre-session for summer school classes.

After lifting on Thursday, I caught up with the two of them in the locker room for a couple minutes each. They're both in great spirits and while they know they're not in basketball shape, they are about as anxious to get back into a daily grind on the court as I've ever seen.

So check out Toney's interview and Christopher's interview and see what they had to say. (NOTE: this is my first time using this flip camera and the editing software, so don't shoot the messenger for the quality... hopefully it'll get better with more experience)

And for future reference, we'll be doing more quick-hit interviews and more behind-the-scenes things for fans to see the program other than just on the court. We'll start to do more during the summer foreign tour in August and continue throughout the season. I've even talked with Lance Jeter about possibly doing a weekly video blog and he was more than willing to get on board to give back to the fans. Stay tuned.

That's it for now. If you have any questions you want to see answered here on the blog, just email (NUhoopsblog@hotmail.com) or Tweet me (www.twitter.com/nuhoopsblog) and I'll see what I can find out.

Until next time, thanks again for checking in again at NU Hoops Blog.

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Posted by: Jerry Trickie
May 19, 2010, at 1:02 p.m.

Quick Thought
I was just looking at ESPN.com during lunch and while I'm not a huge NBA fan, I take a minute every now and then to check out what's going on in that league. I'll be up front that I don't watch much of the regular season at all and not even that much of the playoffs unless there's an compelling factor, but I still check it out.

Well, I found something a little more interesting when I was looking around the page today. With last night's Draft Lottery stories, Chad Ford had his new mock draft 2.0 out there for public consumption. He's a pro when it comes to the the draft and I'd never debate him on who will go where, but I did find the list he had compiled to be interesting, especially from a Husker perspective.

Check it out for yourself and you'll see that they have nine players the Huskers faced this season who they think would be the right fit for teams in the first round. That's nearly one-third of the first round that played against the Huskers, including six of them in the Devaney Center. You could add one more in Wes Johnson from Syracuse, from his playing days at Iowa State a couple years ago.

That's a pretty impressive list of opponents and says just how good this league is every day.

Until next time, thanks again for checking in again at NU Hoops Blog.

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Posted by: Jerry Trickie
May 14, 2010, at 1:22 p.m.

Cleaning House
After being gone a good part of the last week, I have a few odds and ends to catch up on, so let's dive right in and have at it...

  • Congrats again to all the UNL graduates last weekend, especially our own Ben Nelson and Matt Karn. It's a great time and exciting for everyone, even though so many are anxious about getting jobs and starting out into the real world. For Matt, it's not quite the same as he'll still be lifting weights and running up and down the floor when he gets back from a little time off in his home state of Kentucky. After three bad injuries that caused him to miss two years of junior college ball and his first season here at NU, Matt has played only two years of college ball (one JUCO, one here). Luckily he was granted an extra year of eligibility and will play next season with his degree in hand.
  • Nebraska had the highest graduation rate (83 percent, I believe) in the Big 12 Conference for men's basketball in the last rating period, as announced last fall. NU's grad rate was strong under Barry Collier and Doc has continued that. When Ryan Anderson and Sek Henry graduate in August, they will mark the ninth and 10th Huskers to earn their diplomas under Doc in four years. That'll be 10-of-12 seniors under Doc to earn degrees (not including former Husker Marcus Neal Jr. who came back after Doc's first year to earn his diploma). Any way you look at it, that's a strong mark.
  • The big news around the city and for Husker hoops fans everywhere was the arena vote earlier this week. Wow. How great is this going to be for the city? I think Chancellor Perlman had it right that it was more important for the city and University to be able to keep young people and recruit students (I know naysayers: an arena won't do that job, but I'm telling you it sure helps) than it was for basketball. But it definitely is important to the hoops programs. Players nowadays -- much like everyday Joe Huskers?? I'd say yes -- want the shiny new things and an arena will help in that regard. It's a great step in the right direction for all parties and I can't wait till it's a reality.
  • One thing that will be a reality sooner than the arena is the practice facility. We'll have some drawings/graphics that we'll post here on Huskers.com next week to answer a few questions. If you have specific questions you want answered now, email me at NUhoopsblog@hotmail.com. I'll ask Marc Boehm and we'll try to have a few FAQ for you next week as well. Once construction starts in June, we'll have a little video and some photos every now and then to give updates.
  • Toney McCray and Christopher Niemann are about to start some 2-on-2 workouts in the next couple weeks. We're going to get over there and get an interview from each to see how they're doing and their thoughts on getting started again. They're going to be a big addition this season. Just wait.
  • Congrats to Aleks Maric on a great season. He was named to the All-Euroleague First Team and his team reached the Euroleague Final Four for first time in a decade. They lost by three in the semifinals and then by two in overtime in the third-place game. And at least one reputable blogger thinks he's really making some headway over there, rating him as the third-best player in that league. Also, pretty cool return home after Euroleague tourney. Who knows, maybe he will get a chance at his NBA dream after all. (And thanks to his sister for the video updates and keeping us in the loop).

Well that's about it for now. I'll try to check on the schedule for next season for our next update (Puerto Rico tourney matchups will not be announced until late June or July) but if you want any other questions answered, just email (NUhoopsblog@hotmail.com) or Tweet me (www.twitter.com/nuhoopsblog) and I'll see what I can find out.

Until next time, thanks again for checking in again at NU Hoops Blog.

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Posted by: Jerry Trickie
May 5, 2010, at 10:42 a.m.

Jobs Well Done
Now that we're fully into finals week and the semester is about over, I figured it's a great time to send out some congrats.

This weekend, UNL will hold its annual spring commencement ceremonies and the athletic department will have a huge number of current and former student-athletes across all sports who will receive their degrees. It's a tremendous accomplishment, finishing a degree in general, but also after participating in a Division I sport.

Sometimes -- actually most of the time -- fans don't see how much work these kids put in outside of their sport. Sure, we all hear about the time in the weight room, offseason workouts, morning runs, extra time spent on their own learning their athletic craft, etc., etc. But since they're on a bright, national stage -- and let's be clear, all of the sports at Nebraska are nationally recognized -- it's normally their athletic pursuits that are the only visible face seen by fans.

So it's nice at these times during the season to be able to point out a couple players and give them a tribute that doesn't have to do with athletics.

With the completion of the semester, senior forward Ben Nelson and senior-to-be Matt Karn will each earn their degrees. One of the funniest guys I've been around in my nearly 10 years here, Ben is one of a kind. I don't think anyone will ever forget some of his interesting and, let's say, unique conversations with Chris Balham on the buses and planes we've shared over the past four seasons. And while Matt has had a tough go with injuries on the court (which is why he's been granted a sixth year of eligibility next season), he's done nothing but continue to plug away in the classroom.

Chris already received his degree last August, and along with Matt and Ben, are helping keep the Huskers in the front of the Big 12 in men's basketball graduation rate. Last fall it was at a conference-leading 83 percent and will continue to grow this summer. Following Ben and Matt, Ryan Anderson and Sek Henry are scheduled to finish their degrees in August.

That will make 10 of 12 seniors under Doc who have received their degrees. One other former Husker -- Marcus Neal Jr. -- who did not play for Doc and who doesn't count in that total, came back to the program in 2007 with Doc's blessing and finished during the summer while helping out around the Devaney Center. Last I heard, he's doing well with a job back in his native Maryland.

Everyone wants to win on the court and every single person involved with the program is working harder than ever to make that a reality. But hopefully all of us can take a minute to sit back and actually see what's important in life and celebrate the successes going on here at Nebraska. This is a good weekend to do just that.

Until next time, thanks again for checking in again at NU Hoops Blog. Don't forget that you can email us at NUhoopsblog@hotmail.com or tweet us at www.twitter.com/nuhoopsblog with your questions and comments.

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