MBB: Nebrasketball ready for the ‘fun’ to begin after a 5-2 start to the season

Depth on the Bench

Photo by Pat Radigan

Freshman Thomas Allen has dealt with a collarbone injury early in the year, but looks to be one of the Huskers who can provide a spark off the bench for this year’s edition of Nebrasketball.

After stand-out performances from Isaac Copeland, Isaiah Roby and Anton Gill in the team’s match up against North Dakota, Miles said he is looking forward to other players finding consistency on the floor as well.

“This is what this team has to be, it’s what we haven’t had,” Miles said about his team stepping up in responsibilities. “That’s what the depth is that we’ve talked about all year. The depth has got quality and can make plays.”

In the Nov. 19 home game, guards Glynn Watson Jr. and James Palmer Jr. combined for just 21 points and eight total rebounds. Multiple times this season Miles has emptied his bench, awarding playing time to nearly all the players on his roster.

Against North Texas, 11 of those players contributed at least one point. That same night, Miles burned the redshirts of freshmen guards Nana Akenten and Thorir Thorbjarnarson.

Joining the program this season is Thomas Allen, who will play alongside fellow products of the Garner Road AAU program in Gill and Copeland. Allen was ranked as the No. 99 overall player in the 2017 recruiting class and originally signed a letter of intent with NC State. However Nebraska saw an immediate need for Allen in its 3-point game and pursued the guard after a coaching change in Raleigh.

Allen’s expertise from beyond the arc will be vital to the Huskers as long as he is able to recover from a hard fall he took against North Texas. Allen landed on his tailbone with just under 10 minutes to play in the opener and has been slow to pick up momentum since.

Staying healthy has become a trend for the Husker bench. Roby hurt his ankle in Sunday’s win against Long Beach State, and is still day-to-day, while Miles said Allen is at “90 percent.” Gill missed the first few games of the year, but has returned to the lineup to make an immediate impact with his ability to score in streaks.

If Nebraska wants to up its offensive efficiency, especially shooting the ball, Allen and Gill will need to stay healthy as NU looks to continue to lean on its depth when the competition picks up.

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