Thu, 21 Jan 2021

Huskers look for fresh start, host McNeese State

Field Level Media
24 Nov 2020, 10:40 GMT+10

Fred Hoiberg is scheduled to begin his second season at Nebraska on Wednesday, looking forward to gaining a sense of stability as the Cornhuskers host McNeese State.

The Cornhuskers are coming off a 7-25 record and heading into a time when COVID-19 is disrupting schedules around the country.

"We're just doing the best we can and what that entails for our guys is doing the right things and making the right decisions -- to do everything we can to keep (COVID-19) at bay," Hoiberg said.

Hoiberg was struck with an illness and taken to the hospital during the Big Ten tournament in March, which caused concern that he had COVID-19, but he tested negative.

Last month, an unnamed Nebraska player tested positive for COVID-19, but the Huskers have been able to practice without delays.

Through it all, Hoiberg says, "This is a group of players I've absolutely loved coaching."

Hoiberg, who formerly coached at Iowa State and the Chicago Bulls, added, "They're coachable. They play with great effort. They're competitive."

Hoiberg has some significant changes on a roster that last season dropped its first two non-conference games and eventually went 2-18 in the Big Ten, including losses in its last 17 games.

He's looking for a faster start and stronger finish this season, and will count on 6-foot-9 point guard Dalano Banton, a Western Kentucky transfer who scouts say could develop into a triple-double threat.

Also, Nebraska expects productive seasons from 6-9 power forward Lat Mayen, who has 3-point range; 18-year-old Frenchman Yvan Ouedraogo, who last season set the program's freshman rebounding record (208); and 22-year-old Icelander Thorir Thorbjarnarson, Nebraska's only player with experience in Big Ten games heading into last season.

McNeese State went 15-17 and finished seventh in the Southland Conference last season.

Coming off a record-breaking shooting season, McNeese State senior guard Dru Kuxhausen was selected to the preseason All-Southland Conference first team.

Kuxhausen, a senior who hails from Scottsbluff, Neb., accounted for five school records last season -- most three-pointers in a season (125, school and conference record), most 3-pointers made per game (3.9), most 3s made (10) and attempted (18, tied) in a game, and 3-point shooting percentage in a season (45.8).

His 125 made 3-pointers also led the nation.

"We've always known that I'm capable of doing something like that it was just a matter of getting the opportunity to do it," Kuxhausen said. "Coach (Heath) Schroyer and McNeese gave me the opportunity and my teammates helped me out and my coaches drew up good things for me."

--Field Level Media

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