I thought I'd give my thoughts on Doc Sadler, Nebraska's new basketball coach, a few days to solidify before posting. I must admit that my first impression wasn't totally favorable; I thought "used car salesman". However, I've mellowed over the first few days and considered it further, and now I'll rate it "cautiously optimistic".
Considering the current state of malaise revolving around Husker basketball, a salesman might be one of the things Nebraska needs. Dana Altman's success at Creighton has siphoned off much of the fan support for Nebraska basketball, and Sadler just might be capable of recapturing some of that lost support.
My first reaction listening to Sadler's introductory press conference was a "WTF" moment when he said that players could freely substitute if they thought that somebody on the court wasn't giving enough effort. But, then I thought about it a little more and realized what this really meant. Some of my favorite Husker hoopsters were Bruce Chubick and Andy Markowski, 2 guys who outworked anybody and everybody on the floor. (Creighton fans should recall a guy named Bob Harstad who played the same way.) If 100% effort is what Sadler is going to demand, then I'll give him a shot.
We'll see if Sadler can talk Aleks Maric and Jamel White to return in 2006-07. In any event, I'm curious to see where he takes this program. I do not believe the difference between Creighton and Nebraska basketball is anywhere as big as some perceive. 3 of the last 4 CU/NU games have come down to the last minute, though last year's blowout at the Qwest Center certainly fuels Bluejay egos.
In any event, Sadler certainly has sparked interest in Nebraska basketball with huge crowds at Misty's in Lincoln and Big Fred's in Omaha. Nebraska basketball is by no means dead, merely in hibernation. Can Sadler awaken the sleeping giant?