The Nebraska Cornhuskers will try to forget about last season's woes as quickly as possible, and now the team is going to solely be led by senior captain Shavon Shields.
Nebraska finished 13-18 last season, with the team going 5-13 during Big Ten play, which was very disappointing for the Cornhuskers. The team obviously missed the NCAA tournament with a very poor record, even though the Huskers returned their three best players from the 2013-2014 season in Shields, Terran Petteway, and Walter Pitchford. The Huskers made the tournament during the 2013-2014 season, but the team could still not get their first-ever NCAA tournament win. Coach Tim Miles had high hopes for Nebraska during the 2014-2015 season, but even with three of their star players returning, Nebraska could not seem to find their identity during the season.
Next season, there will be no Petteway or Pitchford for Nebraska as both players have decided to forgo their senior seasons and try to make the leap to the NBA. So now, Shields is going to be the one true leader for the Cornhuskers, and his leadership and play is going to determine how far Nebraska can go next season.
Shavon Shields is built for the spotlight
Shields has been the captain of Nebraska since his sophomore season in Lincoln, which speaks volume of how much he means to coach Miles and the Nebraska program. He averaged 15.4 PPG and 6.2 RPG last season, and this season he will certainly be the go-to guy for the Cornhuskers. Shields is so gifted in the paint with he great footwork and soft touch, he is also a terrific mid-range jumpshooter. Shields has also been a great defender, and usually he is always matched up with one of the opposing team's best scorer.
Without Shields, Nebraska would struggle next season and the program is very lucky to have such a talented player like Shields. He has truly been a class act during his time at Nebraska, and his leadership and skill-set could lead Nebraska to their first ever NCAA tournament win in the 2016-2017 season.
Who else can help Nebraska next season?
The departures of Petteway and Ptichford will certainly hurt the Cornhuskers, but Nebraska will be welcoming some new faces to the program that will impact the team immediately. Andrew White is a transfer from Kansas that will impact the Cornhuskers and Michigan transfer Max Bielfeldt could be the big man that coach Miles is looking for if he chooses to sign with Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers will also be welcoming five new recruits to the program. Two players that will contribute right away for Nebraska are Ed Morrow Jr. and Glynn Watson. Morrow is a power forward that can play with Shields in the front-court, and Watson is a great point guard with loads of potential.
The Cornhuskers need these players to step up for the upcoming season if they want to finally win a game in the NCAA tournament, and having Shields as the leader of this team is certainly a great start.