After a tough ending to the Big Ten season, Nebraska fans turned their heads with excitement to the future. The 2016-2017 season held a lot of promise. With the announcement of new assistant coach, Michael Lewis, and the announcement of Andrew White's return a few weeks later, the table was set. Tim Miles had all of the pieces he needed to take his team back to the postseason. That was, until about 6:15pm central time Saturday, when Jon Rothstein broke the following news on Twitter.
BREAKING: Nebraska's Andrew White has requested his release and intends to be a grad transfer, source told @CBSSports. Immediately eligible.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 25, 2016
Nebraska fans were shocked. How could Andrew White III, a player who averaged 16.6 points per game want to leave a program that he would have led his redshirt senior season? Jeff Goodman of ESPN answered that question later Saturday night.
Nebraska AD Shawn Eichorst told ESPN Andrew White requested release. White didn't play at KU, wasn't happy. Played at Nebraska, wasn't happy— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 26, 2016
"I spoke with Andrew last evening in which he asked me how he can proceed with a release from Nebraska. There have been discussions with Andrew and his father about Andrew's place in our program for months, and this is his decision. Even though I am extremely disappointed, he will be given a complete release as the logistics are handled this week. We will move on. I am truly excited about our team and next season."
After the initial shock wore off of his departure, Brian Rosenthal of the Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska pointed out that although White announced to Twitter he would return for his final season, he did not specify where.
Very good performances and experiences through pre-draft but I will be doing one more year of College Basketball.— Andrew J. White III (@AndrewWhite03) May 26, 2016
Andrew White is an athletic wing that wants to play professional basketball. In his eyes, the departure allows him to potentially transfer to a school that has the ability to make the NCAA Tournament in 2017. With the extra exposure, his chances of making an NBA roster may rise.
But where does this leave Tim Miles and Nebraska?
Well, to be frank, not in a good place. Tim Miles is losing his leading scorer and a versatile wing player that played a key role in Nebraska's offense and defense alongside Shavon Shields. This upcoming season was supposed to be the season White lead the floor. Although there is depth on the Nebraska roster, this affects where Nebraska will fall in the Big Ten rankings this upcoming season.
Nebraska had the potential to make the postseason with White on the wing. Now, that is all in question. Miles will have to heavily rely on the development of his players in the off-season to fill the void of White's shooting and rebounding numbers. Unfortunately, White's exit may end up being the difference maker in Nebraska's chances of making a post-season tournament.
The good news is Anton Gill, a transfer from Louisville, is eligible to play this upcoming season. Tim Miles also has depth on the roster with Tai Webster, Jack McVeigh, Glynn Watson Jr., and Michael Jacobson.
Unfortunately, It looks like Nebraska fans may have to wait another year to watch the Cornhuskers go dancing in March.