It is a known commodity who the big players are for Nebraska this season. The Cornhuskers will rely on James Palmer Jr., Glynn Watson Jr, Isaac Copeland Jr, and Isaiah Roby to carry the load for a potentially top 4 team in the Big Ten this season. However, a question remains with this quartet of players?
Is that enough?
Nebraska was a top 4 team last season in the Big Ten, won a school-record 13 conference games, but failed to get to the NCAA Tournament.
There is room for improvement within that nucleus. Watson Jr., in particular, struggled with offensive efficiency, especially against top 100 opponents.
Yet, beyond these four players, Nebraska is a web of questions. Who needs to slide into a breakout role to get Nebraska over the hump this season? Let’s take a look at three candidates.
Looking at Nebraska’s roster, this is the first name that jumps off the page.
Allen is a 6-foot-1 sophomore sharpshooter who lit up Kansas last season for 13 points on 3-4 shooting from three. On the season, Allen averaged a solid 35 percent from three on 48 attempts. He also scored 14 points against Delaware State nearly a week later.
The minutes dwindled for Allen after that momentary outburst in December, but this season he is vying for Nebraska’s top three-point specialist. He hopefully has used the off-season to get stronger and cutting down turnovers, but his shooting ability gives Nebraska a weapon that could ignite a stagnant offense, or change the complexion of a big game.
Take a look at Allen hitting a big three against Kansas last season.
The 6-foot-6 redshirt freshman guard will have an opportunity to contribute as one of the first players off the bench this season. Harris is a versatile combo guard that can play behind Watson, or whoever gets the starting job at the 2.
To play in the rough and tough Big Ten, adding weight was an important redshirt goal, and Harris seems to have met it. His old Rivals recruiting profile put him at 190, while this season has him updated at 205.
It is unclear how much Harris can contribute this season, but he should get a decent shot at quality minutes. He’s thought of as more of a scorer coming into Nebraska, and his length gives him a unique opportunity to be a disruptive on-ball defender.
Take a look at some highlights of Harris coming out of high school.
Expect Nebraska to play a lot of small ball this season. The Cornhuskers don’t really have a traditional center that they can rely upon, so things in the frontcourt could get interesting.
One of the newcomers that can fill that small ball 5 role is junior college transfer, Dedoch Chan. Chan signed on with Nebraska after a nice season with Mississippi Gulf Coast averaging almost 17 points per game.
Now junior college basketball is much different than the Big Ten, but due to the numbers, it stands to reason that Chan will get some minutes to see what he can do. He played a starring role at Mississippi Gulf Coast, so maybe an ability to pick his spots will lead to a breakout. There is still much to figure out with Chan as practices start to pick-up this fall.
Still, the center position will be a question most of the season. Chan has a chance to step in and find a nice role with the Cornhuskers.