Moos: Miles deserves chance to keep building Husker program
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Coach Tim Miles will be back for a seventh season at Nebraska and talks about a contract extension will begin after the NCAA Final Four, athletic director Bill Moos said Tuesday.
Miles is 97-97 with one NCAA Tournament appearance in six years. Moos, hired away from Washington State in October, said he liked what he saw this season as the Cornhuskers went 22-11 and finished tied with Final Four-bound Michigan for fourth place in the Big Ten.
“I’ve always considered him my coach and felt he had a pretty solid year and deserved to continue and to build the program,” Moos said in an interview with The Associated Press.
The Huskers went into 2017-18 off three straight losing seasons and finishes of no higher than 11th in the Big Ten. Former athletic director Shawn Eichorst chose not to extend Miles’ contract after each of the last two seasons. Miles has two years left on a contract that will pay him $2.375 million in 2018-19.
“I really can’t judge what he’s done before I arrived,” Moos said. “But I thought he did a real nice job this year. He brought in some talent and managed it very well. I really thought we improved during the course of the season, which is something I look for, especially when you have new players who are getting used to each other.
“And, hey, we won 22 games, 13 in the Big Ten and finished in fourth place when we were predicted to finish near the bottom. I didn’t see any reason not to continue the course.”
Nebraska beat Michigan by 20 points in Lincoln in January but lost by 19 to the Wolverines in the Big Ten Tournament. The Huskers were 16-1 at home, with the only loss by 1 point to Kansas, which also is in the Final Four.
The NCAA selection committee didn’t deem the Huskers’ resume strong enough for an at-large bid. They went to the NIT and lost at Mississippi State in the first round.
Nebraska is the only school from a power conference that has never won an NCAA Tournament game, and the last time the Huskers claimed even a share of a regular-season conference title was in 1949-50.
The Huskers opened a new practice facility in 2011 and new arena in 2013.
“Really, all we’re missing is the tradition, and you’ve got to start that at some time,” Moos said. “Arizona wasn’t Arizona before Lute Olson got there. Stanford wasn’t Stanford before Mike Montgomery got there. So you’ve got to start somewhere. Usually it’s with stability, if someone is having success.”
Nebraska also announced Tuesday that guard James Palmer Jr. and forward Isaac Copeland Jr. will declare for the NBA draft but will not hire an agent, allowing them to maintain their college eligibility if they withdraw their names from consideration by May 30.
Palmer was the Big Ten’s fifth-leading scorer, at 17.2 points per game, and a second-team all-conference pick. Copeland averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds.
More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org ; https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 and https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-special-events