Lincoln, Neb. University of Nebraska coach Doc Sadler says he’s not surprised Kansas University’s young basketball team takes a 15-4 record (4-0 in Big 12 play) into tonight’s game.
“Kansas lost some guys that are doing very well in the NBA. Two years from now we may be talking about the same type of guys that are there now,” Sadler said.
“(Sherron) Collins will probably be a pro. You’ve got (Cole) Aldrich. You’ve got (Tyshawn) Taylor. Can we go on?
“I think Bill (Self) said it early, maybe even after their first practice. This group, if they stay together a couple more years could be the same type of team (as last year’s national champions). I really believe that.”
Sadler’s Huskers (12-6, 2-3) will play host to KU at 6:30 p.m., today, in Devaney Center.
“Taylor to me is going to be a guy people in this league talk about a lot in the next few years. He is a tremendous player,” Sadler said. “Collins is playing as aggressive as he’s ever played, not just the offensive end. He’s aggressive on the defensive end. It all starts with those two guys. They can really put pressure on you up there. You have to be prepared to try to do your best you can to not turn it over against them.”
Seven-footer practicing well: Newcomer Jeff Withey has been helping out quite a bit in practice, KU coach Self said. Withey, a 7-foot freshman who left the University of Arizona for KU, can practice but not play in games until the conclusion of the first semester in the 2009-10 school year.
“He plays on the second bunch. Cole and the guys playing the majority of minutes have to go against him every day. He’s been good for Cole. He’s so long. It’s hard to score over him. He gives Cole a good obstacle to score over,” Self said.
The 225-pound Withey, “is not in very good shape yet,” Self added. “In time, when he gets in shape and stronger, he’ll be a very good player. He can shoot the ball, do a lot of good things.”
Will he play or not?: Sadler told the Lincoln Journal-Star it is up to Brian Diaz whether he wants to play this year, or redshirt.
“After the last two days of practice, Friday and (Monday), there’s no doubt in my mind that he could really, really help this basketball team this year,” Sadler told the Journal-Star. “We’ll see kind of what he thinks. At this point, it’s his decision.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he could help us, and I would encourage him to play, because I’d want to play him. It’s not he’s a five-minute-a-game player. But at the same time, I don’t want him feeling the pressure. I want it to be his decision.”
Diaz, a 6-11, 235-pound freshman center, has practiced six times since becoming eligible.
Facts: The Huskers rank sixth in the country in scoring defense at 57.8 ppg. ... KU leads the series, 164-71. The Jayhawks have won 11 straight overall against NU and four in a row at Devaney. KU has won 20 of the last 21 and 28 of the last 31. The longest win streak ever by KU over NU is 12 games on two occasions, most recently from 1950 to 1955.
Recruiting: Brandon Knight, a 6-3 junior point guard from Pine Crest High School in Coral Springs, Fla., is considering KU, UConn, Duke, Florida, Syracuse, Georgetown and others, his coach told Rivals.com.
Johnson update: KU signee Elijah Johnson scored four points off 2-of-7 shooting in Las Vegas Cheyenne High’s 67-53 victory over Mojave High on Tuesday night, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
Johnson played just a couple minutes the second half because of a left knee problem that forced him to miss a handful of games earlier in the season. The 6-foot-2 Johnson is planning on getting his knee checked out by doctors today, he told the Sun.