LINCOLN — Welcome to July, which means it’s time for college basketball coaches to hit the road to recruit.
Nebraska’s Tim Miles has a bag packed and a checklist for the four scholarships he wants to fill for 2019 — one currently open, plus those held by three 2018 seniors.
“I’m going out with the idea that we need one of each position,’’ he said. “We need a point guard. We need a scoring guard. We need a really good wing.
“And then we need that hybrid forward we like, in the mold of Isaac Copeland or Isaiah Roby or Walt Pitchford. The long, athletic player who can make outside shots is important for us.’’
Notice Miles didn’t mention a traditional big man.
He said it’s no coincidence that his two best seasons — 19-13 in 2013-14 and 22-11 in 2017-18 — came while using a longer, leaner lineup without a traditional center. That setup has allowed the Huskers to challenge 3-point shooters efficiently while being versatile offensively.
Miles will send one new recruiter on the road, Armon Gates, hired two months ago from Northwestern. Jim Molinari is in his fifth year and Michael Lewis his third.
Has Miles, entering his seventh year, altered his recruiting philosophy or preferred territories?
“The recruiting network of your staff is the most important thing to Nebraska recruiting,’’ he said. “We like to follow the footprint of the old Big 12 North and then throughout the Big Ten, working our way east.
“In that footprint we’ve concentrated on, we’ve had some real success. I’m excited about continuing that.’’
Gates fits that territory. He grew up in Chicago, played collegiately at Kent State in Ohio and has held assistant positions at Western Kentucky, Kent State, TCU, Loyola of Chicago and Northwestern.
At Northwestern, he helped put together a top-30 class that led the school to its first NCAA tournament. He also played one season at Brewster Academy, where Nebraska has mined recruits such as Copeland and Thomas Allen.
“Armon is a great guy and a terrific coach with big-time energy who has connected with our guys,’’ Miles said. “He’ll do a terrific job recruiting, too.
“He’s got his own niches and ponds to fish. I’ll follow him accordingly, and he’ll follow me accordingly. He’s been a strong addition to our staff.’’
Nebraska has no commitments for the Class of 2019, with at least seven offers out. The recruiting windows for the month are July 11-15, 18-22 and 25-29.
As for whether the current open scholarship could be used for the coming season, Miles said: “You never say never.’’