LINCOLN — Nebraska first-year coach Tim Miles offered high praise Tuesday for senior Dylan Talley’s ability to adjust to any situation.
And that was before Miles realized Talley has played for six head coaches in the past five seasons at four schools.
Read that again: six coaches, five seasons, four schools.
“Are you kidding? Wow!” Miles said. “Think about that. I guess that’s proof he really does acclimate well and why he makes transition look so easy.”
Talley, entering his final home game Wednesday against Minnesota, smiled when asked to describe what it’s like to have a new basketball boss every season since his senior year of high school.
“It hasn’t been as tough as you might think because I’ve liked all my coaches,” he said. “Especially Coach Miles this year. He has helped me out a lot.”
It shows because Talley is on the hottest run during his two years as a Husker.
In the past four games, the 6-foot-5, 216-pounder from Camden, N.J., has averaged 21.8 points while shooting 46 percent overall and 45 percent from 3-point range. Included in that run were a career-high 28 points against Michigan State and a game-winning 3-pointer against Iowa.
Talley’s season scoring average has increased to 14.4 points, eighth in the Big Ten.
The “senior surge” began after Talley showed his ability to adjust in mid-January. That’s when Miles moved him from shooting guard to point guard.
“I’m very proud of Dylan and the progress he has made,” Miles said. “He has taken every role we’ve ever thrown at him unflinchingly. With him, it’s ‘Yes, sir, I’ll do it. Don’t worry about it, Coach.’ He’s been a real joy to coach.”
Too many players, Miles said, need an explanation for every move in practice or games. Talley just works.
“It gets down to the core of what Dylan’s about,” Miles said. “He believes in himself, and he wants what is best for the team.
“Because he has those qualities, it allows him to be more successful more quickly than somebody else might.”
Talley’s basketball adventure began in 2008-09, his senior season at Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J., under coach Wilson Arroyo.
Upon graduation, Talley signed with coach Kevin Broadus at Binghamton (N.Y.) University. But between preseason workouts and the official start of practice, Broadus was suspended — and later fired — for NCAA violations.
Former Temple star Mark Macon was named interim coach. Talley earned America East Conference rookie of the year honors. But he was so disillusioned by the turmoil in the program that he transferred to Blinn (Texas) Community College.
Under coach Tra Arnold, Talley ranked sixth nationally in scoring at 23 points a game. That got him recruiting interest from Nebraska, LSU, Gonzaga, Colorado, Tennessee and USC.
He signed with Husker coach Doc Sadler. But thigh problems from a large calcium deposit limited Talley to 24 minutes a game last season and an 8.9 scoring average.
Sadler was fired last March. Miles took over, leaving Talley to absorb an offensive system that was 180-degrees different while also trying to shake the chronic thigh issue, which began at Binghamton and was aggravated at Blinn.
“Man, I’ve been in a lot of systems,” he said. “I know a lot of plays. I probably could make up my own offense.”
Since his final season of high school, Talley has played every position except center.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “This is just basketball. I enjoy being out on the court regardless of what position I play.
“It’s been a great two years at Nebraska. I’m about to get my degree. I love my teammates and my coaches. So I’m happy with it.”
Talley and fellow seniors Brandon Ubel and Andre Almeida will be honored before the Huskers (13-16, 4-12 Big Ten) meet Minnesota (20-9, 8-8). The Gophers drilled NU 84-65 Jan. 29, even with Husker guard Ray Gallegos going off for a career-high 30 points.
Special ceremonies also are scheduled for the final NU basketball game at Devaney Center after 37 years. Tickets are available at $10 and $15.
NOTES: Consider Miles more competitor than sentimentalist. He said he plans to start his usual lineup, even though it is Senior Night, which means Almeida will come off the bench. ... Minnesota outrebounded Nebraska 36-19 in the first meeting. ... The Gophers have five wins against Top 25 teams this season, but also have lost to two teams the Huskers have beaten — Northwestern and Iowa.
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