WINTER’S “Nebrasketball” a must-read

A few days ago, I wrapped up “Nebrasketball”, written by Scott Winter, who was nice enough to send me a copy.

“Nebrasketball” tells the story of former Southwest Minnesota State coach and current Nebraska basketball coach Tim Miles.

For those of you who don’t know, current SMSU men’s basketball coach Brad Bigler played for Miles during Miles’ four years at the helm at SMSU.

Southwest Minnesota State gets plenty of mentions and spotlight throughout the book.

This book touched a personal note with me because, being an Omaha native, I naturally rooted for Nebraska’s in-state rival Creighton growing up.

I was what is commonly referred to as a JaySker- a person who rooted for the Husker football team (something that is increasingly difficult these days) during football season and then sporting Creighton blue and white during basketball season.

I graduated from high school in 2007 and Miles didn’t even start coaching at Nebraska until I had graduated college.

Part of this had to do with the fact that my friends and neighbors were Creighton fans. Part of it was it was the actual hometown team, just a short drive downtown. The third part was because it was so much easier to root for the better team.

From the time I started high school to the time I graduated college, Creighton went 204-98 and made the NCAA?tournament four times.

During that same stretch, Nebraska went 152-143 and didn’t make the NCAA?tournament once.

Until the Miles-led Huskers cracked the field in the 2014 tournament, they hadn’t qualified for the NCAA tournament since 1997, when they were led by Tyronn Lue.

Winter got lucky when he wrote this book because it happened to chronicle the 2013-14 season.

Since I came to Marshall and learned the link between Miles, Nebraska and SMSU, I’d be lying if I didn’t open up a bigger space in my heart for Husker hoops, which has always been second fiddle.

I remember doing a short phone interview with Miles before the Huskers took the floor for an eventual loss to Baylor.

He was very easy to talk to and he took the time to talk to me even with all the craziness going on around him.

Not only did this book give me a great image of the scenery of that Selection Sunday, but it also gave a much bigger window into what type of coach and what type of person Miles is.

It made me wish that phone interview could have lasted a few more hours.

Just from reading this book, you should get the impression that Miles is the the type of coach Nebraska needs right now.

The program, like its coach, has always been an underdog fighting for his time in the spotlight.

Miles, through sheer will, determination and a hint of selfies, has willed that spotlight in the direction of Lincoln.

Thank you again Scott Winter for sending me a copy of the book. I truly enjoyed it.

Tim Miles, if you get a chance to read this column, best of luck this season and hopefully we can talk again come March.