Nebraska Basketball: Matt Abdelmassih underlines why the Hoiberg era has been a disaster
There’s very little doubt that the Nebraska basketball program has been a sort of mirror image of the Nebraska football program since Scott Frost and Fred Hoiberg took over their respective teams. That was underlined once again this past week when they looked like they might be able to handle St. John’s for a half and then completely melted down in the second half.
This week, something else underlined why the Nebraska basketball team has struggled as much as it has under Hoiberg. One of his former assistants in Matt Abdelmassih popped up on the Beyond the Turf podcast this week and talked about his experience with the Huskers, shifting quite a bit of the blame onto Husker fans.
For the most part, Abdelmassih’s complaints were about recruiting to Nebraska basketball and how he felt as though fans didn’t understand the job he did. He also said he felt he did a great job and was bringing in historical recruiting classes.
“Although the fans live in their bubble where they think it’s the best place in the world, there’s unbelievable challenges that you face being the fact that there’s a negative connotation when you hear the word, ‘Nebraska.’ Like, ‘Well, I’m not really going to farm, I’m going to play basketball.’ It’s a challenging hurdle to overcome.”
You can’t really argue with Abdelmassih that he brought in some very good recruits. The problem is that once they got here, Hoiberg and company could never really get the Nebraska basketball team to play as one unit. They often looked like they didn’t even know how to play basketball.
Abdelmassih’s comments underline what’s been wrong with the Fred Hoiberg era because he seems to think that Husker fans should be thanking him for his recruiting wins, when those recruiting wins didn’t come close to transferring to wins on the court.
Even when the former Nebraska basketball assistant admitted that not everything worked out for him when he was in Lincoln, he still seemed to be missing the point entirely.
“I’m not saying that I was absolutely perfect, especially towards the end. When you’re losing, it’s really difficult to manage everything because, first and foremost, you have to find a way to manage yourself. That’s hard. It’s hard, because you feel like when you go to bed and wake up every morning, I felt very strongly that I was in my lane doing my job at a level that Nebraska’s never seen before, but it wasn’t paying off.
It’s important to note that his job was to be an assistant basketball coach. His job was to help win games. The other stuff is certainly important, but he wasn’t “doing his job” if only part of it was working out.
I truly believe this kind of approach is one that Hoiberg feels as well. It seems that there is a feeling among the staff that came here with Hoiberg (who are now no longer here) that they got more talent to the Cornhuskers than fans had seen before and despite records that were about as abysmal as the school has ever seen, we should have been thanking them.
That’s why the Nebraska basketball era under Hoiberg has been a disaster and it’s why it’s going to end sooner rather than later.