Doc Sadler's been around a while. 

The Nebraska basketball assistant is now in his 38th year as a college coach. He's seen just about everything there is to see.

Except maybe for a power conference program turning over nearly its entire roster and going into a season with one guy with playing experience at the Big Ten level.

"It's going to take some time. You don't have one player on that court that's played with each other. You don't have very many that have played significant minutes at the DI level," Sadler said Monday night on the Husker Sports Network. "And the other schools give scholarships, too."

Sadler was speaking on Nebraska's 0-2 start, the first for the program since the 1987-88 season. That the losses have come to UC Riverside and Southern Utah has made the start of the Fred Hoiberg era even rockier in the eyes of many.

But if there's one thing Sadler knows, it's that NU head coach Hoiberg knows what he's doing.

"The reason I came back was because of Fred Hoiberg. That’s how much confidence I have in him. This season is going to get better each and every day," Sadler said. "He’s a guy that gives confidence. We were laughing today, if it were me (against Southern Utah) I would have been going nuts."

Nebraska's turnover is well-documented. Eleven new scholarship players, and 14 new players in total. Only Thorir Thorbjarnarson played for Nebraska last season. The junior is the only active player on the roster with high major experience. 

Nebraska's rotation through two games has included five players who had never played Division I basketball before this season.

"It's not going to change in one day. We're doing a lot of good things, but we're not doing enough of the little things that we need to get the wins right now," Sadler said.

"There’s going to be some tough times. I know people don’t want to hear that, don’t want to hear the truth. But that’s what it is."

As much as anything right now, Nebraska is focusing on Nebraska — players figuring out what Hoiberg wants during games, and Hoiberg learning which players can do what when the lights come on. 

Nebraska is trying to unravel that mystery while also trying to prepare for opponents. The schedule has been spread out early in the year — six days will go by between the Southern Utah game and Friday's matchup against South Dakota State. Another week will pass after NU plays the Jackrabbits before the Huskers take the floor again. But soon enough, the games will start coming faster and faster.

"We've got to really concentrate on what we want to do. Our players don’t even know what (Hoiberg) wants yet," Sadler said. "Instead of being concerned with the opponents so much, let’s make sure we execute the things we want to do."

So while there have been and will be bumps in the road, Sadler said, brighter days will be coming soon. 

"The best basketball we’re going to play this year," Sadler said, "is going to be in January and February."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


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