Fred Hoiberg news conference, 4.2

Nebraska men's basketball assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih talks with reporters on Tuesday at Memorial Stadium. Abdelmassih, who worked with Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State, reunites with the coach after working as an assistant at St. John's.

The news conference was over, and Matt Abdelmassih was shaking hands and catching up with the Hoiberg family.

Now it’s time to get to work.

Check that. Abdelmassih has already been working.

“I felt like I haven’t slept in the last 24 hours,” said Abdelmassih, the first assistant to sign on with Fred Hoiberg at Nebraska. “I feel like it’s already started. That doesn’t stop. I only know one speed and sometimes that gets me in trouble, that one speed with my wife.

“It’s going to be an exciting April. We have a lot of work to do.”

Hoiberg confirmed Abdelmassih’s hiring during Tuesday’s news conference at Memorial Stadium, but did not reveal any other names because contracts have not been signed yet. A source told the Journal Star on Monday that Charlie Henry, who coaches the Windy City Bulls of the NBA G League, is set to join Hoiberg’s staff.

On Monday, Abdelmassih stepped down as an assistant coach at St. John’s, his alma mater, and jumped on a plane for Lincoln. He’ll be joining Hoiberg on the road this week as the Huskers plan to visit signees and commits.

Abdelmassih was a key part of Hoiberg’s staff at Iowa State. They went their separate ways when Hoiberg was hired by the Chicago Bulls, but remained in touch on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, Abdelmassih said.

"Matt, I think, is as good a recruiter as there is in the country," Hoiberg said. ... "We work well off each other. He knows how to challenge me, I know how to challenge me. He’s not a 'yes man' by any means. If he sees something he doesn’t like, he’s going to come in and tell me about it and that’s what I want." 

Part of that may be Abdelmassih's confidence in recruiting, no matter what part of the country he's coaching in.

He was asked Tuesday about geographic challenges and the lower number of Division I prospects in Nebraska compared with other states.

"I heard the same thing when we got Iowa (State)," said Abdelmassih, who played a big part in the Cyclones landing some standout recruits and transfers. "I can speak on just my past, is it doesn't matter where the kids are at, whether East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, South. We're going to be able to get kids, I've always felt that. I've been fortunate to cross paths with great people that do trust me and I feel confident we'll hit the ground running and assemble the best roster possible."

As for the remaining spots, Hoiberg said Tuesday he's fielded no shortage of interest. 

"I know a lot of people that all have very good qualities about them," he said. "You just want to put together a group that you’re comfortable with, that you can trust and that are all going to work together to go out and worry about that one common goal and that’s winning."

It should be note that Armon Gates, who just completed his only season under Tim Miles, was at Tuesday's news conference. A source said Gates is in consideration for a spot on the staff.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.


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