Nebraska's James Palmer, Isaac Copeland declare for NBA draft, won't hire agents

James Palmer was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in his first season with the Huskers.

LINCOLN (AP) — Talks about a contract extension for Nebraska basketball coach Tim Miles will begin after the NCAA Final Four, Athletic Director Bill Moos said Tuesday.

Miles is 97-97 with one NCAA tournament appearance in six years. Moos said he liked what he saw this season as the Huskers went 22-11 and finished tied with Final Four-bound Michigan for fourth place in the Big Ten.

“I’ve always considered him my coach and felt he had a pretty solid year and deserved to continue and to build the program,” Moos said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Also on Tuesday, Nebraska guard James Palmer and forward Isaac Copeland declared for the NBA draft but will not hire agents, which means they can maintain their college eligibility.

“I’m excited for James and Isaac to go through this process,” Miles said in a press release. “It will be great for them to test themselves against some of the best basketball players in the world. They are going into this process with the right mindset, and I think the next few months will be a positive experience for them.”

Both players can start attending workouts conducted by NBA teams after the early entrant list is sent out by the NBA office in late April. They will also be eligible to compete in the NBA draft combine May 16-20 in Chicago, if they are selected for the event.

Both have until May 30 — 10 days following the draft combine — to keep their names in or withdraw from the draft and maintain their eligibility.

Palmer, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound guard, was a first-team All-Big Ten pick by conference coaches in his first season as a Husker. Palmer finished fifth in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.2 points per game, while also adding 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

Copeland, a 6-9, 221-pound forward, earned All-Big Ten honorable mention. He averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game this season.

The Huskers went into 2017-18 off three straight losing seasons . Former Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst chose not to extend Miles’ contract after each of the past two seasons. Miles has two years left on a contract that will pay him $2.375 million in 2018-19.

“I really can’t judge what he’s done before I arrived,” Moos said. “But I thought he did a real nice job this year. He brought in some talent and managed it very well. I really thought we improved during the course of the season, which is something I look for, especially when you have new players who are getting used to each other.

“And, hey, we won 22 games, 13 in the Big Ten, and finished in fourth place when we were predicted to finish near the bottom. I didn’t see any reason not to continue the course.”

Nebraska beat Michigan by 20 points in January but lost by 19 to the Wolverines in the Big Ten tournament. The Huskers were 16-1 at home, with the only loss by a point to Kansas, which also is in the Final Four.The NCAA selection committee didn’t deem the Huskers’ resume strong enough for an at-large bid. They went to the NIT and lost at Mississippi State in the first round.

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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