Just when he was starting to get warmed up, Christian Standhardinger now has to hang up his jersey for the next 15 games.
Nebraska wrapped up its final exhibition game of the year on Tuesday night with a 71-39 win over Hastings (Neb.) College at the Devaney Center. In the win, Standhardinger led the way with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field to go along with seven rebounds.
However, that will be the last NU fans will get to see of the forward from Munich, Germany, until January. Because of an NCAA ruling involving his transfer to NU this season, Standhardinger must sit out the Huskers' entire non-conference schedule and won't be eligible to play again until the Big 12 Conference opener against Texas A&M on Jan. 9.
Standhardinger admitted it would be hard to stay as motivated until then without having games to prepare for, but said he would do his best to continue to improve every day in practice.
"Of course it is harder for me to stay motivated," the 6-11 Standhardinger said. "When I know I've got a game on Friday, and I'm scared like, my mom at home and my sisters, they will see it and I've got to represent myself good. For the fans here, there's a lot of fans who really hope that you win, and I would disrespect them if I would not work hard every day when I have a game. So it's harder, but I will stay motivated."
In his locker, Standhardinger said he has Nebraska's schedule printed out and has begun crossing off the games until he officially makes his Husker debut. Until then, he said he's going to work on improving his left hand offensively and try to bulk up in the weight room so he could better compete with the physical post players of the Big 12.
Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler said he didn't have any worries about Standhardinger staying motivated during his time off, as he's already established himself as one of the Huskers' hardest working players.
"Christian plays as hard as anybody," Sadler said. "He thinks he plays harder than (Ben Nelson), but I don't know that. I'll say this about Christian - there's not going to be anybody that plays any harder. He's going to give you everything he's got. He's got a knack for scoring the ball. He's got a long, long, long, long, long way to go defensively. It's going to be difficult when he starts league play. It's going to be a whole different deal than he's used to. But he'll be fine. He'll be ready."
As for his first two exhibition games as a Husker, Standhardinger said he wasn't exactly thrilled with his performance, and knows full well he has plenty to work on before he finally makes his debut in January.
"I think I did a job that is OK," Standhardinger said. "I'm not excited about my games. There's really a lot to improve on the defensive end like Coach said, but on the offensive end too, like shots I miss which really are getting on my nerves. But I give everything, and I try my best."
***Other statistical leaders for Nebraska on Tuesday were Toney McCray (11 points, six rebounds), Lance Jeter (10 points, three rebounds, two assists) and Jorge Brian Diaz (eight points, nine rebounds, three blocks).
***Speaking of injuries, Sadler said McCray (elbow) would likely make an official decision sometime in the next couple days as to whether he would try to play through his injury this season.
"I would think he's already made," Sadler said. "He's probably going to try to play, I would assume."
***In other injury news, freshman guard Ray Gallegos missed Tuesday's game with a pulled quad injury.
"I really expected him to play today, but the way I understand it, that's an injury where if he's not careful it could linger," Sadler said. "They want him to have two or three days to try and get well, so it will be a little bit I'm sure. Hopefully by Saturday."
***Nebraska came out with a completely new starting five against the Broncos. McCray, Nelson, Standhardinger, Eshaunte Jones and Brandon Richardson opened the game for the Huskers.
***Sadler said he was much happier with Nebraska's transition defense, as the Huskers didn't allow a single fast break point and held Hastings to just 6-of-37 3-point shooting.
"We're getting a little bit better playing off of each other," Sadler said. "That takes a little bit of time, but I thought - especially a lot of the guys that have been in this program, when they were on the floor together - we were pretty good defensively.
"We've got a long, long way to go defensively. But I thought we took a step in the right direction tonight."