Nate Loenser had a laundry list of reasons why joining Fred Hoiberg’s coaching staff at Nebraska was an appealing opportunity.
Not only did he work with Hoiberg as a full-time assistant at Iowa State and then Chicago Bulls, but the Cedar Falls, Iowa, also grew up following Husker sports from a distance.
In fact, when it came down to choosing a college, Nebraska was one of his final three choices before ultimately choosing ISU.
But it was more than just familiarity and comfort that led Loenser to Lincoln. He also saw NU as a program on the brink of taking a significant step forward.
“I understand that we’re obviously in an elite conference, and I obviously realize that tradition-wise, there hasn’t been a level of sustained success,” Loenser said. “But at the end of the day, I’m not really concerned about what’s happened in the past… I’ve attacked every situation I’ve been in and let the doors open from there, and I think it’s the same thing (here).
“We can’t get caught up in the past and we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves in the future. But whether it’s one workout at a time, one lift at a time, or one day at a time, I think if we can string together great days and hold each other accountable that way, that’s when things start to turn in the right direction that I think everybody around here would like to see.”
Loenser has made a name for himself with an elite track record of player development, whether it be the college or the NBA level.
When Nebraska officially announced the hire on Tuesday, Hoiberg said in a press release that Loenser was “the best player development guy I have worked with.”
“He has earned the respect of players around the (NBA) because of his ability to relate with players and to help them reach their goals,” Hoiberg added.
He’s already gotten a jump in that regard at Nebraska, working with several Husker players over the past few weeks. Loenser is still in the early stages of learning the roster’s ins and outs, but he’s been very impressed with the drive NU’s returnees have shown already.
“The thing that has jumped out to me is just their hunger, their desire to get better,” Loenser said. “It’s not a chase. It’s a, ‘What can we do, coach? How can we get better?’ Obviously, it starts there. The places I’ve been where the culture is right, where guys are into working on their craft and getting better, I think that just starts to spread in the right direction.
“There is a certain level of continuity right now with the six or seven guys we have coming back… I think this group and the players I’ve met so far are excited to move forward, are excited to get better, and that’s exciting.”