Lincoln. Neb. Nebraska has a new basketball coach, but apparently has lost a key player.
The Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World Herald reported Monday night that UTEP coach Doc Sadler today will be introduced as replacement for Barry Collier.
However, center Aleks Maric told both papers he is leaving the program.
Maric, who averaged 10.9 points and 8.1 rebounds as a sophomore, said he made the decision when it became official that Collier would not be returning as head coach.
"I loved every minute of my time at Nebraska," Maric told the Omaha paper. "I respect the university, and I love the Nebraska people."
Asked if his decision was final, he said: "I wouldn't say it's 100 percent, but it's more than likely."
He said he would either transfer to another school or play professionally in Europe.
Sadler, who worked as head coach at UTEP the past two seasons, was at the Devaney Sports Center on Monday.
He toured the basketball area and met with athletic director Steve Pederson and associate athletic director Marc Boehm.
Sadler greeted reporters outside the Devaney Center, but said he would have no comment.
Collier, new athletic director at Butler, had been under fire after going 89-91 and never having a winning Big 12 record in six seasons at Nebraska.
The Huskers never have won an NCAA Tournament game and haven't been to the NCAAs since 1998 under Danny Nee.
The Huskers finished 19-13 last season, but lost six of their last eight regular-season games to finish in sixth place in the Big 12 at 7-9. They knocked off Missouri and Oklahoma to reach the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament, earning Collier a vote of confidence from Pederson and Boehm.
Pederson will introduce Sadler at a news conference at 1 p.m. today.
In just two years as UTEP coach, Sadler directed the Miners to 48 victories while enjoying the finest winning percentage (.727) of any coach in school history. Sadler led the Miners to the postseason for the third straight year in 2006. UTEP participated in the NIT after advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and 2005.
The 2005-06 Miners won 21 games and finished 11-3 in Conference USA.
The 2005-06 Miners yielded only 59.5 points per game, drawing comparisons to the staunch Miner defensive clubs coached by the legendary Don Haskins.
Sadler joined the UTEP coaching staff as an assistant under Billy Gillispie for the 2003-04 season.
Sadler was head coach at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith from 1998-03. He was an assistant at Arkansas (1982-85), Lamar (1985-86), Houston (1986), Chicago State (1987-88), Arkansas-Fort Smith (1988-91, 1997 -98), Texas Tech (1991-94) and Arizona State (1994-97).
UTEP is now expected to talk to assistants Randell Dickey and Tony Benford, who just arrived a few weeks ago but has ties to the region after recruiting in Texas for New Mexico and Arizona State.