All-access recruiting with Tim Miles

August, 2, 2012
8/02/12
4:13
PM ET
At traditional doormat Nebraska, Tim Miles needs players, and therefore needs to master the art of recruiting. ESPN.com's Jason King shadowed the first-year coach while in Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS -- Tipoff is in four minutes, and Tim Miles has missed the exit to Bishop Gorman High School.

"God bless-ed!" he says. "We're not going to be there for the jump ball."

The new Nebraska coach zigzags from lane to lane on Interstate 15 in Las Vegas, eventually taking the next exit and circling under the highway. Frustrated with his Garmin, Miles threatens to treat the GPS device the same way he did the "fuzz-buster" -- his term for radar detector -- that failed to prevent him from receiving a pair of speeding tickets a few years ago.

"After the second one," he says, "I threw it as far as I could into some cornfield in Minnesota."

Miles chuckles as he zooms toward the gym to recruit. So much has already happened on this Thursday in Vegas -- and it's only 8 a.m.

Less than eight hours earlier, as his plane descended toward the McCarran Airport runway, Miles pressed his cellphone against the window and snapped a photo of Sin City's infamous Strip.

"Arrived in LAS. Ready for some more serious hoops!!" the coach tweeted at 12:21 a.m.

Miles, who had spent the previous evening recruiting in Kansas City, got lost on the way to the Marriott and didn't make it to bed until 1:30 a.m. His wake-up call came five hours later and he was out the door by 7:30 -- all so he could be at Bishop Gorman by 8 to watch Nick Fuller, a 6-foot-7 forward from Wisconsin who ranks near the top of Miles' wish list from the Class of 2013.

And now he's running late.

"I'm not sure if recruits notice those things or not," Miles says as he pulls into the high school parking lot at 8:05. "I think all of these kids realize that stuff happens, that life happens. The summer is tough on the players. But it's tough on the coaches, too."

Especially Miles.

While his wife, Kari, has been packing up their belongings in Fort Collins, Colo., where Miles coached the past five seasons at Colorado State, Miles has used the four months since his hiring at Nebraska to play "catch-up" in recruiting.

The Cornhuskers finished last in the Big Ten in 2012 and have never -- repeat, never -- won an NCAA tournament game. Their last appearance came in 1998. Just as he did at previous stops at North Dakota State and CSU, Miles is confident he can change the culture in Lincoln.

It would certainly help if his first recruiting class was a strong one.

As the July recruiting period neared its end, Miles granted ESPN.com full access last week during his 22-hour visit to Las Vegas, where he hopscotched between two AAU tournaments, had lunch with his agent, hobnobbed with other coaches, sent countless texts and cracked jokes in the stands.

Shuffling to his seat exactly four minutes after tip, Miles will soon illustrate how hectic life can be as a college basketball coach on the summer recruiting circuit. He has no idea that 16 hours later he'll return to his plane with more than just a better feel for the players he's pursuing.

He'll also board Husker One -- Nebraska's private jet -- with a rather unlikely guest.

Read the rest of King's story here.

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