Jake Hammond emphasizes that all of his new Nebraska basketball teammates have been helpful in backing the freshmen and taking care of the newcomers as they adjust to new surroundings and schedules.

One player in particular, though, tops Hammond’s list of personal leaders.

“Honestly, it was Leslee,” Hammond said. “He was the one who was helping me the most. He’s a big, and he’s gone through what I’m going through, as far as drills and off the court. He was the one who was helping me out.”

Hammond, by the way, isn’t happy that he’s referring to senior forward Leslee Smith in the past tense.

Smith is out indefinitely as he awaits surgery to repair a torn ACL he suffered last week while playing for his native British Virgin Islands team in the FIBA Caribbean Championships.

So not only does Smith’s injury mean Hammond has, on the court, lost the teammate who's helped him most, it also could change the true freshman’s plans entirely.

“Yeah, I might not be able to redshirt this year,” said Hammond, listed at 6-foot-10 and 227 pounds. “It is something I was probably going to do. But now that he’s hurt, I don’t know. That’s up in the air still.”

Hammond hasn’t yet extensively discussed the situation with coach Tim Miles, who’s been on the road and will be gone much of the coming weeks during the July recruiting evaluation period.