Connect with us

BASKETBALL

3 thoughts on Keisei Tominaga’s return to Nebraska Basketball

Published

on

Nebraska basketball
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The return of Keisei Tominaga to Nebraska basketball for the 2023-24 season is massive and here are three thoughts on what it means for the Huskers.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Keisei Tominaga declaring for the NBA draft was a great move. Every player with NBA aspirations should do it. But his return to Nebraska basketball which was announced on Wednesday night is enormous for Fred Hoiberg and the Huskers.

It’s hard to put into words how devastating a loss it would have been for Nebraska basketball, and frankly, for the fans.

The way that Keisei captured the imagination of Nebraska fans down the stretch — it was special and it hasn’t happened in a long time.

There were questions about him returning home to Japan to play, where I’m sure he could get a sizeable contract. Tominaga will play for Japan in the fall too, so he’s becoming a national figure.

However, he said in an interview with the Indiana Pacers media that his dream was to play in the NBA. Nebraska basketball is the best place for him to realize that dream and so for Tominaga and the Huskers, it was a win-win.

Here are three thoughts on what it means for the 2023-24 Nebraska basketball season.

Keisei Tominaga fever

This season is going to be insanely fun. Tominaga has a chance to become a Nebraska basketball legend. After becoming a starter last season, he averaged 17.4 points per game and 2.7 3-point makes. Tominaga was one of the best offensive players in the Big Ten down the stretch.

Can he replicate that for an entire season? I don’t see why not. He averaged over 13 points per game last season for the Huskers and shot 40 percent from beyond the arc. That will be hard to maintain because I expect his volume to go up.

However, he showed last season, he’s more than just a shooter. Keisei made more 2-pointers last season than 3-pointers. He needs to keep adding to his offensive arsenal but that’s what this offseason will be about.

Fred Hoiberg has talked about how he’s transformed his body and he looked fit in his workout with Indiana. I also can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next season, as I expect him to be even better.

I just know we are in store for what should be one of the most enjoyable seasons in Nebraska basketball history, thanks to Keisei Tominaga who electrified the Vault last season and should do that even more in 2023-24.

Nebraska baskeball is an offseason winner

The Huskers already have one of the top transfer portal classes and when you calculate the return of Keisei Tominaga, Nebraska baskeball has to be one of the offseason winners in college basketball.

Obviously, Nebraska isn’t a team you think about in terms of college basketball much. But Fred Hoiberg is building something. It took longer than expected but last year was just the start.

Adding Rienk Mast, Brice Williams, Josiah Allick, and Ahron Ulis was huge for Nebraska. Ulis was Iowa’s starting point guard and filled an important need. He’s also got more offensive potential and if Fred can help him reach it, his addition will be viewed even more favorably.

Ulis is a solid point guard though. He can run the offense and his playmaking will be improved at Nebraska. Mast and Allick can help fill the void down low left by Derrick Walker. Both are exceptional in the post. Mast is a stellar 3-point shooter too and is deadly in the ball-screen game.

Imagine Mast running a two-man game (ball screens) with Tominaga. Fred is going to T that up a bunch this year and that’s another area where Keisei will be counted on to do more — playmaking. He averaged 0.7 assists last season and that number needs to be at least double.

Williams is one of the most underrated additions in the entire transfer portal and with all those pieces, Hoiberg can put out some really interesting lineups.

Most importantly, Fred did a great job of filling the needs with really solid players — three averaged double figures previously in their college career — and getting Keisei back is the cherry on top.

It’s postseason or bust for Nebraska basketball

This team has enough talent to make the NCAA tournament. I don’t think that’s a super bold statement. Tominaga has All-Big Ten potential and even with two open scholarships, I love this roster.

Jamaques Lawrence is ready to take a leap too as a sophomore and as long as Juwan Gary can find his old form once he returns from injury, this should be a really solid rotation.

Sure, Nebraska could use more depth on the wing. Yet, even Ramel Lloyd could prove to be an answer to that question. He could also add more depth to the backcourt, depending on how Hoiberg wants to use him.

The starting lineup should feature Ulis, Tominaga, and Mast. Beyond that, it just depends. Allick could start, and so could Williams, Lawrence, and Gary. CJ. Wilcher is another solid depth piece. Blaise Keita too. He adds some rim protection. I also like what Sam Hoiberg can bring and wouldn’t be shocked if he was put on a scholarship.

Frankly, if the Huskers haven’t added anyone else, Hoiberg deserves a scholarship. He proved last year that he wasn’t playing just because of his last name.

Last season, Nebraska was probably a win away from the NIT and that was after a horrific start in the Big Ten and a slew of injuries. If the team can stay healthy, a winning season and the NIT is a minimum expectation.

Reaching the NCAA tournament is realistic (so is 20 wins) and all I know is that I’m as excited about this season as I’ve been about a Nebraska basketball team in a very long time.

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. You can also find our podcast on Apple or Spotify

BASKETBALL

Nebraska Cornhuskers news: Jeff Sims still not 100 percent, a flip attempt, and more

Published

on

Nebraska football
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football QB Jeff Sims still isn’t 100 percent, plus more Nebraska Cornhuskers news.

One thing we know for sure about the Nebraska football quarterback situation is that we won’t know anything until kickoff on Saturday against Louisiana Tech.

Matt Rhule said that he won’t be making any announcements prior to the game, similar to last week, about the starting quarterback. Marcus Satterfield told reporters on Tuesday that Sims took “50-55 percent of the snaps” so he’s improving, but according to Rhule, he’s still not 100 percent.

Rhule indicated that Sims is throwing the ball well. The Nebraska Cornhuskers just want to see some more movement skills out of their starting quarterback. One of the starting quarterbacks I should say since Sims and Heinrich Haarberg were listed as co-starters this week on the depth chart.

We’ll see how it plays out. If Sims is healthy, I expect that he will get the start or at least play, but with how thin Nebraska football is at running back, both quarterbacks will probably be needed, especially with their prowess for pounding the rock.

Nebraska Cornhuskers aiming to flip Michigan State 4-star

Andrew Dennis is a 6-foot-5, 275-pound offensive lineman rated as a four-star prospect by the 247 Sports composite rankings. He’s out of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and has been committed to Michigan State since April but Nebraska football is one of many programs to throw out a recent offer.

We don’t know if Dennis has any plans to visit Nebraska football. He’s been offered by Auburn, Stanford, Penn State, and Purdue just since Monday. I wouldn’t get too serious worrying about Dennis until he takes a visit to Nebraska, but if that happens, watch out.

It’s at least a name to keep on the radar and a decommitment definitely seems possible with the situation going on at Michigan State with Mel Tucker getting fired.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Big Ten basketball schedule released

We knew which teams Nebraska basketball would play in the 2023-24 Big Ten season but got the official schedule on Tuesday. The Huskers released it on their official Twitter account.

Nebraska basketball will open Big Ten on December 6th against Minnesota on the road. Fred Hoiberg’s first conference home game will be against Michigan State on December 10th.

The schedule is fairly balanced in terms of the home and road games. The Huskers have consecutive home games twice on the conference schedule. Nebraska has also back-to-back road games twice.

My first impressions though, are that Nebraska basketball is capable of a winning season in Big Ten play, which would definitely keep Fred Hoiberg in place and likely, would give the Huskers a realistic shot at making their first NCAA tournament since the 2014 season.

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. You can also find our podcast on Apple or Spotify.

Continue Reading

BASKETBALL

Nebraska Cornhuskers news: Matt Rhule runs a tight ship, momentum with Caleb Benning, and more

Published

on

Nebraska Cornhuskers
Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers opened fall camp on Monday and Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule runs a tight ship, plus a Caleb Benning update, and more.

You got the idea that Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule was going to take an old-school approach when he announced the Nebraska Cornhuskers would be spending the first two weeks of camp in the dorms.

But on Monday, the old-school approach continued.

Over the weekend, there were tons of rumors circulating among Nebraska football fans on Twitter about Myles Farmer and his status for the 2023 season. As it turns out, he was suspended by coach Rhule.

Rhule didn’t say why, just that Farmer didn’t live up to the standard. Rhule did say it was up to Farmer and his actions in regard to returning to the Nebraska Cornhuskers this season. Farmer started 11 games last season for Nebraska fotoball and was one of the team’s leading tacklers.

Another starting defensive back, Marques Buford is also missing the start of camp due to injury rehab.  Omar Brown and Corey Collier will have to step up, but the progress of Farmer will be something to watch.

Nebraska football making an impression on Caleb Benning

It’s clear that Nebraska football is trending up in the recruitment of in-state athlete Caleb Benning. The 5-foot-11, 183-pound defensive back/wide receiver, visited the Huskers again on Monday to take in practice.

All told it was the third unofficial visit of the past week for Benning. He visited early last week when the dead period ended and was also part of the “Cookout” on Sunday when more than 30 Nebraska football recruits were on campus.

In an interview with Steve Marik, Benning has even talked about a potential update to his timeline. He’s been saying that he will announce a commitment in December, but if he decides to commit sooner, I think that would be a great sign for Nebraska football.

I know the Huskers could land Amare Sanders and I hope they do. However, that shouldn’t impact Benning. Nebraska football is showing that he’s a priority and my prediction is that he’s N before it’s all said and done.

More Nebraska Cornhuskers news

  • The Nebraska basketball team made its debut on the trip to Spain and won its first game in overtime. Nebraska only had six scholarship players available, so you can only take away so much, but Brice Williams was spectacular with 28 points, five rebounds, and four assists in the 89-84 win over the Madrid All-Stars. CJ Wilcher had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jamarques Lawrence pitched in with 14. Rienk Mast was playing with the Netherlands in international play and also had a stellar showing, scoring 26 points and making 6-of-10 3-pointers. So far, so good for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in terms of the portal.
  • While plenty of highlights and photos surfaced from day one of Nebraska football camp, maybe the highlight that stood out the most was Tristan Alvano’s 50-yard field goal in practice. The freshman is battling for the starting kicking job and my money is on him to win it.

Final Nebraska Football 2023 game-by-game predictions

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. You can also find our podcast on Apple or Spotify, or purchase our Husker Big Red Merchandise.

 

 

Continue Reading

BASKETBALL

3 thoughts on commitment of Matar Diop to Nebraska basketball

Published

on

Nebraska basketball
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Fred Hoiberg landed another player for the 2023 Nebraska basketball roster on Sunday with the commitment of Matar Diop and here are three thoughts for the Huskers.

It was fair to wonder if Nebraska basketball was going to add another scholarship player for the 2023-24 season, but we got the answer on Sunday with the commitment of Matar Diop.

Diop is a 6-foot-9 power forward. He’s not ranked according to the 247 Sports composite rankings and doesn’t even have a 247 Sports profile that I could find.

However, Diop is from Senegal and recently spent time with the NBA Africa Program. Here are some highlights from his time there.

Nebraska basketball needed a big man and has a lot to offer Diop, so this makes sense for both sides — here are three thoughts on his commitment.

An upside addition for the Huskers

Diop is eligible to play in 2023 for Nebraska baskeball which was the first question most Husker fans had. However, I wouldn’t expect to see Diop on the floor a ton this season if at all.

Blaise Keita is going to have a role off the bench as a 4/5 man. If he gets injured or if there is another injury in the frontcourt, Diop could see some minutes.

Yet, this feels a lot like the Eli Rice commitment except Diop will spend his extra year as a redshirt. Rice took an extra year and went to the IMG Academy.

Some recruiting sites had Diop listed as a 2024 recruit, so he could have had that plan too. But Seton Hall, Ole Miss, Arizona State, Saint Joseph’s, and Charlotte all offered. Those are some high-major offers and this is a really good get this late in the recruiting cycle.

You can see from Diop’s highlights that he’s an exceptional athlete. He also looks like a plus defender but he gets above the rim with ease and will be one of the most athletic players on the Nebraska basketball roster.

Diop is also really raw. I doubt he’s quite ready for Big Ten basketball. Yet, after a redshirt season, he could be ready to be a rotational piece in 2024-25.

Nebraska basketball is a great place for Diop to develop

Ernie Ziegler, a current Nebraska basketball assistant spent time as a coach with NBA Africa Program via Husker Online, which could be why the Huskers knew about Diop.

But that’s another good reason why the program will be a good fit. Diop has raw talent and the Huskers will know how to develop him. Even though most of Diop’s points happen around the basket, he does show the ability to make 3-pointers.

Diop’s shot will need work and few will be better to aid him than Fred Hoiberg. The former NBA player and head coach will help develop the fundamentals needed to have a future in pro basketball.

All the raw tools are there — it’s just going to take time which Nebraska has especially if Diop redshirts.

What about the final roster spot?

I’m wondering if Nebraska basketball will leave it open (Huskers have one scholarship available). I wouldn’t hate if Fred Hoiberg gave it to his son because he earned based on his play last season.

At the same time, Nebraska could hold it in case another transfer comes available. Hoiberg probably doesn’t need the scholarship to pay for college. It would be a sign of respect more than anything.

I believe that Fred will probably go into next season with one open scholarship. You never know when a player could be available and as of right now, Nebraska has a pretty solid roster going into the 2023-24 season.

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. You can also find our podcast on Apple or Spotify, or purchase our Husker Big Red Merchandise

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Trending