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5 thoughts on two huge transfer additions for Nebraska Basketball



Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball landed two huge transfers on Wednesday and here are five thoughts on the moves for the Huskers.

Earlier, I had a post written about how there seemed to be good news coming for Nebraska basketball, and within an hour, the Huskers had landed two new additions via the transfer portal.

The first pickup was Rienk Mast, a 6-foot-9 forward/center from Bradley. He was an All-Conference player in the MVC and averaged 13.8 points per game. He also ranked as the No. 3 power forward according to’s rankings and the reaction has been very positive.

Yet, the Huskers weren’t done. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before Brice Williams committed following his visit last weekend. He pulled the trigger on a commitment also on Wednesday, giving the Huskers two players who averaged 13 points a game last season and have two years of eligibility.

Here are five thoughts on these moves for Nebraska basketball.

An ideal Derrick Walker replacement

Mast is a perfect replacement for Derrick Walker. He’s a little taller and a better shooter, but he’s a really skilled player. He’s totally comfortable with his back-to-the-basket and he talked about how he thinks his game fits in the Big Ten.

The Bradley transfer isn’t a shot blocker or anything but he should be solid on the boards. He averaged 2.4 assists per game last season and he’s a solid passer. He’s also a 35-percent 3-point shooter and last season he made 0.8 3-point field goals per game.

His defensive numbers are really solid in terms of points-per-possession allowed with him on the court. Bradley averaged just 0.94 points per possession allowed per 100 possessions last season. Another thing I like about Mast is that he’s a weapon in the pick-and-roll — both as a roller and shooter.

It will be interesting to see what this means about the pursuit of John Hugley. I don’t know that he would want to come to Nebraska with Mast, but I could see them playing together. Hugley is strictly a low-post scorer and Mast is i versatile enough to play the four and would provide spacing too. He’s actually a pretty good spot-up shooter.

I feel good about the frontcourt, especially if Juwan Gary is healthy, but the Huskers are still just one injury away from lacking a low-post threat and more depth couldn’t hurt.

Love, love, love Brice Williams for Nebraska Basketball

I really wanted Julian Battle. I won’t lie but I think Brice Williams might be the next best thing. He’s 6-foot-7 and is a combo wing. He could probably even play some minutes at the four, just like Juwan Gary did last season.

Wiliams does everything you want offensively. He’s athletic and finishes at the rim, plus he’s a really good 3-point shooter. After shooting 43.1 percent as a sophomore, Williams percentage dropped as a junior with a higher volume but not much (39 percent).

Over the past two seasons, Williams has 89 3-pointers. He’s also a career 51.6-percent shooter on 2-point attempts and made 84.3 percent of his free throw attempts last season.

The Huskers needed some length on this roster and Williams provides it. He can guard multiple positions and could realistically play 2-4. I could see him as the starting three or a guy coming off the bench.

Either way, he’s a lights-out shooter and Nebraska basketball is much better on offense with him on the roster.

Manage expectations

It’s easy to get excited about transfer portal additions and in this case, Nebraska basketball fans should be excited. Williams and Mast were both quality pickups.

However, I don’t see them averaging a combined 27 points per game as they did a year ago. Getting used to the Big Ten is going to take some time. These guys aren’t coming from low-major leagues by chance. The MVC and C-USA are both solid conferences, but you do have to manage expectations a little.

There are going to be plenty of scoring chances. Nebraska did lose two of its top scorers from last season but if Keisei Tominaga comes back, his usage rate is going to be high. The Huskers are also after Latrell Wrightsell and Hunter Sallis along with Javian McCollum, another scoring point guard.

It seems to me like the Huskers will get Wrightsell or McCollum. Then it will come down to whether or not they can get Sallis. If he decides to go elsewhere, the Huskers could take Wrightsell and McCollum and be satisfied.

But regardless of how things shake out, I would expect the production of both players to drop a little bit in the Big Ten.

Fred Hoiberg is building a solid roster

Mid-major transfers are always a little riskier. There is more projection that needs to be made. That’s why it would be great to see the Huskers land another talented athlete such as Hunter Sallis.

Nebraska still needs a lead guard. That’s been one of the biggest needs, yet there are two solid candidates. The Huskers also need a defensive stopper in my opinion and Sallis is that. He could also really improve his draft stock with a bigger offensive role in Lincoln.

Look no further than Griesel, Walker, and Tominaga to see that Hoiberg can still help guys improve their NBA draft stock. Yet, even if no additions are added outside of a point guard, the Huskers are in a good shape.

With another piece or two, I think Hoiberg will have a roster capable of winning 20 games next season. Sallis and Wrightstell/McCollum would have me feeling really good, assuming Keisei returns.

The next domino?

Wrightsell and McCollum are both expected to take visits to Nebraska this weekend. The Huskers could try to land one of those guys and then go hard after Sallis to complete their haul.

I have no idea if there is a preference. Wrightstell averaged over two assists per game last season and while he doesn’t have as much experience as a point guard as McCollum, I trust Fred’s evaluation.

Both are dynamic scorers and playmakers. McCollum has strong ties to the staff, while Wrightsell is from the state of Nebraska and there has been talk about Nebraska basketball recruiting him and Sallis to play together.

A Sallis/Wrightsell combo would be a dream finish for the Huskers to their 2023 transfer portal haul and it’s one that actually feels pretty realistic.

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Nebraska Basketball has positive update on Juwan Gary



Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball coach Fred Hoiberg met with the media on Friday. He issued injury updates to several members of the basketball team, including power forward Juwan Gary.

Gary averaged 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds for Nebraska basketball last season. He started the first 17 games of the season. He was ruled out for the year and mid-January. Gary underwent shoulder surgery shortly thereafter, and now appears to be at full strength, according to Hoiberg.

This is certainly big news, as he was playing at positive level  before his injury. His athleticism was on full display, and he offered solid play defensively. Perhaps the biggest thing that Nebraska basketball missed following his injury was his rebounding ability. He had 11 rebounds at Kansas State in December which was a season-high for him. He had at least six rebounds in the final five games he appeared in.

It also sounds like he is working on other aspects of his game, as noted in a report by Brian Christopherson of Husker247. 

He’s going to be on the court on Monday, in fact. “Not full. He will not be cleared for contact for probably at least another month, but he’s doing pretty much everything,” Hoiberg said.

While recovering from his shoulder surgery, he worked a lot on one-handed shooting and addressing his balance in his jumper that Hoiberg thinks will make him more consistent as a shooter.

Gary working to be well-rounded for Nebraska Basketball

Working on the midrange game is definitely important for Gary. Nebraska basketball already has a perimeter shooter in Keisei Tominaga. Having a refined mid-range type of player will be important for the balance of the program. With the attention that Tominaga is going to require defensively, having a player like Gary with a refined jumper and mid-range game will be difficult for the opposition to stop. Adding that on top of his athleticism will undoubtedly make him more of a complete player.

In any event, it sounds like Nebraska basketball is one step closer to having a full-strength roster. Not only will they be full strength, but they will be veteran-laden. The experience will certainly help, especially as the huskers will try to navigate the Big 10 schedule in the second part of the year.

in what is a must-win season, another piece of the puzzle is one step closer to returning.

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3 thoughts on Keisei Tominaga’s return to Nebraska Basketball



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.

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Nebraska Basketball: Keisei Tominaga returns as offseason rolls



Nebraska basketball
Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Massive news came out on the Nebraska basketball front Wednesday, as Nebraska basketball star Keisei Tominaga announced he would be returning the program for his senior season.

Tominaga was an electric shooter for the Nebraska basketball program last year. He played in 30 games, and started all 14 of them at guard. He really was a key cog in the Nebraska basketball offense. The guard averaged 13.1 points per contest, and shot 50% from the field. He was able to make his mark from three-point range, shooting 40% from beyond the arc.

He emerged more so later in the season, as he was able to get a ton of playing time late in the year. The month of February was particularly kind to him, as he had six 20-point games. He was able to find his shooting stroke, and he shot with confidence. It’s also worth noting that he was able to really do it efficiently, as he had over a 50% field goal percentage in nine of Nebraska’s final 10 regular-season games.

What does this mean for Nebraska Basketball?

This is good news for Nebraska on multiple levels. Tominaga did a good job of getting high-percentage looks, and getting his own shot. He did very well coming off screens, and creating looks for himself. His ability to attract defensive attention often opened up lanes and good looks for his teammates. Tominaga was often automatic from behind the arc, and he gave Nebraska basketball perimeter weapon that they had been missing for years.

This news is just another big win in what has been a tremendous off-season for Nebraska. The Huskers were able to get several players from the transfer portal with Josiah Allick and Brice Williams being two of the bigger names out of the transfer portal class. The transfers all have the ability to create their own offense. Now with Tominaga back, that should be able to help the rest the program play to their strengths.

It’s been a very successful off-season for Nebraska basketball. Now, Fred Hoiberg has to put all the pieces together, and a season in which wins are going to be required.

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