Nebraska Basketball lands Rienk Mast and more positives in the transfer portal
Nebraska basketball just landed Rienk Mast and could be adding some players in the transfer portal soon. Here’s the latest breakdown.
It’s a crazy time right now in college basketball with the transfer portal and the NBA draft entry process going on. Nebraska basketball hasn’t made an addition yet, but it feels like a few are coming.
Last weekend, Nebraska basketball hosted Brice Williams from Charlotte. He averaged over 13 points per game last season, is 6-foot-7, can shoot the ball from 3-point range, and has position versatility.
Nebraska wanted Julian Battle. He went to Ohio State but the Huskers view Williams as a similar player — someone who can play the three and four. It’s been quiet with Williams since his visit which I take as a good sign for Nebraska basketball. I was honestly hoping the Huskers would have him committed by now.
However, they still feel like the favorite to me. I also think it’s safe to call Nebraska basketball the favorite for former Bradley forward Rienk Mast.
UPDATE: Minutes after this was posted, Rienk Mast committed to Nebraska.
BREAKING: #Nebrasketball has landed a commitment from Bradley transfer big man Rienk Mast.
“I feel like Nebraska is the right fit for me where I can still showcase my skills and be a big part of the team.”
Story: https://t.co/Ja0kk8RY3h pic.twitter.com/Os0AScITm5
— Robin Washut (@RobinWashut) April 12, 2023
Mast is a 6-foot-9 forward who averaged 13.8 points last season for Bradley in the Missouri Valley. He averaged 2.4 assists, grabbed eight rebounds, and shot 51.8 percent from the field. He even shoots 35 percent from deep and made 0.8 triples per game. His 2-point percentage is even better at 56.8.
In terms of Derrick Walker replacements, Mast is a really good one. He’s productive, has some playmaking ability, and is a reliable shooter. He also doesn’t bring as much risk as a guy like John Hugley from Pitt.
Hugley led the Panthers in scoring two years ago but only managed to play eight games last season before announcing he intended to transfer. There are other off-the-court issues too. Hugley is taking a visit to Oklahoma this weekend and it might be because the Huskers landed Mast.
Mast was basically down to Iowa and Nebraska. Iowa took another big man. Honestly, I’d cancel the visit of Hugley at this point, unless Nebraska really wants to reinforce the center position. Mast seems like a surefire starter to me.
In-state targets set official visits
Nebraska basketball still needs a wing and multiple guards. So it’s really good news that two players with in-state ties are going to take official visits to Lincoln.
One of those is former five-star Hunter Sallis (6-foot-5) who transferred from Gonzaga. He’s got a bunch of suitors but Nebraska is in the top group. The Huskers are hosting him for an official visit the same weekend as the spring game and he would be a plug-and-play starter.
Nebraska basketball did an in-home visit over the weekend and improved their chances. Now, they just need to close and that weekend should provide a golden opportunity to do that.
Latrell Wrightsell (6-foot-3) is another in-state prospect and has Nebraska basketball in its top three.
Cal State Fullerton transfer guard and Omaha Central product Latrell Wrightsell Jr. has cut his list to a top three.
He will officially visit Nebraska Friday. Scheduling visits with Minnesota and Alabama for early next week. #Nebrasketball #Huskers #Gophers #TollTide
— Mike Sautter (@MikeSautter_) April 11, 2023
Alabama and Minnesota are the other teams in the mix. Wrightsell is more of a combo guard but I don’t see Nebraska taking him and Sallis unless he’s going to play point guard. He did average 2.4 assists per game last season for Cal-State Fullerton and was a point guard coming out of high school via 247 sports.
Wrightsell is a dynamic scorer and averaged over 16 a game last season. He also averaged 1.5 steals per game, shot 38.3 percent from deep, and better than 80 percent from the charity stripe.
I will amend what I said because if Keisei Tominaga isn’t going to return, Nebraska could definitely take Sallis and Wrightsell, plus another point guard like Javian McCollum who is also visiting later this month.
Nebraska has three spots now available after Mast, but if another player departs, a five-man transfer class is possible and that’s the only way I see Wrightsell and Sallis at Nebraska, without one of them being the point guard.
Regardless, I expect more good news soon and Husker fans should be really pleased with how things are developing.
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Nebraska Basketball has positive update on Juwan Gary
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.
3 thoughts on Keisei Tominaga’s return to Nebraska Basketball
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.
— 富永 啓生/ keisei tominaga (@KeiseiTominaga) June 1, 2023
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
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.
— 富永 啓生/ keisei tominaga (@KeiseiTominaga) June 1, 2023
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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