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Will Keisei Tominaga return to Nebraska Basketball?



Nebraska basketball
Feb 5, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Keisei Tominaga (30) celebrates a three point basket against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

It’s decision day for Nebraska basketball standout Keisei Tominaga on whether he will return to the Huskers or stay in the NBA draft.

Things are coming down to the wire in terms of Keisei Tominaga and his NBA draft decision. The deadline to withdraw from the 2023 NBA draft is tonight and we still don’t know what Tominaga is going to do.

Last season, Tominaga was spectacular for Nebraska basketball, especially down the stretch. Despite only starting 14 games, Keisei averaged 13.1 points per game and shot 40 percent from 3-point range. He was also one of the best finishers around the basket in the Big Ten.

Tominaga still working out with NBA teams

At 6-foot-2, that was due to his ability to cut the basket and finish. While Tominaga hasn’t been projected to go in any mock drafts, he did work out with the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

There are a lot of paths to the NBA. The G-League is a realistic option, especially for a guy that’s 22 years old and is more limited in terms of NIL deals. Tominaga can only earn passive income at Nebraska, which comes from things like jersey sales. He can’t get paid to promote things.

There are also two-day deals, where a player spends part of his time in the NBA and part of his time in the G-League. So even though only 60 guys get drafted, many more will get a shot to play pro ball and get paid well.

For much of the offseason, we have been operating on the assumption that Tominaga would come back. It makes sense to me because, with another season under his belt, his NBA draft stock could improve.

What will Tominaga do?

Tominaga is an elite scorer and shooter. His return would be the most important offseason move for the Huskers and he’s poised to be an All-Big Ten type of player, at least in my opinion.

I realize that’s bold but look at his numbers over the past month of the season. After becoming a starter for the final 14 games, Tominaga averaged 17.3 points per game and averaged 2.7 3-pointers per game. He was one of the best scorers in the Big Ten down the stretch and if he can do that for a full season, his stock would improve.

Fred Hoiberg also indicated that Tominaga has really improved his body. He’ll need to be stronger to play in the NBA and his defense also needs to improve.

I’ve got no doubt he’ll be starting and playing a ton for Nebraska baskeball next season (if he returns). Keisei played 30 minutes or more in each of the last 10 games in 2022-23 and if he’s back, I’d expect him to average over 30 a night.

Truly, I hope he returns. It will be massive for Nebraska basketball and the piece they need to contend for the NCAA tournament. Without him, Fred Hoiberg will be scrambling and Nebraska fans will miss out on what could be one of the most fun seasons in Cornhusker history.

That’s what is at stake with this decision. We’ll know by 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday night.

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska