With Nebraska bowing out in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament and missing out on an invitation to the NIT, the offseason has begun for the Nebraska men’s basketball team.
The Huskers went 16-16 including 9-11 in Big Ten play — by far the best record since Fred Hoiberg took over in Lincoln. The Huskers finished 95th in KenPom after final rankings of 162, 109 and 140 in Hoiberg’s first three seasons.
Nebraska has three seniors who have exhausted their eligibility in Sam Griesel, Derrick Walker and Emmanuel Bandoumel. Everyone else on the roster has eligibility remaining, though that doesn’t guarantee a return for any of them.
Hail Varsity will keep track of offseason news throughout the spring and summer here to compile a timeline of the moves heading into the 2023-24 season.
>> March 14: Redshirt freshman center Oleg Kojenets has entered his name in the transfer portal.
Nebraska C Oleg Kojenets has entered the transfer portal. https://t.co/PQZsrhOiFz
— Verbal Commits (@VerbalCommits) March 14, 2023
After redshirting in 2021-22, the Lithuanian 7-footer appeared in 18 games this season, averaging just 3.5 minutes. He scored 10 points on 3-of-6 from the field and 4-of-6 from the foul line and grabbed 13 rebounds with one steal, one block and six turnovers. Kojenets provided spot minutes throughout the season as Nebraska dealt with Derek Walker missing five games to start the season and Blaise Keita missing significant time with ankle injuries but wasn’t able to carve out a larger role than that.
Kojenets was a 3-star recruit who signed with Nebraska in the spring after spending his senior year at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio.
>> March 15: Redshirt freshman wing Denim Dawson plans to enter his name in the transfer portal.
Nebraska wing Denim Dawson intends to enter the transfer portal, a source tells @247SportsPortal.
Freshman that started in eight games for the Cornhuskers this season. Former three-star recruit in the 2021 class.https://t.co/RcNdldQaTz
— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) March 15, 2023
Dawson committed to Nebraska for the 2023 class as a post-grad 3-star recruit before opting to enroll after the first semester and redshirt last season. The 6-foot-6, 193-pound wing averaged 1.8 points and 1.9 rebounds in 15.0 minutes per game, appearing in 26 games and starting eight. He shot just 35.4% from the field, 31.3% from 3 and 40% from the free-throw line. His season-high was eight points against Omaha in the second game of the season. His Big Ten high was seven points with eight rebounds against Ohio State, and he followed that up with a season-high nine rebounds against Penn State.
Dawson was in the rotation as a reserve focused on providing a defensive spark to open the season. He entered the starting lineup following Juwan Gary’s injury but fell out of the rotation down the stretch, playing less than 20 total minutes in his last five games with two DNP-CDs along the way.
>> April 8: Dawson announces his commitment to Tennessee State on Instagram.
>> April 12: Nebraska lands a commitment from Bradley transfer big man Rienk Mast. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound native of Groningen, Netherlands, will help fill the void left by Derrick Walker’s departure as a talented post scorer and skilled passer.
>> April 12: Hoiberg and the Huskers received their second commitment of the day when Charlotte transfer wing Brice Williams joined Mask in pledging to be a Husker. The 6-foot-7, 215-pound three-level scorer from Huntersville, North Carolina, led the 49ers this past season with 13.8 points per game and is a career 39.5% 3-point shooter.
>> April 14: Nebraska lands its first 2024 commit in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, guard Nick Janowski.
>> April 17: Former Nebraska center Oleg Kojenets signs with Wyoming.
— Wyoming Cowboy Basketball (@wyo_mbb) April 17, 2023
>> April 18: Redshirt freshman guard Quaran McPherson enters his name in the transfer portal.
Nebraska G Quaran McPherson has entered the transfer portal. https://t.co/cHnq4aRXch
— Verbal Commits (@VerbalCommits) April 18, 2023
The 6-foot-3 guard spent two seasons at Nebraska but did not play in a game. He redshirted his first season then suffered a season-ending knee injury last summer that ended his redshirt freshman year before it even began.
The native of Queens, New York, joined the Nebraska program after spending a post-grad year at Link Year School in Missouri. Teammates praised his defensive intensity and how vocal he was while running Nebraska’s scout team during his redshirt year. His departure leaves Nebraska with three open scholarships and leaves Nebraska without a true point guard on the roster.
>> April 24: Keisei Tominaga declares for the 2023 NBA Draft.
A source confirmed to Hail Varsity that the 6-foot-2 sharp-shooter will test the NBA Draft waters while maintaining his college eligibility. He still has one season of college eligibility remaining because of the COVID-19 pandemic after spending two years at Ranger College and the past two at Nebraska.
Tominaga had a breakout season in 2022-23, finishing second on the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game on 50.3% from the field, 40% from 3 and 86.8% from the free-throw line. Tominaga took off in the second half of the season, failing to reach double digits scoring in just one of his last 15 games and averaging 17.3 points on 53.4% shooting (42.4% from 3) during that span.
He elevated his game even more over his last nine, emerging as one of the deadliest scorers in the entire conference as he averaged 20.3 points on 55.7% from the field including 43.1% from deep. Tominaga cracked the 20-point threshold nine times during the season, seven of which came in that final nine-game stretch including five straight at one point.
Tominaga will look to work out for NBA teams and seek feedback from professional evaluators before making his final decision. The NBA Draft Combine is set for May 15-21 and the NCAA early entry withdrawal deadline is May 31. The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 22.
>> May 1: Iowa transfer point guard Ahron Ulis commits to Nebraska. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard started 27 games for the Hawkeyes last season, averaging 6.1 points and 2.1 assists.
>> May 2: Lincoln native and New Mexico transfer forward Josiah Allick commits to Nebraska. The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Lincoln North Star graduate averaged 8.4 points and 7.3 rebounds last season for the Lobos.
>> May 4: Wilhelm Breidenbach enters the transfer portal, according to a source.
The 6-foot-10 forward from California spent two seasons at Nebraska. He played 10 games as a true freshman before suffering a season-ending knee injury, averaging 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game. He shot 35.9% from the field thanks largely to a 3-for-20 mark from 3. This past season, Breidenbach played in all 32 games with two starts, averaging 3.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game. He shot 28.5% from the field including 23.4% (11-for-47) from 3.
Breidenbach recorded four double-digit scoring games as a Husker with a high of 13 in Nebraska’s loss to Kansas State. When Nebraska announced Breidenbach’s signing, Hoiberg praised his ability to stretch the floor, but the 3-point shot never went down consistently for him and he struggled to carve out a significant role, either at the four or the five.
Breidenbach’s departure opens up a second scholarship for Nebraska for the 2023-24 season. The Huskers currently have Juwan Gary, Blaise Keita and transfer commits Rienk Mast and Josiah Allick as frontcourt options.
>> May 7: Former Husker Quaran McPherson commits to Northern Illinois.
>> May 31: Keisei Tominaga withdraws from the NBA Draft to take advantage of his extra season of eligibility at Nebraska.
— 富永 啓生/ keisei tominaga (@KeiseiTominaga) June 1, 2023
“We are excited to have Keisei return for the 2023-24 season,” Hoiberg said in a release. “I think the process was very beneficial because it allowed Keisei to get feedback from NBA personnel and what he needs to keep working on. He showed the ability to be one of the best players in the Big Ten and was a catalyst for our success in the second half of the conference season. Keisei has really worked hard since the season ended and has the opportunity to have a special senior season.”
Tominaga, Nebraska’s second-leading scorer last season who averaged better than 20 points per game over his last nine, worked out for the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, May 30. He’ll spend most of the summer back home training with the Japanese National Team. Japan will host the 2023 FIBA World Cup beginning in August.
>> June 15: Former Husker Wilhelm Breidenbach announces his commitment to Washington.
View this post on Instagram
>> June 19: Keisei Tominaga is named to Japan’s 25-player preliminary roster for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Okinawa, Japan, will host preliminary and second rounds in this year’s World Cup in late August. Japan’s group, Group E, includes games against Australia, Finland, and Germany beginning on Aug. 25. Beforehand, Japan will play seven games: two against Chinese Taipei July 8, two against New Zealand Aug. 2 and 4 and one each against Angola Aug. 15, France Aug. 17 and Slovenia Aug. 19.
Tominaga played in seven game with Japan’s Senior National Team last summer, averaging 15.9 points per game while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range.
>> June 21: Rienk Mast is invited to join the Netherlands Senior National Team for camp and pre-Olympic Qualifying competition.
Mast will be with the national team from late July to late August. Following camp, Netherlands will play exhibitions against Israel Aug. 4 and Ukraine Aug. 7 before competing in the team’s FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Istanbul Aug. 13-20. Pool play includes Sweden Aug. 13, Belgium Aug. 14 and Croatia Aug. 16. The semifinals are set for Aug. 18 with the final to follow on Aug. 20.
The 6-foot-9 transfer from Bradley is a native of Groningen, Netherlands. He last competed for the Netherlands Senior National Team in the 2019 Basketball World Cup qualifier, averaging 4.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in three games. He also previously played for his home country at the U18 and U16 levels.