Checking in on Nebraska Basketball's Junior College Commits
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Checking in on Nebraska Basketball’s Junior College Commits

April 02, 2020

Junior college recruiting has played an important part as Fred Hoiberg has looked to build up his program in Lincoln these first couple of seasons. Nebraska currently has two JUCO transfers set to join the team next season as well as a commit for 2021.

We’ve already taken a deep statistical dive into the traditional transfers set to join Nebraska for 2020-21 in Kobe Webster and Kobe King. Here’s a more shallow look at what Teddy Allen, Lat Mayen and Kesey Tominaga accomplished this season in the junior college ranks.

Teddy Allen, Guard, Western Nebraska Community College

The Cougars went 19-12 this season with Allen leading the way in nearly every statistical category — points, rebounds, assists, steals, 3-pointers and free throws. 

The 6-foot-5 power guard led NJCAA Division I in scoring at 31.4 points per game on 51.4% from the field, 37.1% from 3 and 88.1% from the free-throw line. To get a better feel for just how elite of a scorer Teddy Buckets was this season, check out his Synergy numbers.

The first thing I’ll direct you towards is his shot distribution — that’s a whole lot of 3s and shots at the rim, which Hoiberg will appreciate. He was also terrific in transition at 1.226 points per possession, and Western Nebraska certainly likes to push the pace. He was outstanding in isolation and pick-and-rolls and was above-average as a spot-up player. Basically, on paper, he looks like a perfect fit for Hoiberg’s offense.

He scored over 30 points in 17 of his 28 games and topped 40 four times. He scored a season-high 45 points in a 112-108 win agains Casper College on March 6, shooting 11-of-24 from the field and 12-of-14 from the foul line with 11 rebounds and four assists. He put up 43 points on 18-of-27 shooting (7-of-11 from 3) and 10 rebounds in his sixth game as a Cougar, a 90-83 win against Western Wyoming Community College on Nov. 16. He scored 43 again on Feb. 21 against Otero Junior College on Feb. 21, two games after scoring 42 against Lamar Community College.

Allen led Western Nebraska with 7.4 rebounds per game. He had nine double-digit rebounding games with a high of 13 in his Western Nebraska debut, a 96-75 loss to Western Wyoming on Nov. 1. He also scored 38 points in that game for his first double-double.

Allen is first and foremost a bucket-getter, but he’s capable of making plays for his teammates as well, leading the Cougars with 3.7 assists per game. He recorded 10 assists in three straight games in late January, notching triple-doubles in two of those games. He had 24 points and 12 rebounds in the first of the tree, a 101-80 win against Lamar, and put up 32 points and 10 rebounds in the third.

Allen’s 3-point shooting has been all over the place throughout his career dating back to his two seasons at Boys Town in high school. He shot 41.2% on 90 attempts as a junior but followed that up with 29.9% on 201 attempts as a senior. As a freshman at West Virginia, hoe shot 3-of-25 from 3. This season at Western Nebraska, Allen shot 37.1% overall, which includes a big late-season slump. He shot 42% in his first 18 games but that dropped to 27.1% over his last 10. It will be important for Allen to level that out, and shot selection likely had something to do with it as he was Western Michigan’s primary creator.

Jervay Green was a disappointment this season after coming out of the same program, but Allen’s numbers are quite a bit better than even Green’s were when the 6-foot-3 guard was highly-regarded in the 2019 recruiting cycle. Allen has also showed he’s capable of scoring at the high-major level as he scored 7.0 points in just 11.9 minutes per game for the Mountaineers in 2017-18.

If the transition for Allen back to the Division I level is smooth and he buys into what Hoiberg wants him to do, Allen will probably be a starter and one of Nebraska’s best players next season based on what he’s shown in his career thus far.

Lat Mayen, Forward, Chipola College

Whereas Western Nebraska relied heavily on Allen to carry the scoring load, Chipola was much more balanced this season as the 18-10 Indians had six players average between 10.0 and 12.4 points.

Mayen, the 6-foot-9, 205-pound stretch-forward from Adelaide, Australia, was fourth on the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game. He shot 46.7% from the field, 38.4% from 3 and 81.5% from the foul line. He scored in double figures in 20 of his 28 games as a redshirt sophomore.

Mayen finished the season strong, scoring 14.5 points per game over his last 13. He scored a season-high 22 points on 9-of-14 from the field, 2-of-2 from 3 and 2-of-3 from the free-throw line in a 73-71 loss to Tallahassee on Jan. 4. He followed that up with a 20-point, 16-rebound double-double in a 79-51 win against Northwest Florida State on Jan. 8.

Mayen shot 81-of-156 (51.9%) on 2-pointers and 38-of-99 (38.4%) on 3s, showing he can score inside and out. He also knocked down his free throws at a high rate despite only getting to the line 2.3 times per game.

Mayen also led the Indians in rebounding at 8.4 per game. He grabbed 10 or more boards in 11 games with that 16-carom outing as his season high. He also grabbed 15 rebounds in a 70-56 win against Pensacola State on Jan. 29 and 14 in an 87-61 win against Spartanburg Methodist on Nov. 8.

Mayen displays a willingness to make plays for his teammates, averaging 2.7 assists from his forward spot. His season high in assists was six, set twice, and he had at least one assist in all but four of his games. However, he also led Chipola in turnovers at 3.0 per game, something that he’ll have to clean up to play for Hoiberg.

Overall, Mayen looks like a capable stretch-four option for the Huskers next season. He began his college career at TCU in 2018-19 but scored just 36 points in 17 games before transferring to Chipola for his sophomore season. If his jump shot translates back to the Division I level and he can hold his own defensively with his slight frame, Mayen could be a very good fit for a team short on shooting, length and rebounding this season.

Keisei Tominaga, Guard, Ranger College

Tominaga is at one of the most successful junior colleges in the country as Ranger went 28-3 this season. The 6-foot sniper from Japan committed to Nebraska back on Thanksgiving despite needing to spend another season at the JUCO level to become a Division I qualifier.

Tominaga led the Rangers in scoring as a freshman at 16.8 per game, and he did it on ridiculous efficiency. He shot 54.9% from the field, 47.9% from 3 and 85.5% from the foul line as a freshman.

Tominaga doesn’t contribute a whole lot outside of scoring (2.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game), but he’s a special shooter.

Tominaga scored in double figures in 25 of his 31 games. He scored a season-high 34 points on 12-of-20 from the field including 8-of-14 from 3 in a 110-60 win against Victoria College on Nov. 16. He topped 30 again on Jan. 4 in a 98-91 win against Collin County Community College, finishing with 31 points on 11-of-16 from the field, 5-of-16 from 3 and 4-of-4 form the line.

He had nine games in the 20s including back-to-back 28-point games near the end of the season, shooting 6-of-8 from 3 in both of them. He had nine games with five or more made 3-pointers. The 8-of-14 game against Victoria was his best shooting performance but he also shot 7-of-11 from deep in a  26-point performance against Panola College on Nov. 25, an 81-65 win.

Tominaga still has one more year of junior college ball left before he arrives at Nebraska, and he’ll be playing for a new coach in 2020-21 as Billy Gillispie resigned at Ranger in order to accept the head coaching job at Tarleton State.

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