Fred Hoiberg announced a well-rounded, four-man 2022 recruiting class on Wednesday evening.
Coffeyville Community College big man Blaise Keita, Sierra Canyon point guard Ramel Lloyd Jr., Southern California Academy wing Denim Dawson and Roselle Catholic sharp-shooter Jamarques Lawrence alls signed their letters of intent on the first day of the fall signing period.
The class is ranked 34th nationally and seventh in the Big Ten according to the 247Sports Composite.
Keita, a 6-foot-11, 240 pound forward, is originally from Bamako, Republic of Mali, but played his high school ball at Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas. He’s ranked third nationally among JUCO prospects according to 247Sports and ESPN has him rated as a 4-star.
Keita led Coffeyville to a 26-3 record and the school’s first NJCAA Division I national title as a freshman while averaging 10.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks and shooting 51% from the field. He stepped it up in the postseason, averaging 14.8 points on 65% shooting, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in five NJCAA Tournament games including a career-high 27 points on 13-of-16 shooting, nine rebounds and four blocks in the championship game.
Keita also has experience at the international level, competing for Mali’s U19 team n the 2017 FIBA World Cup.
“Blaise has dynamic physical tools, great size, athleticism, length and power to become a high-level big man in the Big Ten,” Hoiberg said in a release. “His ability to score around the rim as well as being able to extend out and be a threat beyond the arc will make him a weapon within our offense. I know that with his experience at the junior college level, he possesses the knowledge and IQ that will make him an immediate impact to our program when he steps foot on campus.”
Lloyd is a 6-foot-6, 190-pound guard from Woodland Hills, California. He’s No. 128 and a 3-star in the 247Sports Composite while ESPN has him rated as a 4-star prospect.
He transferred from Taft High School to powerhouse Sierra Canyon last season and averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 5.1 assists for a 15-2 team during his junior year.
“Ramel has a combination of length, athleticism and an overall elite skill set that will help him flourish in this conference,” Hoiberg said. “The competition he faced in high school makes him more than ready to compete at a high level. His ability to use his size and versatility to create plays for himself and for others will make him an important piece to our program and our success moving forward.”
Dawson is a 6-foot-6, 180 pound wing with explosive athleticism and the ability to knock down shots. Dawson is a 3-star prospect according to 247Spots, Rivals and ESPN, coming in at No. 235 in the 247Sports Composite.
Dawson averaged 16 points and five rebounds while shooting nearly 40% from 3 last season at Orange Lutheran High School before reclassifying to 2022 and attending Southern California Academy. At the end of the fall semester, he plans to enroll at Nebraska and redshirt this season.
“Denim is a powerful wing and tough competitor,” Hoiberg said. “He plays aggressively and brings a multi-level scoring presence to our system. With his size and frame, he has the ability to create mismatches and the potential to become a great two-way player. I’m really excited about Denim enrolling early to get acclimated with our system and get a chance to work with him immediately.”
Lawrence, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard from Plainfield, New Jersey, was the final addition to Nebraska’s signing class. He’s ranked 227th in the 247Sports Composite and is a 3-star prospect.
Lawrence is a teammate of current Husker C.J. Wilcher’s younger brother Simeon at Roselle Catholic. He averaged 13.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season and had five games with four or more 3-pointers. Lawrence spent his first two years at Plainfield High School.
“Jamarques is an elite shooter who understands the game at a very high level,” Hoiberg said. “His length and strong body will make him an intimidating guard to play against. Jamarques’s threat as a shooter and as a scorer will give us the ability to put him in positions within our system that will help elevate his overall potential, production, and success.”
The 2022 class pushes Nebraska’s scholarship count to 15 for next season, two above the limit, but that includes Trey McGowens, Lat Mayen and Derrick Walker — who are all in their fourth or fifth year of college and will have a decision to make at the end of the year whether to return for an extra season— and Bryce McGowens, who is a potential one-and-done NBA prospect.