Fred Hoiberg received some good news to start his week as Nebraska has secured a commitment from 2021 center Oleg Kojenets.
The 7-foot, 220-pound center from Lithuania is the fourth member of Nebraska’s 2021 recruiting class. He spent his senior year at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio, though the school only played nine games because of the pandemic. He signed with the Huskers on April 14, the first day of the late signing period.
“I think Oleg has a lot of physical tools and is someone we think can develop in our program,” Hoiberg said in a release. “He is a crafty player with good hands and the ability to score around the basket. Oleg has a natural feel for the game, as both his parents played at a high level. He is in the U-18 national pool in Lithuania and played for the U-16 team at the European Championships in 2019. His combination of size, skill and basketball IQ is a great foundation to work with, as he begins his Husker career.”
Kojenets joins 5-star guard Bryce McGowens (South Carolina), 4-star forward Wilhelm Breidenbach (California) and junior college guard Keisei Tominaga (Japan). CJ Wilcher, a Xavier transfer originally from New Jersey, will also join Nebraska for next season. Kojenets’ commitment pushes Nebraska up the 247Sports class rankings to No. 14 in the nation.
Kojenets played for Zalgiris Kaunas’ U-18 team at the 2020 adidas Next Generation Tournament, averaging 6.8 points on 50% shooting and 4.0 rebounds as the team finished with a 3-1 mark. He also competed for Lithuania in the 2019 FIBA U16 European Championship where he averaged 9.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks and put himself firmly on the recruiting radar. He’s a skilled big man who is comfortable playing with his back to the basket or rolling to the rim.
His parents both played at UNC-Wilmington. His father, Aleh, was a 6-foot-11 center who played in 114 games at Wilmington from 1996 to 2000. His mother, Jurga, was a 6-foot-6 center who is third in program history in single-season and career blocks and holds the program record for most blocks in a game with 10.
Kojenets chose Nebraska over offers from Seton Hall, Georgia Tech and St. Mary’s.
Nebraska still has two open scholarships the coaches could look to fill thanks to Kobe Webster and Trevor Lakes not counting towards the team’s 13-scholarship limit as returning seniors.
Kojenets replaces Yvan Ouedraogo, who announced he was entering the transfer portal shortly after the season ended. The Huskers will have Derrick Walker, Eduardo Andre and Kojenets at center plus Lat Mayen, Lakes, Breidenbach and Shamiel Stevenson as other frontcourt options in 2021-22.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.