Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebrasketball Film Study: Keisei Tominaga

July 23, 2022

The Japanese senior national team’s run in the FIBA Asia Cup came to an end in the quarterfinals as Japan fell to Asia on Wednesday, 99-85, despite a monster performance from Keisei Tominaga.

The Husker guard went off for 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting including 8-of-15 from deep. In his first seven games with the senior national team, Tominaga averaged 15.9 points while shooting 39.3% from 3.

Tominaga will soon return to campus to begin preparing for his second season with the Huskers. Year one in Lincoln saw the 6-foot-2 guard start in 11 games and score in double figures seven times, but he struggled to find consistency and was in and out of the rotation at different points in the season.

Overall, Tominaga averaged 5.7 points (third among returning Huskers) on 37.3% shooting including 33% from deep in 16.5 minutes per game. To get a better feel for how the Huskers used Tominaga in yearn and where he needs to improve, I dove into the film.

Tominaga’s primary weapon is his jump shot as he was one of the best 3-point shooters in junior college during his two seasons at Ranger. However, he wasn’t quite able to replicate that success at the Division I level last season, which is a problem for an undersized off-ball guard who doesn’t provide much playmaking off the bounce. To earn a bigger role, Tominaga is going to have to shoot better than 33% from 3.

According to Synergy, nearly a third of Tominaga’s possessions came in spot-up situations (33.1%, to be exact) and he scored 1.085 points per possession (PPP), ranked in the 82nd percentile (classified as “very good”).

Thirty-four of Tominaga’s 59 spot-up possessions ended in catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. He shot 11-of-33 (33.3%) on those shots and drew one foul, which isn’t quite what you want to see for a player of Tominaga’s role and skill set. However, I classified roughly half of those shots as contested, well beyond the college line or both. Tominaga had some impressive makes on those shots with a high degree of difficulty, but you’d like to see less of those and more clean, open looks. Improved shot selection and more patience could go a long way towards improving his efficiency.

Tominaga also shot 3-of-9 on 3s off the dribble, which mostly consisted of one-dribble pull-ups after the defender closed out against him on the catch.

He actually had a lot of success attacking closeouts and making plays inside the arc as he shot 8-of-13 on 2-pointers off the dribble — 4-of-7 on pull-up jumpers, 2-of-3 on floaters and 2-of-3 at the rim with two fouls drawn, and three of the five misses were blocked. It’s not a huge part of his game, but it is valuable to be able to leverage his gravity as a quick-trigger 3-point shooter to make teams pay for frantic closeouts.

Nebraska loves to run and so does Tominaga as 22.5% of his possessions came in transition. He scored 1.125 PPP (69th percentile, “very good”).

Unsurprisingly, Tominaga seeks out the 3-point arc any time he finds himself in the open court, and it was probably the best part of his game last season. He shot 10-of-21 (47.6%) on catch-and-shoot 3s in transition including two four-point plays. He also scored two layups by getting ahead of the defense and receiving a pass ahead from a teammate.

However, he struggled when he had to put the ball on the deck, either as the one trigger the break or after a defender made him put it on the deck with a closeout. He shot 2-of-11 on pull-up jumpers (1-of-8 from 3). He scored once at the rim and drew one foul when attacking but also turned the ball over four times.

Tominaga is deadly from the 3-point line, but he wasn’t as effective when teams made him put the ball on the deck and he took some really difficult pull-ups 3s. Again, a little better shot selection could help him improve his overall effectiveness.

Nebraska also looked to utilize Tominaga’s jumper by running him off a lot of screens, which made up 14% of his possessions. He scored 1.16 PPP (80th percentile, “very good”) while running off a handful of different screen types.

On what I call comeback screens (basically, a reverse flare screen where the player is coming back toward the ball to receive the pass), Tominaga shot 4-of-7 with one foul drawn. He shot 2-of-5 on catch-and-shoot 3s with a pull-up 2 and a layup. He was also effective running off staggered screens (two screens set a ways apart), shooting 4-of-7 (1-of-3 on catch-and-shoot 3s with one pull-up 3 and 2-of-3 on layups).

However, he struggled running off pin-down screens, sooting just 1-of-7 with the only make coming on a pull-up 3. He missed all three of his catch-and-shoot 3s as well as his pull-up 2 and his attempt at the rim.

He hit one 3 and missed one mid-range shot curling off screens on baseline out-of-bounds plays and dropped the ball for a turnover on his only attempt on a hammer screen play.

Nebraska’s offense features a lot of hand-offs where he big men initiate offense near the top of the key, but Tominaga struggled to hit shots in those situations that made up 11.2% of his possessions (20 in total). He scored just 0.55 PPP (16th percentile, “below average”), shooting 3-of-19 from the field.

He shot 1-of-12 on catch-and-shoot jumpers off a handoff (1-of-11 on 3s). He shot 2-of-4 on one-dribble 3s with one and-one but missed two mid-range pull-ups. He missed his only shot at the rim but also drew one foul. That catch-and-shoot percentage is going to have ti improve because I don’t see Nebraska going away from bigs initiating offense with Derrick Walker back for one more season.

The last somewhat significant chuck of his offense was classified as him running pick-and-rolls (6.7%, 12 possessions), although there weren’t a ton of solid screens or him truly making plays off the dribble. He shot 2-of-5 on pull-up 3s, 1-of-4 on pull-up 2s and 1-of-3 on drives to the rim. Tominaga isn’t a guy Nebraska is going to ask to make many plays for himself off the dribble (he also logged just four isolation possessions, missing three 3s and scoring one layup).

Overall, Tominaga is somewhat limited as a player, but he he definitely has some skills that can help the team. He can definitely shoot the ball, and with another offseason of preparation and some Division I experience, and perhaps some better shot selection, Tominaga could take a step forward this season as a junior.

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