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New-Look Huskers Begin Summer Workouts

June 11, 2022

This week marked the beginning of summer workouts for the new-look Nebraska basketball team.

After a busy offseason that saw eight newcomers officially join the program, the on-court work to prepare for the 2022-23 season has begun as Thursday marked the first day of summer workouts for the Huskers.

Here’s a quick refresher on what next season’s team looks like as the dust has settled on the offseason and the roster is set.

Before we dive in, however, it’s important to note that Hoiberg does not yet have his full complement of players in Lincoln. Hoiberg said on Sports Nightly this week that SMU transfer Emmanuel Bandoumel is still working through the process of enrolling in a graduate program at Nebraska as an international student. Keisei Tominaga is also currently back home in Japan participating in the national team’s development training camp.

Here’s a breakdown of the roster.

Guards

  • Emmanuel Bandoumel (senior, 6’4”, 180 pounds)
  • Keisei Tominaga (junior, 6’2”, 178 pounds)
  • Quaran McPherson (redshirt freshman, 6’3”, 199 pounds)
  • Jamarques Lawrence (freshman, 6’3”, 175 pounds)
  • Sam Hoiberg (walk-on redshirt freshman, 6’, 183 pounds)
  • Jeffrey Grace III (walk-on redshirt freshman, 6’3”, 195 pounds)
  • Cale Jacobsen (walk-on freshman, 6’4”, 190 pounds)

Offensively, Sam Griesel and Ramel Lloyd Jr. belong in the guards group as they will likely be the primary ball-handlers for the team, but I included them with the wings in this breakdown because of their size and length and the versatility that gives them on the defensive end.

On Sports Nightly, Hoiberg said he thought McPherson’s redshirt year was “really productive.” The rotation players spoke highly of the New York native’s energy and defensive intensity on the practice court throughout this past season, and with the redshirt year in the rearview mirror now is the time for McPherson to show Hoiberg that he can help the team come winter.

Wings

  • Sam Griesel (senior, 6’6”, 220 pounds)
  • Juwan Gary (junior, 6’6”, 219 pounds)
  • C.J. Wilcher (sophomore, 6’5”, 221 pounds)
  • Denim Dawson (freshman, 6’6”, 185 pounds)
  • Ramel Lloyd Jr. (freshman, 6’6”, 190 pounds)

Griesel has been around the program for a while now as a Lincoln native who has been back home since he finished up school at North Dakota State. Hoiberg will rely on him heavily for leadership alongside Derrick Walker as the team’s two super-seniors who have NCAA Tournament experience.

Gary, the Alabama transfer, has been in Lincoln for about a week now and will likely fill the small-ball four role with his athleticism, defensive mindset and willingness to attack the glass on both ends.

WIlcher is the second-leading returning scorer for the Huskers and the team’s best 3-pint shooter by a considerable margin, and Hoiberg said he’s cut weight this offseason and improved his conditioning. Wilcher’s big frame allowed him to play a lot of small-ball four for the Huskers last season, but he struggled at times with his foot speed against quicker guards.

Dawson was originally part of this 2022 recruiting class but enrolled early at Nebraska after the first semester ended and used his redshirt. Now that he’s had part of a season of strength and conditioning and familiarizing himself with everything that goes with playing college basketball, he’ll look to earn a rotation role with his athleticism on the wing.

Lloyd was the highest rated member of the 2022 signing class, and while Nebraska likely sees him as Griesel’s successor at the point after this season, his size gives him the ability to play both on and off the ball this season for the Huskers.

Bigs

  • Derrick Walker (senior, 6’9”, 239 pounds)
  • Blaise Keita (sophomore, 6’11”, 240 pounds)
  • Wilhelm Breidenbach (sophomore, 6’10”, 227 pounds)
  • Oleg Kojenets (redshirt freshman, 7’, 223 pounds)
  • Henry Burt (walk-on freshman, 6’6”, 215 pounds)

Walker’s return is a big deal because of his impact on and off the court. He knows what Hoiberg expects from his players in these workout settings and will help establish the standard.

Walker will get a chance to battle in practice with another talented big following the arrival of Keita, one of the top-rated bigs in the junior college ranks last season. Keita will provide another source of interior scoring.

Breidenbach is still working his way back from the knee injury that ended his freshman season after just 10 games, and he recently wrote about his experience and recovery for Huskers.com.

Kojenets is the other freshman who chose to redshirt last season, and Hoiberg praised his development the other night on Sports Nightly: “Another guy that really developed over the course of the season. He really worked on his shot — he had kind of a knuckleball when he came in but we really worked on his hand position on the ball and a lot of the fundamentals with the shot. He’s shooting the ball at a high level.”

Hoiberg also said Walker has been working on expanding his range, something the two spoke about while the senior was working through his decision about returning for an extra season.

In addition to the eight newcomers on the roster, the Huskers also have a new face on the caching staff in new assistant Adam Howard, who will likely play a large role in shaping what Nebraska’s defense looks like next season. These workouts will give Howard a chance to assimilate himself into the program alongside the rest of the staff while also getting to know the players.

The season opener is a long way off, but the work the Huskers do this summer will go a long way toward determining how successful the team can be in 2022-23.

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