Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Newcomers Shine, Have Fun in First Appearance with Nebraska Men’s Basketball

October 01, 2021

While it was just a scrimmage, Nebraska men’s basketball fans got their first look at some of the highly-touted newcomers the team added over the offseason. 

Among those names were five-star guard Bryce McGowens, junior college transfer sharpshooter Keisei Tominaga and four-star Wilhelm Breidenbach.

After the women’s basketball scrimmage, the men went through player introductions. McGowens and Tominaga earned the largest cheers from the crowd. Other memorable intros included CJ Wilcher wearing a cape and dancing to Soulja Boy’s “Rick & Morty.” 

Head coach Fred Hoiberg came through after the rest of the introductions and addressed the crowd. 

“It’s a fun team, we’ve upgraded every position, we’ve got great skill, shooting, athleticism,” Hoiberg said. “I promise, this is going to be a team that’s going to be fun to root for.”

The 30-minute scrimmage that followed was mostly lighthearted and fun, showcasing the attributes the head coach described. It was mostly filled with lackadaisical defense, dunk attempts, and 3-pointers. Plenty of shots were missed badly and so were some of the most ambitious dunks, but there were enough-crowd pleasing plays to make up for it. 

There were a couple times where the defense did turn it up a notch. After senior transfer guard Alonzo Verge hit a shot over Kobe Webster following a nice crossover, Webster attempted to get him back. Verge avoided the same defensive fate, stripping the ball and gaining control upon diving to the floor. 

The ball then found the hands of McGowens, with junior Trey McGowens trailing. The younger brother threw the ball off the glass into the hands of Trey, who dunked it in. 

The second moment came just a few possessions later. Verge, looking to continue his reign of terror, found himself with Tominaga in front of him. Even with a variety of dribble moves, the senior guard didn’t get anywhere, and threw up a miss. Tominaga brought the crowd to its feet by hitting a shot from beyond the arc immediately after, and then again on the next possession. 

Tominaga was the star of the scrimmage, hitting a few more deep shots beyond that and a few nice inside shots. McGowens had a self-lob, Breidenbach had a few dunks, and Wilcher also made a considerable amount of shots from long range. 

The newcomers also took over the 3-point competition after the scrimmage. Wilcher, Tominaga, Breidenbach and Webster were the participants, and the three fresh faces sat atop the leaderboard. Wilcher hit 17, while Tominaga made 16 and Breidenbach put 15 in the hoop. 

G Herbo performed to wrap up the night, sporting a customized white Nebraska basketball jersey. Both teams joined the Chicago rapper on stage.

Admittedly, most songs were tough to make out from the press rows, outside of the unmistakable “Swervo.”

G Herbo shared one thing in common with nearly all of the Nebraska roster, not having performed in front of a Pinnacle Bank Arena crowd. While only one party will likely be returning to the arena anytime soon, they both made an entertaining first impression.

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