Basketball camp season tipped off at Omaha Sports Academy on Thursday with a special group of guests at the UBT Sports Complex.
OSA hosted its first College All-Star camp for a group of roughly 50 boys and girls (third through eighth grade) at its facility in Elkhorn, and among the counselors was Nebraska redshirt freshman Ramel Lloyd Jr.
The other college players helping with the camp all have ties to Omaha and/or OSA itself. Lloyd, on the other hand, played his AAU ball for the Oakland Soldiers back in California. The link was OSA boys director Mitch Runco, who returned to Omaha a couple years ago after spending time in California coaching with Compton Magic.
“I know Coach Mitch,” Lloyd told Hail Varsity. “He was in California for a while, so he’s known me since I was a kid. So he contacted me about coming up here and I definitely wanted to come up here and support … I’m just trying to be more a part of the community. I’m from Los Angeles, obviously, so I’m not too familiar with Nebraska. So I just want to get myself more in tune with Nebraska just as a whole.”
The other “College All-Stars” helping out at the camp were Drake’s Tucker DeVries, who grew up in Omaha before moving to Iowa and played his summer ball at OSA, and Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman (Aurora), Josiah Dotzler (Bellevue West) and Jasen Green (Millard North). Scheierman and Dotzler also played for OSA.
Lloyd will have to compete against the Bluejays once the season arrives, but on Thursday it was all smiles and fun showing kids how to play and answering questions.
“We’ve been chopping it up,” Lloyd said. “Off the court, everyone’s friends and whatnot. I guess when it’s that time we know we’re not going to be, but right now I know we’re just talking about having a good time.”
One of the highlights of the question and answer portion of the camp was Lloyd revealing he once scored 70 points in a park league game.
“It’s so cool to have both Nebraska and Creighton representation,” said Brandon Snyder, a skills trainer at OSA who helped run the camp. “It’s awesome for our program. We have those Creighton guys that have played for our program, but also just to see the extension of the coaches and directors in our program currently and the outreach that they have. Getting a kid from California to get in here that’s playing at Nebraska to get in the gym in Omaha is just really cool for our kids and just expands our reach and increases our knowledge and it’s just a great opportunity for our kids.”
Lloyd, a 4-star recruit coming out of Sierra Canyon, in California, spent his first season in Lincoln as a redshirt, developing his body and game under the watchful eye of Fred Hoiberg and his staff. Lloyd often impersonated the best perimeter player on Nebraska’s upcoming opponent on the scout team in practice, giving him a chance to expand his game as a featured option.
“It helped me a lot,” Lloyd said. “I learned a lot of different teams’ systems. I was able to play a lot of my game as well in practice and get real game reps playing against the starters and whatnot. So a lot of reps, I got through it and I think it was very helpful. I hope to show that it was helpful this year.”
Lloyd said Husker fans can expect to see a big guard with versatility on both ends of the court.
“Just an all-around guy that can put numbers up and also facilitate,” Lloyd said.
The coaching staff has been busy this offseason, landing four transfers to join IMG Academy wing Eli Rice in Nebraska’s 2023 signing class. Lloyd said he hasn’t seen much of the newcomers just yet but is looking forward to playing with them.
“I know they’re guys that have played at a high level and are coming in with résumés,” Lloyd said. “I trust Coach Hoiberg and the staff will bring in great guys and great teammates, so I’m excited to get to work with them.”
As a combo-guard, Lloyd is also looking forward to playing with sharp-shooter Keisei Tominaga, who announced on Wednesday that he is returning to Nebraska for his extra season of eligibility after testing the NBA waters.
“It’s going to be fun,” Lloyd said. “I didn’t get a chance to play with some of my guys I was really cool with, some of the guys on the team last year that graduated, but I’m glad I get to play with Keisei for a year at least. Definitely going to give me some assists.”
Up next for Lloyd and the Huskers is a busy summer of workouts as the team prepares for its foreign tour in late July. The Cornhuskers will travel to Spain, departing Jul 28 and returning Aug. 7, to experience the culture and face some local talent. The trip won’t be Lloyd’s first outside of the country as he’s previously visited the Dominican Republic, so the basketball portion of the trip is what he’s most looking forward to.
“It’s been a long time since I got real game reps,” Lloyd said. “I’m just looking forward to playing and starting my career as a Husker.”