Senior wing Thorir Thorbjarnarson announced on Friday that he will not return to Nebraska for a fifth season and instead will pursue a professional playing career.
Last week, Coach Fred Hoiberg said that Thorbjarnarson had returned home to Reykjavik, Iceland, and was weighing his options while staying in contact with the Nebraska coaches.
Because of the pandemic, seniors across the NCAA have the option to return to school for another year of competition. Kobe Webster previously announced that he will be back for one more season, but after four years in Lincoln Thorbjarnarson is ready to move on to the next phase of his life.
Thank you, Nebraska. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Ra7giX3aq7
— Thorir Gudmundur (@Totiturbo) April 23, 2021
Thorbjarnarson is the only player on the team who played for and was recruited by Tim Miles. He stuck around through the coaching change and grew into an impact player in Hoiberg’s first season in Lincoln. He struggled this year but bounced back late in the season to play some of his best basketball down the stretch.
“Thorir has been a leader in our program and has done everything we’ve asked of him over the last two seasons,” Hoiberg said in a release. “He has represented Nebraska the right way, and everyone in our program appreciates the contributions he has made to Husker basketball. We will continue to support him as he starts the next step of his basketball journey.”
Thorbjarnarson arrived in Lincoln as a late addition to Miles’ 2017 recruiting class. He played just nine game in 2017-18, totaling eight points four rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes of action.
As a sophomore, Thorbjarnarson saw his role fluctuate throughout the season as he appeared in 25 games with seven starts. He played fewer than seven minutes in 11 of his first 19 games before playing 15-plus minutes with five starts in Nebraska last six games. He played a season-high 35 minutes and scored a season-high eight points in Nebraska’s season-ending loss to TCU in the NIT.
Thorbjarnarson was one of just two players who returned from the 2018-19 roster following the coaching change. He came off the bench for the first eight games before entering the starting lineup at Creighton in game nine, and he remained there the rest of the season. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 29.2 minutes per game and was the team’s top perimeter shooter at 37.2%.
Thorbjarnarson saw his role reduced this season as he opened the season in a significant shooting slump. He logged 12 starts (the first seven games of the season and the last five) and averaged 22.1 minutes per game, averaging 3.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 34.2% from the field and 29.4% from 3. He pulled himself out of the slump late, shooting 38.8% over Nebraska’s last 12 games. He scored a season-high 12 points on 4-of-8 from 3 in Nebraska’s season-ending loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament.
Whether the shot was falling or not, Hoiberg greatly valued the way Thorbjarnarson played the game as floor-spacer, ball-mover and off-ball cutter.
We can’t thank @Totiturbo enough for what he has done to set this program up for future success. Incredible representative for this university & program. Always here supporting & cheering for you! #GBR #Nebrasketball https://t.co/edGxwY4pVT
— Matt Abdelmassih (@mabde33) April 23, 2021
Pending any late attrition or the coaches filling the last open scholarship, Nebraska appears poised to head into the summer with 14 scholarship players including two seniors in Webster and Trevor Lakes.
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.