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2024 Nebraska Men’s Basketball Offseason Tracker

by Jun 4, 2024Nebraska Mens Basketball

Nebraska Cornhusker head coach Fred Hoiberg watches the action on the court against the Michigan State Spartans during the college basketball game Sunday, December 10, 2023, Lincoln, Neb. Photo by John S. Peterson.
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

The 2023-24 Nebraska men’s basketball season came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but there’s no such thing as a true offseason in college basketball these days. Coach Fred Hoiberg and his staff are already hard at work building the roster to make another run in 2024-25.

The transfer portal is wide open and players have already began coming and going all across the country. There are more than 1,000 players in the NCAA’s database already with more entering every day.

To keep you informed of all the offseason Nebrasketball news, we’ll update this tracker, presented by Pinnacle Bank, any time news drops.

>> Monday, March 25: Redshirt freshman Ramel Lloyd Jr. enters the portal.

The 6-foot-6 California native did not play in a regular-season game in his two seasons at Nebraska. He was a 4-star recruit according to the 247Sports Composite coming out of Sierra Canyon High School in 2022 before opting for a redshirt in his first season in Lincoln.

Lloyd averaged 5.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals during Nebraska’s offseason trip to Spain but was listed as “out” on the Big Ten’s player availability report for much of this season and never played in a game.

**Update: Lloyd has committed to Long Beach State.

>> Monday, March 25: Freshman Eli Rice enters the portal.

The 6-foot-8 wing played in 17 games as a freshman, averaging 4.2 points and 1.6 rebounds while shooting 37% from 3. His playing time fluctuated, averaging out to 10.1 minutes per game, but he notched four double-digit scoring games after showing his potential as a scorer during the team’s trip to Spain last summer.

The Tennessee native and IMG Academy (Fla.) product suffered a high-ankle sprain midseason and did not play again. Now he’ll look elsewhere to continue his career.

**Update: Rice has committed to Penn State.

>> Monday, March 26: Junior Blaise Keita enters the portal.

The 6-foot-11 JUCO product spent two seasons in Lincoln but did not play this season while recovering from the ankle injury that cut his first season at Nebraska short.

He averaged 2.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game in 2022-23, starting the first five games while Derrick Walker was out of the lineup then playing 16 more off the bench before the injury. He had surgery during the offseason but the recovery didn’t go as planned and it sidelined him for this season as well. Keita was listed as questionable on the availability reports down the stretch of the season but did not play, maintaining a redshirt for this season and granting him two more years of eligibility.

**Update: Keita has committed to Western Kentucky.

>> Tuesday, March 27: Junior C.J. Wilcher enters the portal.

Wilcher participated in Nebraska’s senior day ceremony after three seasons in Lincoln and enters the portal as a graduate transfer. He began his career at Xavier.

The 6-foot-5 sharp-shooter averaged 7.9 points and shot 37% from 3 as a Husker.

This season, he averaged 7.7 points in 17.9 minutes per game, both Nebraska career-lows, though he shot 39.4% from 3. He started two games this season after making 24 starts a year ago. After a red-hot start to Big Ten play (11.9 points per game, 56.9% from 3), Wilcher failed to hit the double-digit mark in each of his last 11 games, averaging 3.8 points and shooting 18.4% from 3 during that stretch.

**Update: Wilcher has committed to Texas A&M.

>> April 1: News breaks of Jamarques Lawrence’s intention to enter the portal.

Lawrence joined the program as an off-guard known for his shooting ability and played 28 games as a freshman including 12 starts, stepping into the lineup after Emmanuel Bandoumel’s season-ending injury. He averaged 5.0 points and shot 37.3% from 3 overall.

Hoiberg and his staff recruited Iowa transfer Ahron Ulis to play point guard, but when the Iowa gambling investigation cast Ulis’ eligibility in doubt (which led to him missing the entire season), it left Nebraska with limited options at the position. As a result, Lawrence opened the season as the team’s starting point guard, showing some flashes but struggling overall. He started 23 games before Hoiberg moved him to the bench, where his play improved. He averaged 6.9 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 turnovers while shooting 35.6% from 3 in 23.5 minutes per game this season.

**Update: Lawrence has committed to Rhode Island.

>> April 2: Big man Matar Diop enters the transfer portal after one season at Nebraska.

The 6-foot-10 big man was a late addition to Nebraska’s 2023 recruiting class after assistant coach Ernie Zeigler noticed his potential at the NBA Academy in July. He played in 19 games this season behind Nebraska’s veteran frontcourt of Rienk mast, Josiah Allick and Juwan Gary, totaling 16 points and 17 rebounds in 72 minutes.

Diop’s departure leaves Nebraska with four returning scholarship players in addition to the two incoming freshmen. The Huskers have seven open scholarships for next season.

**Update: Diop has committed to Loyola Marymount.

>> April 4: Juwan Gary and Brice Williams announce they’re returning to Nebraska for the 2024-25 season.

Both players are choosing to use their extra season of eligibility in Lincoln after helping lead the Huskers to 23 wins and a NCAA Tournament appearance. Williams averaged 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 38.8% from 3 in his first season as a Husker after transferring from Charlotte. Gary averaged 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds while leading the defensive effort in his second season as a Husker after spending three years at Alabama, including a medical hardship year.

>> April 8: North Dakota transfer Andrew Morgan commits to Nebraska.

 

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The 6-foot-10, 245-pound big man averaged 12.9 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Bison this season, shooting 55.6% from the field including 36.4% on 1.0 3.-point attempt per game and 70.3% from the free-throw line. He scored in double figures in 22 of his 29 games with two double-doubles. Morgan scored a career-high 31 points against Kansas City, 27 against North Dakota and 24 against Omaha. He was a second-team All-Summit League selection this year.

Morgan is the first transfer addition of the offseason for the Huskers. He has one season of eligibility remaining.

“Andrew fits exactly what are looking for and is a perfect fit for our offensive and defensive system.” Hoiberg said in a release after Morgan signed with Nebraska. “He is a physical presence in the paint and can stretch the defense with his ability to shoot.”

>> April 15: Utah transfer point guard Rollie Worster commits to Nebraska.

 

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The 6-foot-4, 206-pound guard played for former Nebraska assistant Craig Smith for four seasons, one at Utah State and the last three at Utah. He’s started in 101 of his 103 career games and announced in late March that he was entering the portal.

Worster averaged 9.9 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 16 games this season before suffering an injury that sidelined him for the rest of the year. He’s averaged 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists for his career but has shot just 29% from 3 and 41% from the field. A hard-nosed floor general, Worster has sported a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ration over the past two seasons.

“We targeted Rollie early as someone who can come in and elevate our program,” Hoiberg said in a release. “The first things you look at are his experience and decision-making ability on the court. He started in the Pac-12 the last three years and had nearly a 2.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Rollie was among the conference leaders in assists two years ago and was on track to put up better numbers before his injury in January. He also gives us positional size in the backcourt while being a very good rebounder and defender.”

>> April 16: Rutgers transfer Gavin Griffiths commits to Nebraska.

The 6-foot-8, 193-pound wing was a 4-star recruit ranked 44th nationally in the 247Sports Composite coming out of Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, Connecticut but struggled during his freshman year at Rutgers. Griffiths averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game, shooting 2.4% from the field including 28.2% from 3. However, he finished the season strong, averaging 8.3 points while shooting 37.1% from 3 over his final seven games.

“Gavin is an elite shooter with deep range,” Hoiberg said in a release. “Spacing is so important in our system, and his skill set fits what we are looking for. He handles the ball well and possesses the length and athleticism to give us flexibility and positional size in our lineup. Gavin has a year of Big Ten experience under his belt, and you could see his confidence grow over the course of last season, especially in the last month when he shot 37% from 3-point range.”

>> April 21: Wisconsin transfer Connor Essegian commits to Nebraska.

Essegian was a first-team Big Ten All-Freshman team selection his first year in Madison. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, native visited Nebraska, Indiana, Maryland and South Carolina this spring, choosing the Huskers over the other three. The sharpshooter averaged just 7.3 minutes and 3.2 points per game in 2023-24. During his freshman campaign, the 6-4 guard average 27.4 minutes and 11.7 points while 35.9% shooting from beyond the arc.

“As we build our roster, Connor’s skillset fits what we are looking for,” Hoiberg said in a release after Essegian signed with Nebraska. “He has performed at a high level in the Big Ten and was one of the top freshmen in the conference two years ago when he set a school record for 3-pointers by a freshman. Connor is an outstanding shooter and has that confidence that good shooters have. He’s been on successful teams at both the high school and college level and the experience he has gained playing in the Big Ten the past two years should help him make the transition to our system.

Essegian finished his high school career as the No. 10 all-time career scoring leader in Indiana state history with 2,526 points.

>> April 30: Washington transfer Braxton Meah commits to Nebraska.

 

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The 7-foot-1, 250-pound center announced his commitment following a visit to Lincoln. He spent the past two seasons at Washington, averaging 7.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 72.9% from the field in 22.0 minutes per game as a Husky.

“Braxton gives us a different dimension for our system with his skill set and athleticism,” Hoiberg said in a release. “He puts a lot of pressure on defenses with his ability to get to the rim and finish around the basket. Defensively, he’s led Washington in blocked shots each of the past two years and was on the Pac-12 all-defensive team in 2022-23. He has the size and length to be an effective rim protector.”

He started 31 games and played 27.3 minutes per game for the Huskies in 2022-23 before seeing his role reduced this season, logging 16 starts and playing 16.9 minutes per game. He recorded six double-doubles during his time at Washington and recorded career-highs of 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Meah spent his first two years at Fresno State and will have one season of eligibility at Nebraska.

Meah adds depth and rim protection to a Nebraska frontcourt that saw Josiah Allick exhaust his eligibility and Blaise Keita and Matar Diop enter the transfer portal. He’s the second transfer big man addition of the offseason, joining former North Dakota State Bison Andrew Morgan. He’s the fifth transfer addition overall and leaves Nebraska with two open scholarships.

>> May 2: Rienk Mast announces he will undergo knee surgery and medically redshirt during the 2024-25 season.

The former Bradley big man led Nebraska in rebounding (7.5 per game) and assists (3.0 per game) and was third in scoring (12.3 per game) during his first season as a Husker.

“Rienk has put a lot of thought into this decision and worked closely with our medical staff in looking at all of the options to get his knee healthy,” Hoiberg said in a release. “He has been in contact with our staff throughout this process, and we are in agreement that this is Rienk’s best long-term option for his basketball career. Although he will not be on the court next season, Rienk will have a different role, one where we can take advantage of his experience and leadership skills. We know that Rienk will be diligent in his rehab and will do everything he can to return to full health.”

With Mast sidelined, Nebraska currently has transfers Andrew Morgan and Braxton Meah in the post with Juwan Gary likely to start at the four spot.

>> May 2: Lincoln high graduate Justin Bolis commits to Nebraska as a preferred walk-on after one season at Southeast Community College in Beatrice.

The 6-foot-9 Bolis spent his freshman season at Southeast Community College, starting 31 games. He averaged 15.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 52.2% from the field (including 12-of-32 or 37.5% from 3) and 66.0% from the free-throw line. He recorded 11 double-doubles including a 21-point, 15-rebound performance against North Iowa Area Community College.

Bolis missed his junior year at Lincoln High with a knee injury but returned to the court to average 8.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting 61% from the field as a senior. The Links went 17-8, the program’s best record since finishing 19-5 in 2014-15.

Bolis adds some much-needed frontcourt depth for Nebraska following the news of Mast’s plans for season-ending surgery. Hoiberg still has two scholarships available.

>> June 4: Nebraska lands a commitment from UCLA transfer forward Berke Buyuktuncel.

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward from Turkey averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game, starting eight games for the Bruins and shooting 38.5% from the field. Buyuktuncel was a 4-star recruit ranked 36th overall by 247Sports.

“Berke is a skilled forward who can impact the game on both ends of the court,” Hoiberg said in a release. “He was one of the top international prospects coming into college last year and having a year of experience will benefit his development. His versatility makes him a natural fit for us. He is a high IQ player who can initiate offense from the frontcourt position and can stretch defenses with his shooting ability. He has very good positional size and can guard multiple positions with his length and defensive instincts.”

With Mast out for the season, Nebraska needed some frontcourt help, particularly at the four spot. While things didn’t necessarily click for him as a freshman at UCLA, he provides the blend of size and skill that Nebraska needs and is another upside bet similar to Griffiths.

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