Nebraska basketball head coach Fred Hoiberg met with reporters over Zoom on Thursday to give his thoughts on the Huskers’ newest 2021 signees and give the latest on a handful of other topics.
Here’s a full rundown of what he had to say…
***Hoiberg said Xavier freshman transfer CJ Wilcher had “good quality minutes” in the limited opportunities he saw last season. Wilcher’s perimeter shooting immediately stands out, but Hoiberg said he was “a very complete player” who could play strong defense and finish in the paint.
***Hoiberg said the additions of Wilcher, Keisei Tominaga, Bryce McGowens, and Wilhelm Briedenbach would all help NU hopefully become consistent both from 3-point range and at the free-throw line.
***On freshman signee Oleg Kojenets, Hoiberg said the 7-foot center would bring both size and “very good skill” to Nebraska.
Hoiberg said Kojenets would come to Lincoln and compete with everyone else to try and earn a role in the rotation next season. Hoiberg noted that adding strength was a big thing for all freshmen, and Kojenets would immediately start working on his body when he arrived this summer.
Hoiberg called Kojenets as “good long-term addition” for the Huskers.
***On the NCAA’s newly passed one-time transfer rule, Hoiberg said it wouldn’t change Nebraska’s approach to recruiting much at all.
He said his programs had always taken guys from all different areas, whether it be high school, internationally, junior college, or Division I transfers.
Overall, Hoiberg said the rule was a “good thing” for the sport because it would “give some consistency” for first-time transfers, with all of them being able to play right away.
***Hoiberg said the most significant difference in recrutiing the transfer market now compared to when he was at Iowa State was that everyone recruited transfers now, where they were one of the only teams heavily recruiting that pool at ISU.
***Hoiberg said it was “really cool” to sit by his son and new Nebraska walk-on Sam Hoiberg during Sam’s signing day ceremony on Wednesday. Fred said Sam would be a great teammates, a hard worker, and would push everyone around him to get better.
“Whatever role is asked of him, I know he’ll do it to the best of his ability,” Fred said.
Fred added that Sam had other “intriguing” college options but Sam fell in love with Nebraska and wanted to be a part of this community and program.
“He wanted to stay home and he wanted to play here,” Fred said. “He’s really fallen in love with this community as our entire family has.”
***Hoiberg said Thorir Thorbjarnarson was currently back home in Iceland, though NU’s staff was in “constant communication” with him. Hoiberg said Thorbjarnarson was still weighing all options and would take his time with the process in deciding whether to return to Nebraska for an additional season or move on.
***While many thought Nebraska might add a true point guard transfer to its roster this offseason, Hoiberg made it seem like the Huskers were prepared to go forward with the players already on board.
Hoiberg said Dalano Banton, Trey McGowens, Kobe Webster, and even Briedenbach could all bring the ball up the floor. He said Banton had been playing very well prior to the month-long COVID-19 shutdown, but there was no question the time off “hurt him” in his development.
Whoever is running the point, Hoiberg said the Huskers had to improve their overall decision making on offense and take much better care of the ball next season.
***Hoiberg said some of the best news was that Nebraska would actually have a full offseason of workouts and practices to focus on that type of skill and fundamental work. He said because of COVID, NU had 46 less practices last year.
***Hoiberg said Nebraska would finally have continuity with on its roster for the first time since he’d been here. Hoiberg said the Huskers would return “almost 70 percent” of their production from a team that showed dramatic improvement at the end of last year.
***Hoiberg said new assistant coach Nate Loenser had hit the ground running over the past week, as he was already working with players individually. Hoiberg said Loenser was “so good all across the board” with “such a great presence to him.”
***Hoiberg said Doc Sadler would still be a huge part in what Nebraska does and how it played. Hoiberg pointed to last season and how Sadler still had a big impact even after he stopped traveling with the team and had limited practice interaction with players following the COVID pause.
***When the extended recruiting dead period is finally lifted on June 1, Hoiberg said Nebraska would beging getting recruits on campus for official and unofficial visits “almost immediately.”
***Hoiberg confirmed that Nebraska was still actively looking to add at least one more player to its 2021 class, but the Huskers also had the luxury of holding onto a scholarship or two.
***Hoiberg said Shamiel Stevenson was also weighing his options about whether to return to Nebraska next season or to pursue a professional career. Hoiberg said he was having regular conversations with Stevenson and would help him in his eventual decision as much as he could.