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Coach Fred Hoiberg has big wins in 2024 transfer portal

Coach Fred Hoiberg has big wins in 2024 transfer portal

The transfer portal went all-in this season and the portal had immense talent and no team was immune to seeing star players enter the portal. In normal seasons, teams that win or make the NCAA Tournament usually wouldn’t have many portal entries, but this season that was all thrown out the window. However, Nebraska was a little different this year. The Huskers made the NCAA tournament for the first time in the past 10 seasons, and what came next was unexpected for many close to the program.

Nebraska is already set to lose stars Keisei Tominaga and Josiah Allick. Reserve Boogie Coleman was also a senior. The Huskers lost two players who were expected to leave in big man Blaise Keita and guard Ramel Lloyd Jr. Lloyd Jr. never saw a minute in two seasons at Nebraska. Then there were the unexpected losses of CJ Wilcher transferring to Texas A&M, Jamarques Lawrence transferring to Rhode Island, freshman Eli Rice transferring to Penn State, and promising big man Matar Diop transferring to Loyola Marymount.

As a result, coach Hoiberg was left with six scholarship players after the portal season. Fear not Husker fans though, as Coach Hoiberg was very active in the portal and was able to fill the roster with transfers that all fit perfectly with the needs the Huskers needed to address this offseason.

Nebraska lost a ton of shooting and added some big shooters to the portal. Wisconsin’s Conner Essegian is a knockdown shooter who was coming off a huge freshman season at Wisconsin before seeing a reduced role this past season. Gavin Griffiths is a transfer from Rutgers who has a very high ceiling and is a good shooter, even if his numbers didn’t support that last season. The Huskers did have some returning shooting tackles with Brice Williams and to a lesser extent Juwan Gary.

The biggest negative the Huskers had a season ago was their lack of a true point guard. Coach Hoiberg had former Iowa point guard Ahron Ulis on the roster as he is finally eligible to return from his suspension for betting on games while at Iowa. Hoiberg was able to find his starter in the transfer portal in grad transfer Rollie Worster from Utah. Even worse is a guy who is a pass-first point guard and is a stat sheet stuffer. He is a fantastic rebounder and can shoot enough to keep defenses honest. Worster doesn’t need to score to have an impact on the game and is a huge upgrade to the point guard position for coach Hoiberg. Worster is the best player Nebraska has had at the position under Hoiberg.

Then there’s the frontcourt, which was a huge force for Nebraska last year, except for one problem. Depth was a huge problem as the year progressed and it was evident in the postseason. The hits in the frontcourt kept coming, as earlier this month it was announced that star player Rienk Mast will miss the 2024-2025 season as he recovers from knee surgery. Never fear though, as Nebraska will still be able to play 5-out and has added great depth to the front court so their starters don’t have to play all the minutes.

Andrew Morgan was coach Hoiberg’s first addition to the transfer portal. Morgan is a big man from North Dakota State, a solid player who won’t be a star, but he’s good enough in the paint to score in double figures and he can hit threes at an efficient clip. Nebraska really lacked a defensive big man who could protect the rim and get a key rebound when they needed it. Nebraska got that with Braxton Meah, a big man transfer from Washington. Meah takes all his shots in the paint, many of them are dunks, he rebounds well and led the nation in field goals last year. The 7’1″ center probably won’t start, but he’s a good free throw shooter for a big man and will likely be a guy Nebraska will use to close out games when rebounding and defense become increasingly important.

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You can not ignore it. Losing Mast will hurt Nebraska a lot, but the current roster they have is still one that can grow into a tournament team. The roles will need to be defined and this will depend on how all the new pieces fit. The composition of the selection is a type of selection that coach Hoiberg has won with before and nothing says that this selection cannot win on paper. He has done a fantastic job meeting the team’s needs through the portal and almost all of them have a ton of experience at the college level. Could 2025 finally be the year the Huskers win an NCAA tournament game?