Okay, still ready for some more preseason player previews? Here is one that I believe will give you some good insight.
He’s a transfer. Yeah, big surprise, I know.
He’s from another country. Again, big surprise.
He’s a guard. Yep, we have more of them.
The kicker on this young gentleman? He has three years playing experience!
The lad we are discussing today is graduate transfer Matej Kavas.
Now, say his name five times fast. Well, say his name five times period. Also, if someone knows how to properly say it, send me a mp3 so I can play it over and over so I don’t screw it up on the podcast.
So, Matej comes to Nebraska from Seattle University where he gained quality experience and accolades during his time on the court. He is a 6’8” guard who came to the United State to play basketball from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Oh yeah, also need to figure out how to properly pronounce his hometown (any help is welcome).
He came to Seattle and sat out his first year with a knee injury he suffered during the summer. This injury did not seem to slow him down and he came back strong the following year. That first year he played for the Redhawks Matej earned Western Athletic Conference freshman of the year honors. He averaged 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. That points per game average went up to 11.6 once conference play started. Helping him cement his first year on the court as one of the leagues top players.
Matej’s sophomore year was another progressive step in his development. He averaged 15.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game and was second team All WAC. His three point shooting went from .404 his freshman year to .474 while averaging 3.2 threes per game. Both of which lead the conference.
His junior year at Seattle Matej suffered a shin injury in January of ‘19 and only played in 24 games all season. The injury took him out almost six weeks. However, he averaged 10.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game on the year. Not a terrible downturn in production from one of the schools top players. Most of this production came early in the season and when he came back he was limited in most games after the injury.
All in all, Matej is a very nice get for Hoiberg and this team. While Nebraska only has him for one year the experience and leadership he brings will be huge as the season goes on. I would not expect the production he had in Seattle to transfer over due to the upgrade in competition he will see in Lincoln.
Also, you never know what long term issues he could still have from his shin injury from last year. He seems to be fine but problems could creep up as the season wears on.
His 3 point production will bode well for Hoiberg’s offense as he likes his team to shoot a lot and from beyond the arch. As for his defense, I would expect Doc to put pressure on him to improve as he will be going up against bigger, stronger, and more athletic players as the season will go on. As stated above, more so than he saw out west in Seattle.