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Nebrasketball: Commit Blaise Keita Leads Team to NJCAA Title, Now Ranked a 4-Star

A game and career high scoring performance by Keita powered Coffeyville to the national title and raised his recruiting profile to a four-star prospect

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 25 Nebraska at Illinois Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Nebraska Cornhusker’s 2022 roster will feature a now four-star junior college recruit with a national junior college title to his name. All-tournament center Blaise Keita led his Coffeyville Red Ravens to a NJCAA title.

Keita, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound center who will remain in junior college through next season before joining the Huskers in the fall 2022, helped deliver Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College a national title Saturday night with his game-high 27 points and also added nine rebounds. Rivals updated his recruiting profile following his performance to a four-star prospect.

The title game was a De facto Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (East) showdown, with the Red Ravens defeating conference foe Cowley County Community College on Saturday 108-99 for the NJCAA Men’s Division I Championship. Perhaps most impressive is Coffeyville was a 10th seed, and had to make a comeback down more than 20 to the top seed Mineral Area earlier in the tournament to help advance to their first title game since the 2001-02 season.

Keita was on fire Saturday night, hitting 13-of-16 in the low post. He fouled out as his team held of a late rally from Cowley. With 1:33 left in regulation, Cowley’s Kobe Campbell nailed a tough layup to cut it to a one-possession game, down just 100-97. However, the Red Ravens finished strong for the title.

Keita’s scoring performance came right after he notched a double-double in his team’s Final Four win. He scored 11 points and 11 rebounds in that one.

Keita averaged 10 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game during the season.

Keita is a native of Mali and picked UNL after they showed interest in the big man long before any other schools caught wind of him. Keita completed a post-graduate year at Wichita’s famed Sunrise Christian Academy but failed to academically qualify for the NCAA.

Nebraska reportedly fought off interest from Minnesota early on and beat other programs such as Baylor and Kansas before they could make any inroads. Overall, Keita received offers from Nebraska, Arizona State, Baylor, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, and Tennessee.

Keita can sign with Nebraska this fall during the early signing period. When he arrives in Lincoln in the summer of 2022, the Huskers will know whether current starting center Derrick Walker will stick around for a sixth-year “super senior” season or not. In addition, Nebraska will have two more posts — Eduardo Andre, a freshman this past season, and Oleg Kojenets, an incoming freshmen for 2021-22 — in the mix as well. Add in four-star, versatile big man Wilhelm Breidenbach who can play a variety of positions, and the Huskers look to have a number of quality options in the front court in the years ahead.

This article was updated on Sunday, April 25 at 7 p.m. EDT to reflect Keita’s recruiting profile change.