First, let’s get this out of the way: it’s “Coh-yah-nets” as in “they’re gonna cut down those Kojenets at the end of the season!
7-footer in the house.— Nebraska Basketball (@HuskerHoops) July 28, 2021
Oleg Kojenets pic.twitter.com/HulB9zc7EB
Our preseason look over the Husker Hoops roster continues with the biggest player on the team. At 7 feet tall and 220 pounds as a true freshman, Oleg Kojenets immediately adds frontline depth and the type of sheer mass necessary to live in the upper half of the Big Ten standings.
Originally from Kaunas, Lithuania, Kojenets arrives in Lincoln having played a (Covid-shortened) nine-game high school senior season in Ohio, four games for a Lithuanian U18 team in a 2020 tournament, and five games for Lithuania at the 2019 FIBA U16 European Championships. In the two international competitions, Kojenets shot nearly 50% overall, and posted a double-double against Slovenia in the FIBA event with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Kojenets chose Nebraska over Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, and St. Mary’s, and is a 3-star recruit who was ranked in the top 100 nationally by 247Sports before his senior year.
UNC-Wilmington fans of a certain age may have a favorite player to cheer for on another team, as both of his parents played there in the late 90s. Aleh (6’11”), Oleg’s father, was part of the Seahawks’ 2000 NCAA Tournament team, and played professionally overseas for another ten years. Jurga (6’6”), Oleg’s mother, still holds the school record for blocks in a single game with 10.
Head Coach Fred Hoiberg expressed his excitement for adding Kojenets to the team shortly after his signing this past April: “I think Oleg has a lot of physical tools and is someone we think can develop in our program. He is a crafty player with good hands and the ability to score around the basket. Oleg has a natural feel for the game, as both his parents played at a high level. His combination of size, skill and basketball IQ is a great foundation to work with, as he begins his Husker career.”
How much of Kojenets will we see in 2021-22? We shall see – the season starts in just 95 days with the exhibition opener against Peru State on October 27.