The Nebraska Cornhuskers will once again have a roster with lots of turnover heading into the 2022-23 season. Overall, seven new faces join the squad on scholarship from last season’s roster. As the season quickly approaches, your dedicated Nebrasketball writers will begin the preseason coverage and today more or less kicks that off with highlighting the top-three incoming players in the class.
Nebrasketball is right around the corner— Of Bangarangs & Daggers (@BangsAndDags) August 27, 2022
One of the bigger pick-ups by Fred Hoiberg in the transfer portal during his time at the helm in Lincoln, Gary is a former four-star recruit hailing from South Carolina. He rated as the No. 93 overall player and No. 23 small forward in the 2019 class coming out of high school. Gary initially committed to Alabama, where he spent the past three seasons including a medical redshirt his first year (2019-20).
Gary started 16 games and played in 29 overall for Alabama last season, while playing in 30 games with two starts in the 2020-21 season. The 6-foot-6, 218-pound forward averaged 6.5 points and 3.4 rebounds over 15.5 minutes per game this past season and shot 51.4 percent from the floor. However, he managed just 22.0 percent from three-point range.
As a redshirt freshman, Gary averaged 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds over 9.4 minutes per game in 2020-21.
During his time with the Crimson Tide, Alabama qualified for the NCAA Tournament both seasons he saw the court. Alabama made the Sweet 16 in 2021 before falling to UCLA and fell to Notre Dame in the first round in 2022. Gary averaged 23 minutes in the 2021 tournament, earning a start against Maryland in the second round. He averaged 6.7 ppg and 5.3 rpg, including eight points against UCLA and seven rebounds against Maryland. Against Notre Dame in 2022, Gary played 23 minutes, adding 10 points, four rebounds, and two steals.
Hailing from Mali, Blaise Keita arrives in Lincoln this fall as the No. 1 JuCo propsect in the 2022 class. A 6-foot-10, 235-pound center, Keita helped lead Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College to a national title in 2021. That title run included a 27-point performance along with nine rebounds in the title game, and followed a double-double final four performance in which he scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
This past season, Keita averaged 12.8 ppg, third best on the team, along with 9.8 rpg, 1.1 spg, and 0.6 bpg. Keita will have a big jump from the JuCo level to the Big Ten, but he should be a helpful presence down low to assist Derrick Walker at center.
Ramel Lloyd Jr.
Lloyd arrives in Lincoln as a four-star prospect from California and one of the top-seven incoming freshman in the Big Ten based on recruiting projections. Checking in at 6-foot-6 and 190 pounds, he is one of the top shooting guard prospects in the 2022 class. Fellow Big Ten programs Illinois and Rutgers both made offers to Lloyd, as did Arkansas, Georgetown, Oregon, Arizona State, Baylor, Dayton, DePaul, Kansas, LSU, Oklahoma, and St. John’s.
While Rivals is a bit less high on Lloyd, he overall should be a promising addition to the team. While the wins have failed to materialize for Hoiberg teams even worse than Frost led teams on the gridiron, Lloyd is a great example of the type of talent the Husker program was rarely in contention for over the past few decades.
Lloyd is also the son of former Syracuse basketball player Ramel “Rock’’ Lloyd, who played for the Orange in the 1996-1997 season before transferring to Long Beach State.