Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Fred Hoiberg MBB vs Penn State

With the May 11 deadline for players to enter the transfer portal fast approaching, the Huskers have already added four players to their 2023-24 roster. The new additions to the roster should give the Huskers an improved, more versatile offense next year. While Nebraska did not land every prospect it targeted, losing out on several priority targets, the Huskers have still brought in some solid talent through the portal. We will be taking a look at each addition from the portal and what they should bring to the Huskers next season.

Junior guard Brice Williams

Willams is a 6-foot-7-inch shooting guard from Huntersville, North Carolina. The redshirt junior spent his last four years playing for the Charlotte 49ers. Williams received second-team All-Conference USA last season after receiving a medical redshirt following a knee injury from the year before. The 49ers shooting guard averaged 13.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and a little over one assist per game last season for the 49ers while shooting a little under 40% from distance and almost 48% from the field. The North Carolina native is a knockdown shooter, hitting around 41% from long range in his last two seasons on the court. Williams loves to shoot above the break on both the right and left sides of the arc. He also brings exceptional rebounding at his position with the ability to put the ball on the ground and get to the rim when defenses run him off the 3-point line. 

Williams is a candidate for the best addition of the offseason for Nebraska. The 6-foot-7-inch guard would have been an instant fit for any program to which he decided to go due to his ability to score with and without the ball in his hands. Williams is a sneaky athlete with a quick first step that should transfer over seamlessly into the Big Ten. The redshirt junior gives head coach Fred Hoiberg a versatile piece that he could either start and space the floor or bring off the bench to provide instant offense to the second unit. There’s a good chance Williams makes his way into the starting lineup permanently at some point next season. If he is able to hold up on the defensive end at the high major level, then it should be sooner rather than later.  

Junior forward Rienk Mast

Mast is a 6-foot-9-inch post player from the Netherlands, transferring to Nebraska from Bradley University. Mast averaged just under 14 points, eight rebounds and just under two-and-a-half assists per game for the Braves last season with over 51% shooting from the field. Mast is a rare mix between a stretch big and a more traditional post. The former 2017 FIBA European under-16 all-star scored a large number of his points at Bradley from the post, relying heavily on jump hooks and drop steps over both shoulders. Mast also has the ability to knock down spot-up threes when left open as he shot around 35% from downtown last year, which was a bounce back from his over 28% shooting performance from deep the previous season. Husker fans should expect him to shoot similarly to how he did last year as his freshman-year numbers teetered around 35% from the three as well.

Hoiberg has shown a tendency to value skills over size when it comes to bigs, preferring players that are switchable with the ability to make plays for their teammates. The forward’s ability to create plays should make him well-liked by Hoiberg. Mast is no Derrick Walker, who led the team at just under four assists per game last season. But, the junior forward has shown the ability to get his teammates involved, which should be enhanced in the Huskers’ offense. 

Junior guard Ahron Ulis

Ulis is a junior guard from Marian Catholic in Chicago. He will be transferring from Nebraska’s rival, Iowa, for his senior season. Ulis looks to be the Huskers’ answer at the guard position after Hoiberg’s staff missed out on several other guard transfers, such as former in-state players Latrell Wrightsell Jr., who chose the Crimson Tide over Nebraska, and Hunter Sallis, who ultimately picked Wake Forest after he visited the Huskers during the spring football game. Nebraska also hosted but lost out on two other lead guards — Javian McCoullum, who chose Oklahoma, and Kerr Kriisa, who is headed to West Virginia. 

Ulis is a good option for the Huskers, but his game does differ a bit from the guards mentioned earlier. The Chicago native is not as much of a scoring threat as the other players aforementioned, which may lead fans to the conclusion that he is a tier below those other guard prospects. However, a closer look at his numbers may point to a lack of opportunity being the cause for his current level of production. 

The former Hawkeye averaged about six points and two assists last season for Iowa in over 22 minutes per game. While his numbers are not jaw dropping, they are almost double his production from the year before. A point of reference for the potential of the junior guard could be his brother, Tyler Ulis, who played at Kentucky and for the Phoenix Suns in the NBA. The older Ulis averaged a little over five points in over 22 minutes per game as a freshman for the Wildcats, but the next year, when his minutes increased to around 36 minutes per game, his numbers skyrocketed to over 17 points and seven assists a game. Tyler Ulis is a better player than his brother at this stage in his career, and there is no guarantee that Ahron makes the same jump Tyler did. Still, more minutes and a role increase should surely bring up Ahron’s production. 

The Huskers can look forward to the Chicago native scoring consistently in the pick and roll as a ball handler and in the midrange off the dribble. He has an effective handle and a quick first step, allowing him to get to the rim on a regular basis. The biggest area of improvement that coach Hoiberg and staff will look for from Ulis is in his shooting and finishing ability. Ulis shot over 39% from the field and around 32% from distance at Iowa. Another positive is that he is used to playing in the Big Ten and should not need as big of an adjustment period as some of the other Nebraska transfers. 

Senior forward Josiah Allick

Allick is a 6-foot-8-inch fifth-year senior using his COVID-19 eligibility year to finish his collegiate career back in his hometown. Allick graduated from Lincoln North Star high school in 2019, averaging over 15 points and just under 10 rebounds per game his senior year. He started his collegiate career at the University of Missouri-Kansas City before transferring to the University of New Mexico. 

The former North Star Navigator is a relentless slasher who attacks the rim constantly. He is not a jump out of the gym athlete but is capable of surprising defenders with how quickly he can get off the floor, which leads to the occasional poster dunk. The Lincoln native averaged over eight points, about seven rebounds and a little over one assist last season for the Lobos, which is a slight dip in points compared to the two years previous but an improvement when it comes to crashing the glass. He also did this with a better team as the Lobos were ranked in the AP Top 25 for multiple weeks and reached the NIT. 

The senior forward has had a complicated shooting history, shooting a career-low 15.8% from the three last year. The slashing forward also shot over 25% from distance his freshman year, but in the two years after that, he showed massive improvement in that part of his game, shooting an average of over 35% in those consecutive years. Looking at Allick’s form, there is nothing glaringly wrong as his mechanics are fairly textbook, which, hopefully, is an indicator that last year may have been an aberration. The strides he made in shooting the ball the previous two years should be real. In any case, Husker fans should not look to him to be a deadeye shooter, but instead to make open spot-up attempts when left open by defenses that only look at last year's shooting numbers. 

With the deadline to pull your name out for the NBA draft being pushed back and the transfer portal being revamped a couple years ago, teams now have to wait longer for their rosters to be set. Coaches used to know around early May what their roster would look like; now, they may have to wait until mid to late May. In some cases, even waiting until early June to have their roster cemented. The Huskers are still awaiting a decision from senior guard Keisei Tominaga on whether or not he will keep his name in the NBA draft or possibly even head overseas. Regardless of what Tominaga decides to do, the Huskers will probably look to add one more wing. Should Tominaga keep his name in the draft, the Huskers could look to add another guard through the transfer portal.