Huskers land top 2022 JUCO big man Blaise Keita
Hours after pulling off its first Big Ten Conference win of the season at Penn State, Nebraska secured its first commitment of the 2022 class.
Blaise Keita, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward/center at junior college powerhouse Coffeyville (Kan.) C.C. announced his pledge to the Huskers on Monday morning.
He chose NU over other offers from Baylor, Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona State, and Oklahoma State.
"Nebraska recruited me for the past five or six months, and I decided to commit today because they showed me it was a great situation there," Keita told HuskerOnline.com.
"I chose Nebraska because I will have opportunities to play. I love Fred (Hoiberg) and Matt (Abdelmassih), and they recruited the hardest."
A 21-year-old native of Mali, Africa, who attended Sunrise Christian (Kan.) Academy, Keita is averaging 12.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game for Coffeyville this season.
He's started all eight games for the Red Ravens, which are currently fifth in the NJCAA rankings, but has played a modest 24.3 minutes per contest. That's because Coffeyville's 8-0 start has come at a 24-point average margin of victory.
Keita, who boasts a 7-foot-1 wingspan, had 17 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and a steal in his most recent outing against Northwest Kansas Technical Institute. He also scored a season-high 20 points with eight boards and two blocks in a win over Seward (Kan.) County.
It should be noted that not only is Keita shooting 55.6 percent from the field, but he's also hitting 75.0 percent at the free-throw line (27-of-36) attempts this season.
"My biggest strengths on the court in the post, rebounding, and my jump shot," Keita said. "I want to bring energy on the court every game."
Keita was a three-star prospect at Sunrise Christian in 2019 and had brief interest from Kansas, Georgetown, Cincinnati, and Virginia Tech. But schools quickly backed off recruiting him when it became clear he would not qualify academically out of high school.
After averaging a double-double for the Mali national team at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championships, Rivals.com wrote this about Keita after seeing him in action with his MoKan Elite AAU program:
"He's a true center who clears out space in the lane, hands out some tough fouls from time to time, and does what he can to protect the rim. Essentially, he's coming to understand -- and this isn't easy for young bigs to do -- how simply being big and playing big can have a huge impact on both ends of the floor.
"Keita is getting more active on the glass, looks more comfortable when he gets the ball, and given his size and the trajectory of his improvement, high-majors are going to start taking serious interest in him."
As Nebraska's roster currently stands, the Huskers now have four available scholarships remaining in the 2022 class.