Nebraska lands Alabama transfer forward Juwan Gary
Nebraska's 2022-23 roster took further shape on Thursday, as Alabama transfer forward Juwan Gary announced his commitment to the Huskers.
The 6-foot-6, 218-pound junior-to-be will have two seasons of eligibility remaining at NU. A native of Columbia, S.C., Gary chose Nebraska over his hometown South Carolina.
Wake Forest, Ole Miss, DePaul, and Western Kentucky were the other programs he considered after leaving Alabama.
“Just the comfort I had up there with the coaches - Coach Fred (Hoiberg), Coach Adam (Howard), Coach (Armon) Gates, all those guys made me feel comfortable around them," Gary said.
"I’m a southern kid, and Nebraska is far away from home. So if someone can make me feel comfortable like that, there’s no doubt that they have my best interest and that’s the best fit for me.”
Gary averaged 6.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while averaging 15.6 minutes per contest last season as a sophomore. He started 16 of the 29 games he played and finished fourth on the team with 16 blocks.
His 2022 stats don't exactly jump off the page, especially not his 22.0-percent shooting from 3-point range or his 61.1% clip at the free-throw line.
But for his career, Gary shot 61.3% on 2-pointers and with an effective field goal percentage of 54.5%. He also owned an offensive rebounding rate of 12.7.
Gary said Hoiberg told him he would have an inside-out role at Nebraska as a stretch four, allowing him to operate on the perimeter on offense while also defending in the paint.
More than anything, Gary said the hallmark of his game was the energy he brought to the court, which made him a fan favorite during his time at Alabama.
“I’m the type of kid that came out of the gutter. That’s how I look at it," Gary said. "My energy, that’s all from the environment I come from. We never got spoon-fed anything. That’s the energy I try to bring to the court.
"I’m going to go out there, regardless if I score zero points or I score 40 points, at the end of the day, I’m giving 110 percent. If I win, it’s because of my effort. If I lose, it won’t be for lack of effort. Nobody is ever going to question my energy.”
The former four-star recruit out of Charlotte (N.C.) Liberty Heights was rated the No. 101 prospect and the No. 25 small forward in the 2019 class.
He originally chose Alabama over other offers from the likes of Clemson, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and UNLV.
When he went back on the market this spring, a pair of close connections to the program immediately drew Gary to Nebraska.
Crimson Tide assistant coach Charlie Henry spent two seasons on Hoiberg's staff with the Chicago Bulls. When Gary entered the transfer portal, Henry personally recommended NU as an option he should consider.
There were also his relationships with Husker players Trey and Bryce McGowens, who grew up playing against Gary in high school and AAU back in South Carolina. Gary said the McGowens raved to him about their time in Lincoln.
Asked what Nebraska fans could expect when he makes his Husker debut, Gary set a high bar.
“They haven’t ever seen a dude like me,” Gary said. “I told Coach (Hoiberg) that myself. No guy in the Big Ten is anywhere near Juwan Gary. Be prepared to make the NCAA Tournament this year.”
Gary's addition should shed some light on the status of Nebraska forward Lat Mayen, who has yet to officially announce whether he will use his additional year of eligibility next season.
With Mayen and Trey McGowens' decisions still pending, the Huskers are currently one over their 13-scholarship limit for 2022-23.