Huskers Add Lithuanian Big Man to Roster
Lincoln – The Nebraska basketball program added more size to its highly-rated recruiting class with the signing of Oleg Kojenets (pronounced Oh-leg Co-yah-nets) to a National Letter-of-Intent on Wednesday, April 14.
Kojenets, a 7-foot, 220-pound forward from Kaunas, Lithuania, is a three-star recruit by both 247Sports and Rivals and was ranked in the top-100 nationally by 247Sports prior to his senior season. He is currently ranked among the top-200 players nationally, and the No. 25 center nationally, in the 247Sports Composite.
For Nebraska Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg, Kojenets provides the Huskers size and a low-post presence with a skillset that blends in with the Huskers' other returning interior players.
"I think Oleg has a lot of physical tools and is someone we think can develop in our program." Hoiberg said. "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. He is in the U-18 national pool in Lithuania and played for the U-16 team at the European Championships in 2019. His combination of size, skill and basketball IQ is a great foundation to work with, as he begins his Husker career."
Kojenets spent his senior year at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio, as the team played just nine games in a COVID-shortened season. Prior to coming to the United States for his senior season, he played for Zalgiris Kaunas' U-18 team at the 2020 adidas Next Generation Tournament, averaging 6.8 points on 50 percent shooting and 4.0 rebounds per game as the team finished with a 3-1 mark. He also represented his country at the 2019 FIBA U16 European Championships in Udine, Italy. In that event, Kojenets averaged 9.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game while shooting 49 percent from the field. He reached double figures in three of the five games of the tournament, including a double-double (12 points 10 rebounds, 3 blocks) against Slovenia in the group phrase. He chose Nebraska over Saint Mary's, Georgia Tech and Seton Hall.
He comes from a basketball family, as both parents played collegiately at UNC Wilmington. His father, Aleh, was a 6-foot-11 center who played in 114 games during his four-year career at the school and helped the program reach the NCAA Tournament as a senior in 2000. After college, he played professionally oversees for more than a decade. His mother, Jurga, was a 6-foot-6 center who still ranks third in school record books in both blocks in a season (71, 1998-99) and career (122, 1997-2000). She also holds the school record with 10 blocked shots in a game at UNC Wilmington.