HUSKER MEN’S BASKETBALL: Four Players Sign With Nebraska During Fall Signing Period

LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Nov. 10)–Nebraska Men’s Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg announced the signings of Denim Dawson, Blaise Keita, Jamarques Lawrence and Ramel Lloyd Jr. to National Letters-of-Intent on Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period. The four-member group is rated among the top-35 classes nationally by Rivals and 247Sports and follows up a top-20 class the Huskers signed in 2021.

The 2022 class features one of the top junior college players in the country in Keita, who led Coffeyville Community College to a NJCAA title last spring and is ranked as one of the top three junior college players in the country by 247Sports. Lloyd is a top-150 recruit who plays for national power Sierra Canyon High School, which was recently tabbed No. 1 high school team in the country by Max Preps. Jamarques Lawrence plays at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, which is 15th nationally by Max Preps, while Denim Dawson is currently at Southern California Academy, but intends to enroll at Nebraska following the fall semester.

Player                               Pos.     Ht.          Wt.         Hometown (Last School)
Denim Dawson                 G/F       6-6         180        San Bernardino, Calif. (Southern California Academy)
Blaise Keita                      F          6-11       240        Bamako, Republic of Mali (Coffeyville CC)
Jamarques Lawrence       G          6-4         180        Plainfield, N.J. (Roselle Catholic)
Ramel Lloyd Jr.                G          6-6         190        Woodland Hills, Calif. (Sierra Canyon)

Denim Dawson
One of two California natives in the 2022 recruiting class, Denim Dawson is a 6-foot-6, 180-pound wing who currently attends Southern California Academy for a postgrad year. He is planning to reclassify and enroll at Nebraska following the conclusion of the fall semester and redshirt. Dawson is a three-star recruit by both Rivals and 247Sports, and he is rated just outside the top-250 recruits nationally by 247Sports. Last season, Dawson averaged 16 points and five rebounds per game for Orange Lutheran High School, which reached the Division 2AA CIF-SS quarterfinals last spring. Dawson, who shot close to 40 percent from 3-point range, was named Trinity League MVP in 2021. He was originally ranked No. 20 in Southern California in the 2020 class by Fullcourt Press. He played AAU ball with the California Stars. Dawson selected NU over a host of schools, including Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, DePaul, Pepperdine and Iona

Hoiberg on Dawson: “Denim is a powerful wing and tough competitor. He plays aggressively and brings a multi-level scoring presence to our system. With his size and frame, he has the ability to create mismatches and the potential to become a great two-way player. I’m really excited about Denim enrolling early to get acclimated with our system and get a chance to work with him immediately.”

Blaise Keita
Blaise Keita (prounounced KAY-tuh) is one of the nation’s top junior college players, as the 6-11, 240-pound center is in his second season at Coffeyville Community College. He is a four-star selection by Rivals and is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 3 junior college player in the 2022 recruiting class.  Keita led Coffeyville CC to a 26-3 record and the school’s first national title since 1962 last spring, averaging 10.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. The Jayhawk Conference Freshman of the Year and a second-team all-region pick, Keita shot 51 percent from the field, 73 percent from the foul line and totaled three double-doubles. His offensive production picked up during the school’s postseason run, as he averaged 14.8 ppg on 65 percent shooting, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game in five NJCAA Tournament games.  In the NJCAA championship game, Keita poured in a career-high 27 points on 13-of-16 shooting, and added nine rebounds and four blocks in Coffeyville’s 108-99 victory over Cowley County CC. He played at Sunrise (Kan.) Christian on their postgrad team and played AAU with MOKAN Elite. Keita also represented his country at the international level, playing for the Mali U-19 team at the 2017 FIBA World Cup, averaging 10.2 points and 10.3 rebounds in six games. He grabbed 10-or-more rebounds in three of the six games, including 17 caroms in the tournament opener. Keita chose Nebraska over a host of schools including Baylor, Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona State and Oklahoma State.

Hoiberg on Keita: “Blaise has dynamic physical tools, great size, athleticism, length and power to become a high-level big man in the Big Ten. His ability to score around the rim as well as being able to extend out and be a threat beyond the arc will make him a weapon within our offense. I know that with his experience at the junior college level, he possesses the knowledge and IQ that will make him an immediate impact to our program when he steps foot on campus.”

Jamarques Lawrence
Jamarques Lawrence signs with Nebraska as he begins his senior year playing for Coach Dave Boff at Roselle Catholic High School. The school is ranked No. 15 nationally in the preseason Max Preps Top 25 released earlier this month. He is a three-star recruit by Rivals and 247Sports, which ranked him No. 232 nationally in the class of 2022. As a junior, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard averaged 13.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game as Roselle Catholic posted a 15-3 mark in a shortened season. He finished in double figures in 10 of 15 contests, including a 23-point effort against the Patrick School. Lawrence had four-or-more 3-pointers five times, including one game with six 3-pointers. Lawrence, who spent his first two seasons at Plainfield High School, averaged 20.3 ppg as a sophomore, including 81 3-pointers. He begins his final high school campaign needing 16 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Lawrence played AAU hoops for the NY Jayhawks and chose Nebraska over Wake Forest.

Hoiberg on Lawrence: “Jamarques is an elite shooter who understands the game at a very high level. His length and strong body will make him an intimidating guard to play against. Jamarques’s threat as a shooter and as a scorer will give us the ability to put him in positions within our system that will help elevate his overall potential, production, and success.”

Ramel Lloyd Jr.
Ramel Lloyd Jr. comes to Nebraska from national power Sierra Canyon High School. A four-star recruit by ESPN, Lloyd is the No. 8 prospect in the state by ESPN, while he was a top-150 recruit by 247 Sports. A three-star recruit by both Rivals and 247Sports, Lloyd’s Sierra Canyon team is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the preseason Max Preps Top 25 released earlier this month. Lloyd is one of three power conference signees for Coach Andre Chevalier at Sierra Canyon. Last season, Lloyd averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game as Sierra Canyon went 15-2 and lost in the Southern Section Open Division Finals. Lloyd spent his sophomore season at Taft High School, averaging 21.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in 2019-20 while winning West Valley League Co-MVP honors. Lloyd selected Nebraska over Arkansas, Oregon, Arizona State and Georgetown. His father, Ramel Lloyd Sr., played at both Syracuse and Long Beach State, where he averaged 19.4 ppg as a senior to earn first-team All-Big West honors, before enjoying a professional career for a decade.

Hoiberg on Lloyd: “Ramel has a combination of length, athleticism and an overall elite skill set that will help him flourish in this conference. The competition he faced in high school makes him more than ready to compete at a high level. His ability to use his size and versatility to create plays for himself and for others will make him an important piece to our program and our success moving forward.”