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NBA Draft - What Is the Chance of Huskers' Ace Keisei Tominaga Joining NBA?

While the NBA playoffs for the 2023-24 season are in their final stretch, there are many teams who have already shifted their focus on their rosters and strategies for the upcoming season. Especially for the teams that struggled during the season, this summer's draft is an important opportunity to revitalize the team and start the new season fresh.

The Atlanta Hawks would be one of such teams who would want to use this chance wisely as the team won the first overall pick for the NBA Draft Lottery held in Chicago on May 12th. The Hawks is followed by the Wizards and Rockets.

For many seniors who played in the NCAA this year, this draft will be their "moment of truth" as their first step in their pro basketball career in the NBA, and one player who this year’s draft means the most for is a U of Nebraska senior, Keisei Tominaga.

What Will This Year’s NBA Draft Look Like Anyway?

Fans of the Japan-native Tominaga are of course watching the 23-year-old with interest and anticipation in this country, and the draft will be held on June 26 and 27. As of now, Tominaga’s name does not appear on the odds list of players to be drafted in the NBA by basketball bookmakers in Japan.

Two Europeans, Zaccharie Risacher and Alexandre Sarr, are considered the favorites for the first pick in the draft, followed by Donovan Clingan, Cody Williams, and others. In the absence of an absolute number 1 pick this season, Tominaga's physique of 188 cm may make it difficult for him to be the top pick in the NBA Draft, despite his notable accomplishments. However, there are countless players in the history of the NBA who have overturned the height barrier with their skills.

Taking the NCAA By Storm With 3 Point Contest Win

Tominaga played for the University of Nebraska from the 21-22 season and established himself as an ace during the regular season of 23-24, helping the team advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade.

Unfortunately, the Huskers lost in the quarterfinals, their first game in the conference tournament, he had managed to make a strong impression on himself as a skilled shooter, and he went on to compete in the NCAA 3-point contest, which he won with flying colors. All this ultimately allowed his name to be heard across the country.

Will Tominaga Be the 4th Japanese Player in NBA History?

The shooting guard has long had his sights set on playing in the NBA as his ultimate goal. He made an early entry into the 2023 NBA Draft and worked out with the Indiana Pacers on May 30 of that year. However, on the following day, he withdrew his Early Entry, so this season, his final year at Nebraska as a senior, will be his first chance to achieve that goal of playing in the NBA

. Meanwhile, in April, it was announced that Memphis Grizzlies’ Yuta Watanabe, who played with the 2023 FIBA World Cup team and will also play with Tominaga for the Japanese National Team in the Paris Olympics this summer, will leave the NBA, where he played for six seasons and join the Japanese B-League.

If Tominaga makes it to the NBA, he will be the fourth Japanese player to appear in the NBA, joining Watanabe, Hachimura, and Tabuse who pioneered a path to the NBA and played for the Felix Suns in 2004.