Nebraska basketball's golden opportunity: NU trying to lure two Gophers

Nebraska Basketball aims to bolster its roster with talented Golden Gophers transfers. Can they secure not one but two Minnesota transfers?
Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Pharrel Payne (21) goes in for a dunk
Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Pharrel Payne (21) goes in for a dunk / Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY

As the Nebraska basketball team attempts to rebuild its roster after six departures to the transfer portal, just where the Huskers are having some success is starting to take shape. Some of the guys that the Huskers have had success with aren’t remotely surprising.

For instance, the fact that the Cornhuskers are in Frankie Fidler’s final four shouldn’t really be a shock at all, considering he’s from Omaha. That the Nebraska basketball team is reportedly making some serious headway for not one, but two former Minnesota Golden Gophers should raise some eyebrows though.

It’s also interesting because should the Cornhuskers manage to land both of Pharrel Payne and Joshua Ola-Joseph, it would mean that Fred Hoiberg was able to pull away two very talented big man away from a team that appears to be on the come-up.

If the Nebraska basketball team is closer to landing one of the two, it appears that it would be Ola-Joseph. Robin Washut reported on Saturday that the sophomore forward hosted Fred Hoiberg for an in-home visit this past week and is looking to set up a trip to Lincoln in the not-too-distant future.

Ola-Joseph has appeared in 60 games and started 43 of them in his two seasons with Minnesota. He averaged 7.4 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per game. It’s clear he’s looking to go somewhere he can start game in and game out.

With the loss of Josiah Allick to graduation and the transfer of Blaise Keita, there is bound to be a decent chance that he can win a job.

Nebraska basketball looking to lure two Golden Gophers

Pharrel Payne is in a similar situation. He averaged 10 points and more than 5 rebounds per game while moving back and forth between bench player and starter. 

Those numbers include scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting with four boards and two blocks with a season-high 35 minutes in Minny’s  win over Nebraska basketball in December.

Payne was also visited by Hoiberg and while he hasn’t set a visit yet, it’s thought that he will be soon.