SW Minnesota State vs. Nebraska, 12.29

Nebraska guard Thorir Thorbjarnarson (34) drives to the hoop past Southwest Minnesota State's Steven McNease (23) and Ryan Bruggeman (right) at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 29.

Nebraska men's basketball guard Thorir Thorbjarnarson, who just wrapped up his sophomore year with the Huskers, will be back next season, he told the Journal Star on Friday.

Thorbjarnarson spoke while at the airport preparing to head home to Iceland for the next few weeks.

He said he met with NU coach Fred Hoiberg this week, and "it went well."

"We were just talking about the player movement; the guys we've gotten into the team," Thorbjarnarson said. "And we were just talking about how my summer was going to be and when I was going to come back. It was just a good chat about next season."

Thorbjarnarson was one of three players, along with Amir Harris and Brady Heiman, who saw their names raised in a report earlier this week about additional attrition from the men's program. Heiman said Thursday he had indeed entered his name in the transfer portal.

Harris, who is in the middle of recovery from a meniscus injury suffered against Iowa in Nebraska's regular-season finale, told the Journal Star on Wednesday he plans to return as well. Several players met with Hoiberg this week. It is unclear whether Harris was one of those players. Harris didn't immediately return a message Friday asking if he had met with Hoiberg.

"My plan is to return to Nebraska. Start on my rehab and be back before workouts start," Harris said.

Thorbjarnarson will be back, too. He said Hoiberg gave him a strong message heading into the summer.

"Just keep working hard and you're going to get your shot," Thorbjarnarson said. "I think it's going to be a very competitive environment next season. We've got a bunch of new guys who are all trying to prove themselves. 

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"I think it's just going to be a fun environment to survive in."

Thorbjarnarson said his plan right now is to return to the United States on June 9, one day before the Huskers begin summer workouts. In the meantime, he's going through the selection process for Iceland's senior national team, which will compete in the 2019 Games of the Small States of Europe May 28-June 1 in Montenegro.

Thorbjarnarson played for Iceland's U-20 national team at the FIBA U-20 European Championships in July 2018, averaging 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

He also played for Iceland in the 2017 Small States of Europe event, helping Iceland to a third-place finish.

As Nebraska's roster dwindled late in the season, Thorbjarnarson responded as he saw his role increase exponentially. He blocked Jordan Bohannon's shot in the dying seconds of Nebraska's win over Iowa, and turned in solid performances in the Huskers' run in the Big Ten Tournament.

"I got to play through some unfortunate events because of other players going down, but I was just trying to stay focused and in the right mindset of being ready to play at all times," Thorbjarnarson said. "And I think I played all right at the end of the season on that little run we had, and I'm happy with myself for getting going a little bit.

"But now I just want to build on top of that and keep going."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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