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Nebraska's Tai Webster Returns Home To Play Basketball

Tai Webster Joined the New Zealand National Team for the fourth time.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past month or so one key player and the lone senior on the Nebraska men's basketball team, Tai Webster, has been absent from Nebraska basketball. While this may be concerning to some because he was missing key practice time, he was in a better place.  Where was this place exactly? He was halfway across the world playing basketball for the New Zealand Men's National Team.

For Webster, this was the best of both worlds. He got to play the game he loves in the country he was born in. His play overseas not only benefited himself, but also his teammates.  The experience of playing basketball at a high level, like he was able to, is an experience many athletes often do not get in college. Tai Webster has had experience playing for the National Team in the past and this experience for him was just as valuable as the others before.

As listed on his Nebraska bio, here are his highlights from the tournament. Webster represented New Zealand in the FIBA Olympic Tournament Qualifier in Manilla, playing in all three games to help New Zealand reach the semifinals. While overseas he:

• Averaged 16.3 points per game on 44 percent shooting and 9.7 rebounds per game despite being the youngest player on New Zealand’s 12-man roster.

• Ended tournament play among the top players in several categories, including second in rebounding, fifth in scoring and six in field goal percentage and assists.

• Totaled two double-doubles in the tournament, which tied for the most of anyone in the tournament, including a 25-point and 11 rebounds vs. the Philippines and 15 points and 10 rebounds in a semifinal loss to Canada.

This experience was important for Tai Webster to have. As the lone senior on Nebraska's roster next year, a lot is going to be asked of him.  With his added growth as a player from this summer, he can use what he learned and the experiences he had to help Nebraska on the court.

Tai Webster will be in contention to be a starting guard for the Huskers this year.  After the graduation of Shavon Shields and the departure of Andrew White III, Webster will be asked to do a lot for the Huskers on the court. In past years, Webster has seen a decrease in his scoring after returning from summer play in New Zealand.  This year, if he can increase his scoring numbers on the court, he'll have the opportunity to be a major threat on offense and defense.