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Hawaii men’s basketball lands power forward from Lithuania

STAR-ADVERTISER
                                Hawaii head coach Eran Ganot gestures from the sideline during the first half of a game against the UC Riverside Highlanders, in February 2023, in Honolulu. In the search for a multi-skilled power forward, the University of Hawaii basketball team found “Nemo.”
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STAR-ADVERTISER

Hawaii head coach Eran Ganot gestures from the sideline during the first half of a game against the UC Riverside Highlanders, in February 2023, in Honolulu. In the search for a multi-skilled power forward, the University of Hawaii basketball team found “Nemo.”

In the search for a multi-skilled power forward, the University of Hawaii basketball team found “Nemo.”

Gytis “Nemo” Nemeiksa, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward from Lithuania, has accepted a UH scholarship and will join the Rainbow Warriors next week for offseason training.

“I felt I got attention from the whole Hawaii staff,” said Nemeiksa, who is transferring after one season with Xavier University. “The presentation went really well. I like everything about Hawaii — the weather, the people there. The Hawaii basketball team feels like one big family.”

This past season, Nemeiksa played in 34 games for Xavier, starting 20. He scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds against Providence, which was led by the Big East Player of the Year Devin Carter. Nemeiksa had 10 points and five rebounds against two-time NCAA champion UConn.

Prior to Xavier, he attended Vytautus Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, but played as an amateur for the Zalgiris Kaunas club. He averaged 11.7 points (36.4% on 3s) and 6.1 rebounds in leading Zalgiris Kaunas to the 2023 NKL championship. He was named the 2023 Final Four’s most valuable player.

As an undersized wing through high school, he developed ball-handling and outside-shooting skills. He said he had a growth spurt when he was 17.

In joining Xavier last year, he said he wanted to experience the NCAA’s “high level of competition.” He praised his time at Xavier, noting, “the coaching staff was great, my teammates were great. … I think I grew up a lot through that year. I’m really thankful for that experience.”

But Nemeiksa said he entered the transfer portal to seek expanded playing time — an opportunity the ’Bows could offer. At the end of the 2023-24 season, posts Bernardo da Silva and Justin McKoy completed their UH eligibility. Mor Seck, a 7-foot-1 center who is recovering from an ACL injury, transferred to Fresno State.

The past spring, the ’Bows signed 6-10, 275-pound center Tanner Christensen, a transfer from Utah Tech, and point guard Marcus Greene of Houston Christian. Last November, the Bows signed guards Aaron Hunkin-Claytor and AJ Economou. Economou enrolled at UH in January and redshirted during the 2024 spring semester.

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