UNK MBB: Four Transfers Come Aboard


University of Nebraska Kearney Lopers logo.

Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska Kearney head men's basketball coach Marty Levinson announced today that four transfers will take to the courts for the Lopers this upcoming season.

They are guards River Johnston (North Platte), Elijah Knudsen (Mead, Colo.), Allen Taylor (Bradley, Ark.) and wing Kendrick Gilbert (Las Vegas, Nev.). These are UNK's first recruits for the 2024-25 season.  ​

Knudsen has two seasons of eligibility remaining after playing at RMAC-member Colorado Mesa with Taylor a grad transfer from Division II Academy of Art (Calif.). He also played for Levison at Southern Arkansas U. Tech. Next, Johnston spent his freshman season at NAIA Doane with Gilbert having two years left after being at the College of Southern Nevada and UNLV.

Johnston (6-2) was Doane's second leading scorer this past season, averaging 10.1 points a night while also supplying 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Averaging 26 minutes a night and appearing in 24 games (21 starts), he had 11 double digit efforts. Four of those came in a row in mid-January including a season-best 26 points in a win over Briar Cliff (Ia.).

"River comes from the historic basketball program at North Platte High which has produced former Lopers Nate and Jake Mohs, as well as 2003 NCAA Division II Player of the Year Nick Branting," said Levinson. "He is a transfer from Doane where he had a very successful freshman year."

Having 10 points, three steals, three boards and two assists in an exhibition game at Nebraska, Johnston was a Class A all-state pick at North Platte. He tallied over 1,300 points in his prep career and played for former Loper Matt Kaminski. 

"River brings ball skill, toughness, and a great feel for the game to our program and will remind fans of the local kids whose urgency and togetherness helped build the foundation that past Loper Basketball success grew from," said Levinson.

Knudsen (5-11) was one of Colorado's top Class 4A players over his final two prep years while playing for the Mead Mavericks. At Mesa, he was part of a program that was a combined 45-11 over the last two years, reaching the NCAA Tournament twice and winning two RMAC regular season titles.

 

"Elijah is one of the best shooters Colorado high school basketball has seen and will be adding to the history of a UNK program that has been built on shooting," said Levinson.

In 59 career games at CMU, Knudsen sunk 64 threes and averaged close to 12 minutes a night. He had five double digit efforts and had two games with six made threes. At Mead, Knudsen was the 2020-21 Class 4A Player of the Year, averaging just under 20 points per game. He averaged almost 19 as a senior and graduated with over 1,100 career points.

"Not only can Elijah shoot the ball, but he understands the game and will give us much needed ball handling and is a hardnosed competitor," said Levinson.

A 6-3 lefty, Taylor was a three-time All-Region selection for SAU Tech. Averaging nearly 20 points per game in his final season, he was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2023. The program won 58 games in his tenure, claiming two regular season and conference tourney titles and finishing seventh at the 2021 national tournament. At ArtU, he helped the Urban Knights go 20-9 this past winter, including a 15-5 mark in the Pacific West Conference.

"Allen is not only one of the best basketball players I have coached, he also is one of the best people I have ever been around on a regular basis," said Levinson.

Taylor appeared in all 29 games, with 12 starts, for ArtU and ranked second on the team in threes made with 40. He warmed up as the year went along, having seven double digit efforts in the final 13 games. That included a season-best 21 points in the finale vs. Azusa Pacific in the league tournament.

"He is going to bring leadership, character, athleticism, toughness, and scoring to our program and I cannot wait for our fans, the community, and our staff and students here at UNK to meet him," said Levinson.  ​

Gilbert (6-5) spent two years at Southern Nevada (Henderson, Nev.) after being a walk-on at UNLV during the 2020-21 season. He averaged 10.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists for the CSN Coyotes in 2022-23. Leading the team in field goal percentage (.613) and ranking third in scoring, he had four 20-point efforts with his season-best being 23 vs. Scottsdale C.C.

"Kendrick is a rangy defender and slasher who brings energy, toughness, and length to the Loper perimeter. I am excited about Kendrick's ability to impact winning in a lot of ways and he will be a big asset to our future success," said Levinson.

As a redshirt freshman for CSN, he started 16 times and averaged nearly one free throw per game. Prepping at Peoria (Ill.) and Durango (Las Vegas) High Schools, he helped Durango reach the state tournament for the first time in 17 years by having 16 points in a regional final win over Coronado. Finally, he comes from basketball family as his brother, Koray (Central Missouri) and Keshon (Iowa State), both played in college.

UNK will announce more newcomers in the coming weeks and months. 


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