UCLA forward Berke Buyuktuncel transfers to Big Ten rival school ahead of 2024 season 

Former UCLA forward Berke Buyuktuncel joins Nebraska
Former UCLA forward Berke Buyuktuncel joins Nebraska (Instagram: @berkebuyuktuncel, @uclambb

The UCLA Bruins and Nebraska Cornhuskers have had a longstanding basketball rivalry within the Big Ten Conference. The Bruins recently lost a transfer player to their conference foe, as power forward Berke Buyuktuncel has officially joined the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Buyuktuncel's NIL agent Egemen Onen broke the news to ESPN on Tuesday that the Turkish wonderkid was set to join Nebraska for the upcoming 2024 season. Nebraska's head coach Fred Hoiberg later shared how excited he was to sign the 6-foot-9 elite forward to the team:

"Berke is a skilled forward who can impact the game on both ends of the court. He was one of the top international prospects coming into college last year and having a year of experience will benefit his development," Hoiberg said in a statement.
"His versatility makes him a natural fit for us. He is a high Q player who can initiate offense from the frontcourt position and can stretch defenses with his shooting ability.

Berke Buyuktuncel was highly regarded as one of the top players available in the NCAA transfer portal this summer.

Coach Fred Hoiberg is working hard to improve on their successful 2023-24 season, which was one of the best in the program's history. They made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade, and are looking to level up on that success, and adding a player like Berke Buyuktuncel certainly helps that cause.

The Huskers, having lost important forwards Josiah Allick and Rienk Mast, will be relying on Buyuktuncel to strengthen their frontcourt. He joins Andrew Morgan, a transfer from North Dakota State, and Braxton Meah, a transfer from Washington, to fill the gap left by the outgoing players.

Berke Buyuktuncel's UCLA career

Berke Buyuktuncel had one year of college basketball at UCLA in 2023-24. He committed to UCLA by signing the National Letter of Intent in August 2023.

Buyuktuncel played in 26 games for the Bruins last season, maintaining an average of 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in 16.3 minutes of playtime. His shooting accuracy was decent, hitting 38.5% from the field, 29.7% from 3-point range and 62.8% of his free throws.

Before playing for UCLA, Buyuktuncel played for Turkey in international basketball. In the 2022 FIBA U18 European Championship, he averaged 12.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.1 apg and 2.1 spg. In 2023, he represented Turkey in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup and played a key role in securing a third-place finish for his country.

What could Alabama basketball's 2024-25 starting lineup look like? Find out here

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