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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Keisei Tominaga Shines in the Spotlight in NCAA 3-Point Contests

Showman Keisei Tominaga won the men's 3-point shooting contest held during NCAA Final Four week and then beat the women's champ in Phoenix, Arizona.



Keisei Tominaga
Keisei Tominaga competes in the Hanes Originals Soft Touch Men's 3-Point Championship on Thursday, April 4, 2024, in Phoenix. (AP/via KYODO)

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For Keisei Tominaga, the NCAA Men's Tournament's Final Four week in Arizona offered the perfect locale to provide another glimpse of his basketball skills before a captive audience. 

NBA talent evaluators descend on the Final Four host city in droves each year, making Tominaga's outstanding display in a pair of 3-point shooting contests a fitting showcase.

Tominaga, who suited up for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers from 2021-24, was one of eight participants in the Hanes Originals Soft Touch Men's 3-Point Championship on Thursday, April 4 in Phoenix.

He had the top score in the opening round (25 points), two more than Ohio State's Jamison Battle. 

Then, in the four-man second round, Tominaga placed second with 24 points, trailing only Hofstra's Tyler Thomas (26) at the Phoenix Convention Center. To reach the final, Tominaga had to make his final shot of the round, and he was poised in the high-pressure moment. 

"Yeah, I knew that," Tominaga told ESPN in a post-event interview. "I kinda knew that, but I just tried my best to make my last shot."


Tominaga and Thomas advanced to the final round.

The final was an impressive exhibit of Tominaga's dynamic long-range shooting ability.

He knocked down 10 of 11 3-point shots in one dazzling display and went on to edge Thomas 19-16 to capture the title. All told, Tominaga sank 16 of 25 attempts in the final round. This included three bonus balls (worth two points apiece).

"Hey Husker nation, I just won the 3-point contest for you," Tominaga said, according to Kyodo News. "Thank you for supporting me. Go Big Red."

Keisei Tominaga
Keisei Tominaga displays his winner's prize after the men's 3-point contest. (AP/via KYODO)

Keisei Tominaga Claims Title in Battle of the Champions

After winning the men's event, Tominaga faced Indiana sharpshooter Sara Scalia in the Sketchers Battle of the Champions later on Thursday. And he secured a 20-16 win over the NCAA women's 3-point champion, nailing 5 of 6 down the stretch to seal the win.

On Friday, Tominaga was back in action, participating in the Reese's NABC College All-Star Game at State Farm Stadium in nearby Glendale.

Playing for the West All-Stars, coached by University of San Diego bench boss Steve Lavin, Tominaga had nine points and three rebounds in 14 minutes in an 87-75 win over the East All-Stars. It was another opportunity to demonstrate his abilities in a high-profile setting. 


After all, the zenith of the college basketball season is the Final Four, with the 2023-24 season champion being crowned on Monday, April 8.

Keisei Tominaga
Keisei Tominaga dribbles the ball in the Reese's NABC College All-Star Game on April 4 in Phoenix. (Courtesy of Nebraska Athletics)

The College All-Star Game featured 20 of the top senior players from NCAA Division I programs.

Keisei Tominaga Concludes College Career in NCAA Tournament

Tominaga, a Nagoya native, played his final official college basketball game on March 22 in the University of Nebraska's NCAA Tournament first-round loss to Texas A&M. He scored 21 points and sank five 3-pointers.

Even better, he helped lead the University of Nebraska men's basketball team (23-11 overall record) to its first NCAA Tournament berth in a decade.

Tominaga averaged 15.1 points per game as a senior in the 2023-24 season.

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Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven