|Hometown:||Auckland, New Zealand|
|High School:||Westlake Boys|
Honors & Awards
- New Zealand National Team (2014)
- Three-time Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll
After playing a supporting role for most of his first two seasons, junior guard Tai (pronounced Tie) Webster will be counted on as one of the veterans of a young Husker squad. The 6-foot-4 guard has appeared in 62 games for the Huskers, and found his niche as a sparkplug off the bench during the second half of the 2014-15 season. In that role, he routinely took on the opposition's top scorer while giving the Husker bench a scoring boost. He had six games of at least five points in that stretch, including a 13-point effort in the win over Michigan State. His confidence showed in his 3-point shooting, as he connected on 35 percent from long range in his last 13 games off the bench.
With a summer of training in Lincoln, Webster showed signs of a potential breakthrough in Spain, as he averaged 11.8 points per game to rank third on the team in scoring, and played with more poise than anytime during his first two seasons at NU.
2015 (Spain Trip)
Webster was one of the Huskers' most consistent performers on the trip to Spain, averaging 11.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. He reached double figures three times, including 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the win over Eurocolegio Casvi.
Webster emerged as one of the first Huskers off the bench, backing up All-Big Ten performers Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields. He played in 30 games, averaging 3.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in 18.4 minutes per game. In all, he had three games in double figures, including a pair of 13-point efforts, and led NU in assists on five occasions in 2014-15. Webster, who fell out of the rotation early in Big Ten play, found a role as NU’s energy guy off the bench and his improved defense showed in other facets of his game. In his final 13 appearances off the bench, he shot nearly 40 percent from the field, including 35 percent from 3-point range, and had a 1.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Webster got off to a slow start in Big Ten play, totaling just five points and playing just 27 minutes during NU’s first five conference games before earning an opportunity against Minnesota on Jan. 20. In that game, he helped limit Andre Hollins to just 2-of-10 shooting in the second half of Nebraska’s 52-49 win. Webster built off that performance with his best game of the season, scoring 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, going 7-of-8 from the line, and adding three rebounds and a pair of steals in 28 minutes to key a 79-77 win over Michigan State on Jan. 24. He nearly keyed a comeback at Penn State, totaling five points and four steals as NU whittled a 20-point second-half deficit to three before falling, as he had five points off the bench in four consecutive games. In all, he scored at least three points in nine of his last 11 contests.
Webster started NU’s first three games before moving to the bench to give the Huskers more scoring punch. He reached double figures in two of NU’s first four games, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and recording four steals against Central Arkansas. He keyed NU’s win over Omaha with 10 points and a season-high four assists in 28 minutes off the bench. It was one of four games in non-conference action where he scored at least seven points off the bench. Webster’s biggest contributions in non-conference action came in the double overtime win over Cincinnati on Dec. 13, when he scored all nine of his points in the second half and the two overtimes. His hustle play and offensive rebound with 1:18 left in the second OT led to Benny Parker’s game-winning basket against the Bearcats. Webster also had seven points off the bench against Tennessee-Martin and Incarnate Word.
Webster competed for New Zealand's Senior National Team, including the FIBA World Cup in Spain, helping his team to the round of 16. He averaged 5.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game despite being the fourth-youngest player in the tournament. Webster had eight points, seven rebounds and three assists in a win over the Ukraine and added seven points and five rebounds against Turkey. Against Team USA he had four points and a pair of blocked shots in 15 minutes against the eventual gold medalists.
Webster was an immediate contributor for the Huskers as a true freshman, averaging 3.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in helping the Huskers reach the NCAA Tournament. He led NU with 63 assists and also was among the team leaders in steals. Webster reached double figures four times, including a season-high 14 points against Georgia, and paced the squad in assists eight times.
In Big Ten play, Webster started all 18 games, as he split time with Benny Parker during the second half of the season. He averaged just 2.6 points per game in conference play, but helped the Huskers in other areas as he was second on the team in assists (31) and fourth in steals (13) while hitting 73 percent from the foul line after entering Big Ten play at 56 percent. He enjoyed his best effort in conference play against Penn State on Feb. 23, totaling 10 points, a season-high five rebounds and a team-best three assists. It marked his first double-digit effort in Big Ten play, as he went 8-of-10 from the line against the Nittany Lions. Webster also performed well in NU’s win over No. 18 Ohio State with nine points, including 5-of-6 from the foul line, and two rebounds. Webster had five points and four assists in 29 minutes in the win over Minnesota on Jan. 26 and had four points, two assists and two steals against Indiana on Jan. 30. He dished out four assists and matched his personal best with four steals at No. 22 Iowa on Dec. 31.
In his collegiate debut, Webster totaled nine points, two rebounds and an assist in helping the Huskers to a 79-55 win over Florida Gulf Coast. He reached double figures for the first time in his young career against South Carolina State on Nov. 17, totaling 13 points, four rebounds and two assists. He had 12 points and two assists in a loss to UMass on Nov. 22, before enjoying the best game of his career on Nov. 24 against Georgia. In that game, he came off the bench to score 14 points and dish out three assists in NU’s 73-65 win. Webster scored 13 of his points in the second half and went 7-of-9 from the foul line. The Georgia game began a five-game stretch where he averaged 4.2 assists per game, dishing out five dimes against Miami, Creighton and Arkansas State.
Webster has enjoyed a decorated career on the international stage, as well as in his native New Zealand. After graduating from Westlake Boys High School, Webster played for the Waikato Pistons in the National Basketball League in New Zealand in 2012-13, averaging 18.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game despite being the youngest player in the league. In his final year in school, Webster led the Westlake Boys High School and Coach Ben Eves to the National Secondary Schools Basketball Championships in October of 2012, scoring 24 points en route to garnering tournament MVP honors.
Much of Webster's acclaim was on the national and international stage, as he was selected for the New Zealand team at 17 years old. He made his national team debut in 2012, leading the Tall Blacks in scoring three times in six contests in his first senior national team action. He averaged 13.5 points per game in the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, while shooting 52.5 percent from the field. His 21 points led all scorers in a win over Angola, as he went 7-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range. He topped New Zealand in scoring in pretournament competition against both Olympic qualifier Brazil (eight) and Greece (18). He also won a gold medal at the inaugural FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship in Italy in 2011. In addition to his basketball exploits, he also played volleyball at Westlake Boys High School.
Webster selected Nebraska over Pittsburgh, Virginia, Wake Forest, St. Mary’s, LSU and SMU. He was a four-star recruit by ESPN.com and one of the top point guards in the class of 2013.
Tai is the son of Cherry and Tony Webster and was born on May 29, 1995, in Auckland, New Zealand. He has one older brother, Corey, who was also a member of New Zealand's national team in 2014 and is in training camp with the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans. Tony Webster was a standout athlete in his own right, earning first team All-WAC honors at Hawaii in 1983 and ranking fourth on Hawaii’s career steals list before playing professionally in New Zealand. Tai majors in sociology at Nebraska.
Points: 14, vs Georgia -- 11/24/13
Rebounds: 5, Penn State -- 02/20/14 ; Creighton -- 12/07/14
Assists: 5, 5 times
Steals: 4, 5 times
Blocks: 1, 8 times
FG made: 5, Central Arkansas -- 11/18/14
FG attempts: 9, vs UMass -- 11/21/13 ; at Cincinnati -- 12/28/13
3FG made: 2, Michigan State -- 01/24/15
3FG attempts: 5, Northern Kentucky -- 11/16/14
FT made: 8, Penn State -- 02/20/14
FT attempts: 11, South Carolina State -- 11/17/13