|Hometown:||Auckland, New Zealand|
|High School:||Westlake Boys|
Honors & Awards
- New Zealand National Team (2014)
- Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2013; Spring 2014, 2015)
Tai (pronounced Tie) Webster emerged as one of the first Huskers off the bench, backing up All-Big Ten performer 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 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 and 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 in 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 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 for the first time since 1998. The 6-foot-4 guard 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. His season best was five assists on three occasions.
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. 17 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.
With his start against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 8, Webster became just the ninth true freshman to start a season opener in the last 18 years. Webster totaled nine points, two rebounds and an assist in helping the Huskers to a 79-55 win over an FGCU squad which reached the Sweet 16. 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 enjoyed a decorated career on the international stage, as well as in his native New Zealand. He was a four-star recruit by ESPN.com and one of the top point guards in the class of 2013.
After graduating from Westlake Boys High School last winter, Webster played for the Waikato Pistons in the National Basketball League in New Zealand. This spring, he averaged 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.
He also paced his North Harbour squad to the finals of the Under 19 Men’s Championship, where he scored 42 points in a one-point loss and was named to the all-tournament team in 2012.
Most of Webster's acclaim has been 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 competition on the senior national team. He averaged 13.5 points per game in the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, while shooting 52.5 percent from the field, including 62.5 percent from three-point range. 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 made his debut with the New Zealand team at 17 years old and 35 days, which was the youngest player to ever make the New Zealand National Team in a major world tournament (previous mark was 19 years and 299 days by former Wisconsin star Kirk Penny in the 2000 Sydney Olympics). 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, he also played volleyball at Westlake Boys High School.
Webster selected Nebraska over Pittsburgh, Virginia, Wake Forest, St. Mary’s, LSU and SMU.
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 is a member of New Zealand's national team. 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 has not declared a major 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