Lituania wing Kristupas Keinys joins Gophers 2023 class

2023 (Klaipeda, Lituania) guard Kristupas Keinys committed to the Gophers Tuesday, filling their final open scholarship for the 2023-24 season.

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After adding Howard transfer Elijah Hawkins last month, the Gophers had one remaining open scholarship for the 2023-24 season. After keeping one open last season, there was no telling if they would do the same this time. About six weeks later, the Gophers added 19-year-old Lituania guard Kristupas Keinys who will come to Minnesota with four years of college eligibility. Listed at 6-foot-6, he averaged 7.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists last season for Klaipedos Neptunas-Akvaservis.

Who is Kristupas Keinys?:

Currently, 19 years old Kristupas Keinys has been playing for Klaipedos Neptunas-Akvaservis for the last two seasons. His team played in the Lituania NKL, which is the second-tier of professional basketball in the country, essentially acting as an academy system for players aged 17-22. In 27.1 minutes per game last season, he averaged 8.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. His season-high was a 19-point, 10-rebound performance in a late-season victory. His team struggled going 5-21 and finishing last place in the league. Last summer, Keinys played on the U18 Lithuanian National Team at the FIBA U18 Europe tournament. In seven games there, he averaged 16 minutes per game, 4.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.4 assists.

  • Scouting Report:

Listed at 6-foot-6, 184.8 pounds, Keinys has plenty of room to grow into his lengthy frame. Shooting 24.4% from the three-point line last season, he has room to improve as a shooter, but his 71.8% mark from the free throw line and good shooting form, make me believe that the potential is there. The biggest strength of the game is his versatility. His length and athleticism give him the ability to guard 1-4. I wouldn’t be surprised if he redshirts his first season in Minnesota, but he has intriguing long-term potential as an off-ball wing.


Instant Reaction:

Dipping into the international talent pool is something that Ben Johnson has not yet done as head coach of the Gophers. Given the circumstances of having one scholarship open and as many as 12 guys that could contribute in some capacity next season, adding a player like Kristupas Keinys is creative roster construction. If they were to have gone after another player in the portal, it would’ve been hard to convince him that there was any opportunity to contribute right away, which is typically what players transferring are looking for.

I would guess that there is a strong chance Keinys will redshirt in year one with the Gophers. I think he certainly has intriguing long-term potential to be a player that can contribute in the Big Ten, but I don’t necessarily believe the Gophers will next him next season. This would give him a chance to get used to living in the United States and going to American college, while he can continue to develop his game. Overall, it’s always good to get more talent into the gym and Keinys will provide that.

What is next?:

Keinys’ commitment gives the Gophers 13 scholarship players for 2023-24, and if everyone returns (who can) for the next season they will also have 13 for 2024-25. I think the young core that Ben Johnson is building has a lot of potential and Keinys will fit into that vision. Given the current college sports landscape we all know that it would be naive to expect the whole team to return next season, but there will be plenty of talent in the Gophers gym for the next few seasons.

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