Kiwi hoops fans may soon have a second homegrown NBA player to cheer for, if whispers from the draft build-up are to be believed.

Tall Blacks point guard Tai Webster - younger brother of former NZ Breakers star Corey Webster and son of former NBL star Tony Webster - has just left University of Nebraska and is being touted as a potential second-round sleeper, when the game's best talent goes up for grabs in June.

If Webster, 21, is chosen, he would join Oklahoma City Thunder centre Steven Adams in the big show, following in the footsteps of Sean Marks (1998-2011) and Kirk Penney (2003-05).

In his final year with the Cornhuskers, Webster averaged 17 points, 5.1 rebounds, four assists and 1.4 steals a game, but was even better against top competition.


Against UCLA, he went head-to-head with much-vaunted $1 billion prospect Lonzo Ball and overshadowed him. Webster compiled 19 points/seven assists/seven rebounds, while Ball had 13 points/seven assists/three rebounds before fouling out.

Against Kansas, ranked No 3 in the nation at season's end, Webster scored 22 points and had Jayhaks coach Bill Self in fits, trying to contain him.

"We couldn't guard him," Self told Omaha World Herald. "He got anywhere he wanted, and our big guys couldn't block or alter him."

Webster is regarded as a "glue guy", someone who can fill several roles within a rotation, depending on the need.

Helping his case is the performance of Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon, who also slipped to the second round of last year's draft, but has emerged as a surprise Rookie of the Year candidate, based on his 10.3 points/4.3 assists/2.8 rebounds/1.1 steals, while shooting 40 per cent from the three-point arc.

The Bucks have shocked many with their sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference, especially after injuries to key forwards Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker. Brogdon's emergence has certainly helped paper over the cracks and Webster is now being compared to him.

"I'm someone who's always going to bring it on both ends of the floor, but especially on the defensive end," Webster told HoopsHype website. "I love to defend, I've always been that way and it's kind of my niche.

"Throughout college, I got to guard the best players on the other teams, and I took it as a challenge and enjoyed it. Offensively, I think I do a good job creating for others and I can get my own shot when need be.

"But for the most part, I bring that defensive edge and bring a pace to the game."

Another of Webster's qualities - one that may still count against him - is experience. He first played for the New Zealand national team in 2012, as a 17-year-old, when he averaged 13.5 points and shot 52 per cent from the field at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Last year, still the youngest on the roster, he led the Tall Blacks in scoring (16.3 points) and rebounding (9.7), ranking behind only NBA forwards Dario Saric and Maurice Ndour on the boards.

Webster also played a small cameo part in the NZ Breakers' 2012 Australian NBL championship, before heading to the States.

Ironically, with the "one-and-done" mentality of many college freshmen, NBA scouts are often enticed more by the potential of younger prospects.

"I've played a lot of basketball for someone my age," said Webster. "It helped me a lot, especially when I was younger, just being able to play with the national team and go against top-notch competition."

Nebraska are not exactly a basketball powerhouse - they have only made the NCAA national tournament once (2014) since 1998, when their last NBA player - current Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue - entered the league.

Webster just may be their next and his journey begins this week at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Virginia.