Nevada transferring itself into contention in Mountain West
The Nevada Wolf Pack Men’s Basketball team had struggled mightily in the last few years under former head coach, David Carter, and they are now embarking on a new chapter for the program. Eric Musselman, an assistant on the LSU staff in 2014, has plenty of coaching experience in the NBA (career record 566-340). He was hired as the Nevada coach on March 26, 2015.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Nevada men’s basketball program, it had become a nationally recognized program behind the leadership of Trent Johnson and Mark Fox (Georgia HC). They made several runs in the NCAA Tournament and NIT, with their best appearance coming in 2004. They advanced to the Sweet 16 that year after a 72-66 victory over Michigan State, and a blowout win over Gonzaga 91-72, before losing to Georgia Tech.
After Musselman was named head coach for the Wolf Pack, the transfers began to flock to Nevada. We aren’t talking about no-name players, but rather ones that helped their now former teams and scored points for them. The players that have transferred to Nevada since Eric Musselman took over as coach are Leland King (Brown), Jordan Caroline (Southern Illinois), Marcus Marshall (Missouri State), and Shawn Smith (Marshall). Of these transfers, only Shawn Smith will be able to suit up for Nevada in 2015-16 due to NCAA transfer rules.
The Nevada Wolf Pack had struggled to put points on the board during the Carter-era, but Musselman is sure to enjoy using these transfers when they are eligible to play. Eric Musselman plans to install an up-tempo style of play, and the addition of these players will only help put points on the board. Along with these additions, he also has a stout player in AJ West (12.1 ppg, 11.03 rpg) who is set to return for his second season with Nevada. West tallied 178 offensive rebounds in 2014-15, and is a monster on the glass for the Wolf Pack.
As if this wasn’t enough good news for the Wolf Pack, they have also signed 6-4 point guard Lindsey Drew, who is the son of former NBA player and coach Larry Drew. Drew averaged 14.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 6.5 assists in his senior season at Fairfax HS. He has the size and skills to lead what should be a high-powered Nevada offense for the next few years.
The Nevada Wolf Pack look to be doing all that they can to reverse the three-year losing trend for the program, and Eric Musselman is a great hire as head coach. Look for Nevada to be high-flyers and run circles around their Mountain West opponents. To Nevada fans, the biggest game is against in-state rival UNLV, but they have been able to get several wins against them with mediocre teams. Can you imagine what Nevada will be able to do with all of the talent that is coming in under Musselman? It won’t be an easy task, especially with New Mexico signing 7-1 Serbian superstar Nikola Scekic, but the Mountain West should be fun to watch when November rolls around.
Are you surprised by the talent and transfers that Nevada has signed since Eric Musselman was named head coach? Will they have what it takes to win a Mountain West title and head back to the NCAA Tournament? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Dustin Brown covers the Nevada Wolf Pack and NCAAB for MFST, and you can follow him on Twitter @SprtsWritingMan.