Adam Whitt — smart choice by Nevada baseball | NevadaAppeal.com

Adam Whitt — smart choice by Nevada baseball

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Adam Whitt is well on his way to securing his spot as the greatest relief pitcher in Nevada Wolf Pack baseball history. The Carson High graduate, who has 12 saves this year and 20 in his career, is just two saves away from setting the school record for one season and just five away from setting the career record. Whitt has a 1.08 earned run average this year and has struck out 30 while walking just four in 25 innings (19 games). He's appeared in 73 games in his career with a 3.09 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 104.2 innings. He has not allowed a home run over his last 21 appearances and has given up just three extra base hits this season. The 6-foot-3 right hander is as big a reason as any for the Pack's 28-9 record this year.

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New Wolf Pack men's basketball coach Eric Musselman, it seems, has set the Pack up for yet another hoops dynasty. The greatest coaching tree in school history from 1999-2015 produced Trent Johnson, Mark Fox and David Carter and gave the Pack 16 wonderful seasons. OK, in reality, it was four wonderful seasons, four very good seasons, two that were OK and six we won't mention ever gain. Get ready for another decade-plus of fun. Musselman added former Oregon State assistant Doug Stewart, former Cal State Northridge assistant Jay Morris as well as up-and-coming young coach Anthony Ruta to his staff recently. Stewart is an amazing hire. Nobody would have had any right to complain if he was named the Pack head coach last month. He's that accomplished. Morris, a Reggie Theus protégé, keeps alive the Pack's Southern California recruiting roots that had been cultivated so carefully by Carter. And Ruta, who comes from Arizona State where he worked with Musselman, is going to bring a wealth of energy and youthful passion to the entire operation. Musselman has been on the job less than a month and is already establishing the foundation for a lasting winner at Nevada just like Johnson did in 1999.

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Luke Babbitt is heading to the NBA playoffs with the New Orleans Pelicans. The former Galena High and Wolf Pack star, if he actually steps on the floor, is going to become just the eighth former Pack player to appear in a NBA playoff game after Johnny High, Edgar Jones, Armon Johnson, Ramon Sessions, Kirk Snyder, JaVale McGee and David Wood. Babbitt revitalized his NBA career this year, playing in 63 games with 19 starts and connecting on 51 percent (59-of-115) of his 3-point shots.

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First-round NBA playoff predictions: Golden State over New Orleans, Toronto over Washington, Chicago over Milwaukee, Houston over Dallas, Cleveland over Boston, Memphis over Portland, San Antonio over the Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta over Brooklyn.

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The NBA, if it wants the nation to actually pay attention, needs LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals, preferably against the San Antonio Spurs. This is a NBA playoff season that doesn't include some of the league's markets like Miami, Los Angeles (Lakers), New York (Knicks), Utah, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Detroit and Indiana. Few teams in the playoffs this year have a national appeal outside of Cleveland, San Antonio, Chicago and Boston. And Boston will be out in four or five games and Chicago will be out when Derrick Rose blows his knee out again. The NBA isn't like college basketball where fake fans root for teams in their bracket without even knowing the players or the school's nickname. The NBA needs drama and story lines. LeBron and the Spurs will give that and more.

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The Oakland A's are 5-5 after 10 games and, well, it just might be the strangest 10 games of the entire season. The A's outscored the opposition 42-1 in their five victories with four shutouts and were outscored 32-14 in their five losses. The best hitters on the team right now are Sam Fuld (.361), Billy Butler (.359), Ike Davis (.333) and Mark Canha (.324). It's not exactly reminiscent of Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Bert Campaneris and Sal Bando. Don't be shocked if Fuld, Butler, Canha and Davis are hitting 100 points or more less by the end of the year. Nobody on the team has a save. Shortstop Marcus Semien is on pace to commit 50 errors and drive in 128 runs. In other words, the first 10 games taught us nothing about this A's team.

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The Mountain West Conference announced this week 11 of its football games will be played on Fridays this season. Fortunately for Pack fans, none of those 11 games will be at Mackay Stadium. The Pack will make one appearance on Friday but it will be at Fresno State on Nov. 5. Boise State, the king of Friday night programming, plays five Friday games. Friday nights should belong to high school football. College football, which would play its games at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday if ESPN needed programming, should respect high school football and its athletes and stay away from Friday. But the only thing college sports respects these days is the almighty dollar.

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It's all well and goodthe Reno Aces play the Wolf Pack every April in a charity exhibition that benefits the Pack baseball program but it's time the Aces go a step further. The Aces should play the Arizona Diamondbacks at Aces Ballpark every year. Other major league organizations play a game at their Triple-A ballpark. Why not the Diamondbacks? It would be a great way for the Diamondbacks organization to connect with the northern Nevada community and show it cares about the area. Aces fans have done an amazing job of supporting the team for the past six seasons and it's time the Diamondbacks reward that support. They could donate all the ticket sale from an Aces-Diamondbacks game to northern Nevada high school baseball programs.

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