Nevada Wolf Pack basketball starts as the hunted | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Wolf Pack basketball starts as the hunted

RENO — The Nevada Wolf Pack men's basketball team opened practice for the 2017-18 season with a huge target on its back Friday.

That isn't a surprise after Nevada won the Mountain West regular season and postseason championships en route to compiling a 28-7 record and making the school's first NCAA appearance in 10 years.

"I feel there is a target on our back," swingman Jordan Caroline said in a pre-practice press conference. "Once you win, you want to stay at the top and everybody is out to get you. You can't stand still, you have to keep getting better."

Coach Eric Musselman said being a conference favorite won't change how he goes about getting his team ready for the Nov. 10 opener against Idaho at Lawlor Event Center.

"We know it's an added responsibility, and we are going to get people's best shot," Musselman said. "Years 1 and 2 we were underrated. We might be overrated now. We haven't done anything yet. We lost a lot of experience.

"The one thing we're excited about is we've gotten better during the season every year, and I think that will happen this year. Games 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 we're not going to have a finished product. We have to figure out roles and responsibilities. We have to recognize the go-to players."

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Replacing guys like Cameron Oliver, D.J. Fenner and Marcus Marshall won't be easy, and Musselman knows it.

"I have a little sheet of paper here about what doesn't excite me, and we're going to talk about that today," Musselman said. "What we lost is 53.9 points a game, 18.5 rebounds which is 48 percent of our rebounds and 89 to 90 percent of shots blocked.

"There are a lot of things we have to get better at, and somebody is going to have to step up. What excites us is versatility. We have to do a good job of interior defense. That is one of the things we're going to talk a lot about between now and opening night."

More important than anything is the health of the team, and right now two projected starters, Caroline and N.C. State transfer Caleb Martin aren't practicing.

"We have had a lot of injuries since we got back from Costa Rica," Musselman said. "Jazz Johnson had shoulder surgery the other day and Jordan Caroline has a severely sprained ankle that has already kept him out for sometime, and he will be out for an extended period of time. I don't see him practicing for the forseeable future. Caleb has a bad groin strain. He is doing some stuff this week, and we'll monitor what he does between now and opening night. Same for Jordan. We will limit how hard and how long they go.

"We've done a good job of being healthy when we have to. Everybody (trainers, doctors etc.) have done a great job of getting guys ready to play. Freak injuries. I'd rather have them now than later."

It will take a program to recognize this team. There are six new players — North Carolina State transfers Caleb and Cody Martin, Purdue transfer Kendall Stephens, Iowa State transfer Hallice Cooke, graduate transfer Darien Williams and freshman walk-on John Jones, son of associate head coach Johnny Jones.

The Martins, Cooke and Stephens all sat out last year as per NCAA rules, and all four have NCAA Tournament experience.

That group hopefully meshes well with returning starters Caroline (15 points, 9.2 rebounds) and Lindsey Drew (5.9, 4.7), and returnees Josh Hall, Elijah Foster (12 points, 7.4 rebounds), and Charlie Tooley, who appeared in 16 games as a freshman.

Caroline was the MW Tournament MVP and also earned second-team All-MW honors. He averaged 15 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Drew was among the assist leaders in the MW averaging 4.7 per game. He contributed 5.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per outing.

SCHEDULE

NOV 10 7 PM VS IDAHO

NOV 13 8:30 PM VS RHODE ISLAND .

NOV 15 7 PM AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY

NOV 18 7 PM AT PACIFIC

NOV 21 7 PM VS DAVIDSON

NOV 24 10 PM AT HAWAII

MOUNTAIN WEST-MISSOURI VALLEY CHALLENGE

NOV 29 7 PM VS ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY

DEC 2 7 PM AT UC IRVINE

DEC 5 5 PM AT TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY

NAISMITH MEMORIAL BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME CLASSIC – STAPLES CENTER

DEC 8 10 PM VS TCU

CONTINENTAL TIRE LAS VEGAS CLASSIC

DEC 17 2:30 PM VS RADFORD UNIVERSITY

DEC 19 7 PM VS UC DAVIS

DEC 22 8 VS SOUTHERN ILLINOIS LAS VEGAS, NEV.

DEC 23 8 PM VS SAN FRANCISCO LAS VEGAS, NEV.

DEC 27 7 PM AT FRESNO STATE

DEC 30 2 PM VS NEW MEXICO

JAN 3 7:30 PM VS WYOMING

JAN 6 11 AM AT AIR FORCE

JAN 13 TBA VS UTAH STATE

JAN 17 7:30 PM AT SAN JOSE STATE

JAN 20 7 PM VS BOISE STATE

JAN 24 8 PM AT WYOMING

JAN 31 8 PM VS FRESNO STATE

FEB 3 5 PM AT COLORADO STATE

FEB 7 8 PM VS UNLV

FEB 10 5 PM VS SAN DIEGO STATE

FEB 14 8 PM AT BOISE STATE

FEB 17 3 PM AT UTAH STATE

FEB 21 7 PM VS SAN JOSE STATE

FEB 25 1 PM VS COLORADO STATE

FEB 28 8 PM AT UNLV

MAR 3 7 PM AT SAN DIEGO STATE

2017-18 Men’s Basketball Roster

# Full Name Pos. Yr. Ht. Wt. Hometown / Highschool

0 Tre’Shawn Thurman Forward Sr. 6-7 230 Omaha, Neb. / Omaha Central

1 Charlie Tooley Guard So. 6- 190 Granite Bay, Calif. / Granite Bay HS

3 John Jones Guard Fr. 6-0 165 Baton Rouge, La. / University Laboratory

4 Darien Williams Center Sr. 6-8 235 San Francisco, Calif. / St. John Bosco HS

5 Nisré Zouzoua Guard Jr. 6-2 190 Brockton, Mass. / Boston Trinity Academy

10 Caleb Martin Forward Jr. 6-7 215 Mocksville, N.C. / Oak Hill Academy

11 Cody Martin Forward Jr. 6-7 210 Mocksville, N.C. / Oak Hill Academy

12 Elijah Foster Forward Sr. 6-7 240 Seattle, Wash. / Rainier Beach HS

13 Hallice Cooke Guard Sr. 6-3 190 Union City, N.J. / St. Anthony HS

14 Lindsey Drew Guard Jr. 6-4 180 Encino, Calif. / Fairfax HS

20 Corey Henson Guard Sr. 6-3 175 Upper Marlboro, Md. / DeMatha Catholic HS

21 Kendall Stephens Guard Sr. 6-7 235 St. Charles, Ill. / St. Charles East HS

22 Jazz Johnson Guard Jr. 5-10 200 Lake Oswego, Ore. /

24 Jordan Caroline Guard/Forward Jr. 6-7 235 Champaign, Ill. / Montverde Academy

33 Josh Hall Guard So. 6-6 190 Houston, Texas / Genesis Academy

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