Community College player looking at Nevada

It has been less than two weeks since Nevada ended its basketball season with a disappointing 71-59 loss to top-ranked Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Wolf Pack coaching staff has been on the run ever since. The Pack have two scholarships left to offer for the coming season, and head coach Mark Fox and Co. have been busy pounding the pavement in search of players who can help put the Pack into the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.

Fox went straight from Indianapolis to Iowa after the Pack were eliminated, and assistant coach Josh Newman went to the National Junior College Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.

It's no secret that Nevada needs a shooting guard and a forward-center to replace the departed Jermaine Washington and Kevinn Pinkney. Nevada shot 27 percent from 3-point range last season, and the team desperately needs somebody who can take the pressure off junior-to-be Nick Fazekas, the WAC Player of the Year last season.

By NCAA rules, coaches can't talk about prospective student-athletes until they have signed letters of intent (mid-April), so Fox can't talk about DeMarshay Johnson, a 6-9 forward from Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif., who visited the Nevada campus last week.

Johnson averaged 16.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.9 blocked shots per game in leading DVC to a 25-5 record and a Bay Valley Western Division crown. He was in the top five in blocked shots in the state. Johnson was a teammate of current Wolf Pack star Mo Charlo in junior college.

Johnson is no stranger to Fox and the Wolf Pack coaching staff. He came to Nevada, but was only a partial qualifier and ended up at DVC.

"He did visit last Thursday and Friday," said DVC coach Steve Cocimiglio. "Demarshay knows coach Fox and the coaching staff. He's strongly considering it."

Coccimiglio also pointed out that Johnson will visit the Marshall University campus in West Virginia this week, and that he will make a decision between the schools shortly thereafter.

"He's real comfortable with both schools," Coccimiglio said. "He told me he's not going to drag it out. I'd be surprised if he gives a committment this week. I think he can help either program."

Coccimiglio said the 6-9 Johnson is long, and can defend on the perimeter, much like Charlo. The 6-7 Charlo made a bigger impact at the defensive end of the floor than he did on offense early in the season.

And, anybody who knows anything about Nevada basketball, knows that Fox likes players who can play defense.

Darrell Moody can be reached at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281

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