Nevada finishes basketball recruiting

Nevada wraped up its basketball recruiting with the announcement that Joey Shaw, Dario Hunt and Ahyaro Phillips had all signed national letter of intents for the 2008-09 season.

The trio join Luke Babbitt, Mark McLaughlin and London Giles as the newest members of the basketball program which has made six consecutive post-season appearances. The recruiting class has been ranked in the top-25 by a couple of recruiting sites.

"We have signed a player in every position with the intent of finding young men who will succeed at Nevada both in the classroom and in uniform," Nevada coach Mark Fox said. "The group should make us a better shooting team and a bit more athletic."

Shaw averaged 16.8 a game at College of Southern Idaho. He is related through marriage to Lyndale Burleson, a back-up point guard for the Pack. The 6-8 Hunt averaged a double-double last year at Charis Prep School in North Carolina as did Phillips, who played at Fork Union Academy in Virginia.

"Joey is a terrific shooter," Shaw said. "His ability to score combined with his experience should help our team. Dario had a terrific year at Charis Prep. He is physically ready to battle down low and his knack to rebound the ball will be a good addition to our program.

"Ahyaro is a long and explosive player. He comes from one of the most respected programs in the country. His athletic ability and versatility will help us."


The University of Nevada will not face any penalties after its multi-year Academic Progress Rate scores were at or above the 925, according to the NCAA.

This was the fourth annual report released by the NCAA, and it covered from the 2003 to 2007 academic school years.

Men's skiing turned in the lowest mark at 925, while women's cross country (978), softball (982), track and field (974) and tennis (977) led the way with impressive scores.

On the men's side, football was at 934, men's basketball at 937 and baseball was at 939.

"We are very pleased that our teams continue to perform at a very high level in the classroom and that our APR continue to improve," said Cary Groth, Nevada athletic director, in a press release. "Our ultimate goal is to provide every student-athlete with the academic support and tools they need to be successful in the classroom and leave with degrees."

The 925 score equals roughly a 60 percent graduation rate. Teams that fall below 925 and have a student-athlete fail academically and leave school can lose scholarships. Teams can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships for poor academic performance, according to NCAA guidelines.

Some schools weren't so fortunate. San Jose State was dinged for football and men's basketball, New Mexico State for men's basketball and football, and Fresno State for men's basketball. All three face possible post-season bans if scores do not improve.


Louisiana Tech will host the WAC Baseball Championship despite the fact its team won't be represented.

Jeff Hurd, the WAC senior associate commissioner, said that there were conversations about moving the tournament, but nothing serious.

"Nobody wanted to do it (make the change)," Hurd said. "Louisian Tech never came to us and said they didn't want to host. Derek Dooley their athletic director said it was their obligation, and they would do the best they could.

"It would have been very costly to make a change. Teams would have had to change plane tickets. I don't think they were ready to assume that."

Next year's tournament is scheduled for Hawaii, and then it goes on a rotation basis the rest of the time.

Hurd admitted that having the tournament at the same place every year would be easier to administrate, but he didn't think that it would be likely.


The WAC did itself proud in softball this year with four schools getting NCAA invitations on Sunday.

Tournament champ Louisiana Tech was invited to the Texas A & M regional, Nevada is at UCLA, Fresno State will host a site and Hawaii will be at Arizona State.

All the regionals are four-team double-elimination format.

"Softball used to be Fresno State and everybody else," Hurd said. "Now you have Hawaii and Nevada. A couple of years ago, Louisiana Tech couldn't beat anybody. It wasn't just one good team they beat over there (in teh tournament)."


Hurd said the men's basketball coaches, who are fighting for a neutral-site conference basketball tournament, are in favor of going to Las Vegas.

The Orleans Arena is hosting the West Coast Conference Tournament for the first time in 2009. The WCC plays Friday through Monday. The WAC could come in the day after and stage its tournament.

"They (the coaches) are pretty adamant," Hurd said. "They all want to go to Vegas."

Reno has the basketball contract in 2009 and 2010. It barely beat out an offer from Salt Lake City.

No doubt the schools won't make the money in Vegas that they would at school sites, but nobody would have an edge going into the event.


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