Eric Musselman, who led Nevada to regular-season and postseason titles in the Mountain West and took the team to its first NCAA Tournament since 2007, has elected to stay at Nevada after interviewing at Cal earlier this week.
No doubt everybody at Nevada and the entire Northern Nevada community is breathing a big sigh of relief with the news Muss will be back. According to reports, Musselman talked to Cal on consecutive days, but apparently pulled his name out of the running Wednesday morning.
Musselman and Nevada officials are busy ironing out a new contract.
Musselman still had two or three years left on his current contract that paid him a base salary of $350,000 with $100,000 thrown in for meeting certain media obligations, but athletic director Doug Knuth said last week he wanted to re-negotiate with Musselman and keep him for as long as possible.
Simply put, Nevada got Musselman on the cheap, and he deserves a pretty substantial raise. If Brian Polian is worth $585,000 a year, Musselman is worth at least $650,000 a year.
Musselman has put Nevada back on the national map. He has made it cool to talk about Nevada basketball again. He has the student body excited about the team. It has been a long time since students lined up 90 minutes before a game for tickets. It happened a few times in the Mark Fox era.
And as a result, Lawlor has become a tough place to play as evidenced by Nevada’s 13-1 home record. The only home loss was to Fresno State.
The remaining six losses were neutral court (Iona and Iowa State) and on the road at Saint Mary’s College, San Diego State, Fresno State and Utah State.
Fans were treated to exciting basketball which had been missing since the days of Nick Fazekas, Kevinn Pinckney, Garry Hill-Thomas, Kyle Shiloh and Ramon Sessions.
The excitable Musselman, who’s constantly walking back and forth in front of the bench waving his arms and barking instructions, had Nevada playing with passion, something that had been lacking for many years.
I’m personally glad he’s choosing to finish what he started, no matter the reason.
I would’ve understood if he’d left for a Power 5 job, but been disappointed at the same time.
If you aren’t excited about Nevada basketball entering next season, you’re devoid of passion.
Jordan Caroline, who I would have voted MVP of the squad, returns along with Lindsey Drew, Josh Hall, Leland King II and Devearl Ramsey.
Hall improved immensely, and his playing time showed in the latter part of the season. King had his moments, too.
Ready to make their Nevada debuts are Caleb and Cody Morris from North Carolina State, Hallice Cooke from Iowa State, and Kendall Stephens from Purdue. All four redshirted this past season.
Cameron Oliver? Not sure about him, but I think he would be better served to play one more year of college basketball.
Another question mark is Elijah Foster, who was suspended after a domestic battery and disturbing the peace charges were levied against him earlier this year.
There has been no comment from Nevada whether he will return. He has been working out at Lawlor, however.
If Foster comes back, he could at least, from a defensive standpoint, pick up the slack if Oliver leaves.
And, if both Foster and Oliver play next year, Nevada will have the deepest roster in program history.