RENO — After failing to land a freshman recruit last year, Nevada coach Eric Musselman is bringing in two in the fall, and filling important needs in the process.
K.J. Hymes, a 6-foot-11 power forward, and Vincent Lee, a 6-9 power forward, signed national letters of intent Wednesday, the opening day of the early signing period.
“We are so excited about adding K.J. and Vincent to the Pack family, both as players as well as people,” Musselman said. “They fit perfectly into our culture and we can’t wait to start working with them next summer.
“Not only do both players fit the positional needs of our program going forward, but I cannot say enough about what incredible young men they are. Both of these guys (K.J. and Vincent) over time are really, really going to be big impact players because of their position. It’s hard to get bigs, especially incoming freshmen bigs. Our guys really sold them on what the program is all about.”
Hymes played his first three high school seasons at St. Mary’s High School, but will play this year at Hillcrest Prep. He averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per contest.
Lee averaged 10.9 and 6.1 rebounds a contest for Midlothian High School. A recruiting web-site, Rivals.com, listed him as a three-star recruit.
“Hymes can face up and shoot the ball. He can make some shots up to the college 3-point line. He can play out on the floor, and he has a high basketball IQ,” Musselman said. “Lee is an excellent rebounder, offensive and defensive. He can shoot it up to 15 feet. We’re working on improving his 3-point shot. He hasn’t taken a lot of them.”
Both players give Nevada some additional length. Right now, Nevada has nobody taller than 6-8 on its roster.
Hymes was getting plenty of interest from Cal, ASU, Washington and Memphis, among others.
According to rivals.com, Lee was getting some interest from BYU, Cincinnati, New Mexico, Oklahoma and TCU, among others.
In Musselman’s two-plus years at the helm, the Wolf Pack roster has been mostly four-year transfers, though he feels he has done a good job of recruiting younger players.
“We got a late start, and we got two of the best freshmen (Cam Oliver and Lindsey Drew) on the West Coast,” Musselman said. “The next year we got Josh Hall and Devearl Ramsey. The impact Josh has had is phenomenal. Devearl came in as a 4-star recruit. He just didn’t get enough minutes (so he left).
“As a staff, we didn’t do as good of a job as we did in years one and two. Our track record is pretty good. We have one scholarship (left), and we will be patient with it. I don’t think we need more than two freshmen. We are trying to get the best available player. If it’s a four-year transfer player great (or a grad transfer). It won’t be a JC player, I can tell you that right now.”
Caleb Martin uncertain for opener
Musselman said Caleb Martin, a junior transfer from North Carolina State, could miss Saturday’s home opener against Idaho with an injury.
“He is on first base rounding second,” Musselman said. “He only went half a practice (Tuesday). The injury was still bothering him yesterday. We will see how he is today (Wednesday). I am worried about his rhythm because he has missed so much time.”
Women’s team signs 5
Amanda Levens, first-year Nevada head coach, announced her first signing class on Wednesday. The five players will come to Nevada in the fall.
The group consists of 5-8 guard Essence Booker from Spring Valley in Las Vegas, 6-foot guard Imani Lacy from Central High in Fresno, 6-3 forward Kailee Oliverson from Twin Bridges High in Montana, 6-2 forward Emma Torbert from Mater Dei in Southern California and 5-10 guard Amaya West from Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Ariz.
Levens is awaiting on one more potential signee. She said she would relay information when the signing becomes official.
Levens didn’t sign anybody for this season, preferring to hold onto the scholarships she had.
“This is a huge freshman class,” Levens said. “I believe all can come in and have an impact. We are so excited about every single player in this class. They each bring a unique skill set that will be a great fit for the championship program we are trying to build at Nevada.
“The guards we are bringing in (Booker, Lacy and West) will help us play faster.”