CBKB: Final grades on Wolf Pack hoops
For the Nevada Appeal
RENO – The final report card for the Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball starters for the 2010-11 season . . .
Position: Shooting guard (6-5, 225)
Final statistics: 14.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists
Best game: 34 points on 6-of-6 3-pointers (11-of-14 field goals) in WAC Tournament against Fresno State.
What he does best: Story was the Pack’s only consistent outside threat. He’s fearless, not afraid to take the big shot.
What he needs to work on: Shot selection. Also needs to put his great strength and size to work on the glass more often.
Overall: Story filled a very important role on this team this year. But he can do so much more than just shoot threes. Expect his overall game to grow as he better understands what he can and can’t do. And when to do it.
Grade: B. He’ll become a better, more efficient player when the Pack stops counting on him to always take the big shot.
Position: Point guard (6-1, 185)
Final statistics: 13.7 points, 3.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds
Best game: 22 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds vs. New Mexico State on Jan. 20; 21 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists vs. Hawaii on Feb. 14.
What he does best: His overall maturity at such a young age.
What he needs to work on: Needs to grab control of his team in tense situations down the stretch. Also needs to find right balance between generating his own offense and making his teammates better.
Overall: You can’t expect a freshman point guard to do more than what Burton did this year.
Grade: A. Burton is going to own a ton of Wolf Pack records before he leaves the program after the 2013-14 season.
Position: Center/power forward (6-8, 230)
Final statistics: 12.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists
Best game: 24 points, 11 rebounds vs., Fresno on Jan. 27; 20 points, 13 rebounds vs. Irvine on Feb. 19; 21 points, 14 rebounds vs. Portland on Dec. 27.
What he does best: He’s the best shot blocker in WAC. Tireless worker. His offensive game within a few feet of the basket is as good as anybody’s in the conference.
What he needs to work on: Eliminating careless fouls.
Overall: It’s easy to forget that Hunt is just 6-8 and a slender 6-8 at that. He’s turned himself into a very productive two-way player.
Grade: A. Hunt was Pack’s Most Valuable Player this year.
Position: Power forward (6-7, 240)
Final statistics: 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Best game: 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting vs. Fresno State on Jan. 3; 25 points, 9 rebounds vs. Utah State on Jan. 8; 25 points, 11 rebounds vs. Boise State on Feb. 26.
What he does best: When he’s getting the ball, he brings as much energy to the court as any player in WAC.
What he needs to work on: Finding energy and ways to be productive when he doesn’t have the ball. Free throws.
Overall: Czyz spent this season trying to figure out where he fits in on this team. It led to an up-and-down season. The Pack needs to figure out if Czyz is their go-to guy on offense or just a talented complementary part.
Grade: B. Czyz has the ability to be the WAC’s Player of Year next year.
Position: Small forward (6-8, 188)
Final statistics: 4.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.3 assists
Best game: 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 steals vs. Hawaii on Feb. 14.
What he does best: Defense. Also has a very underrated shot when he’s confident enough to use it.
What he needs to work on: Consistency. As the fifth option on offense Evans would suffer through stretches where he would disappear on offense and break down mentally.
Overall: Evans’ role fluctuated this year and so did his production. But he was just a typical freshman making typical freshman mistakes. He’s going to be a solid player for this program.
Grade: C. Pack needs to determine whether Evans is more valuable off the bench or in starting lineup.
Grade: C. It was simply a rebuilding year, the Pack’s first in a decade. There’s no shame in that. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State never have to rebuild. The Nevadas of the world have to rebuild eventually, especially after a year when they lose two underclassmen to the NBA. So, what did head coach David Carter build this year? That remains to be seen. But there are a lot of nice parts. The problem this year wasn’t a lack of talent. The Pack was as talented as any team in the WAC. They were just too young. They had less cohesion and unity than an AAU team in the summertime. They simply never learned how to play together and they clearly never learned how to win.
What to expect next year: This group has the ability and, now, the experience, to win 20 games in 2011-12. They’ll get back to the postseason (NCAA, NIT or CBI).
Position: Point guard (6-0, 165)
Final statistics: 4.5 points, 1.5 assists, 1.1 rebounds
Best game: 10 points, 6 assists vs. New Mexico State on March 5; 10 points, 5 assists vs. New Mexico State on Jan. 20.
What he does best: He’s not bashful about taking his shot. For a player his size he’s as fearless as anyone.
What he needs to work on: Taking care of the ball.
Overall: Think Allen Iverson in Silver & Blue. Conner did a nice job as the Pack’s sixth man and he should fill that role once again in 2011-12.
Grade: B. He’s a one-dimensional, shoot-first, pass-almost-never point guard. But that’s OK. He a nice complement to Burton.
Position: Shooting guard (6-7, 205)
Final statistics: 3.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists
Best game: 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists vs. Pepperdine on Nov. 16.
What he does best: He brings great size for his position. Also has one of most underrated shooting touches on team.
What he needs to work on: Consistency.
Overall: Can he flourish off the bench? Burris has the talent to start but he might have to wait for that opportunity another year.
Grade: C. Burris is the one that lost playing time after Czyz made his debut on Dec. 17.
Position: Small forward (6-9, 205)
Final statistics: 2.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.5 assists
Best game: 11 points, 5 rebounds vs. Portland State on Dec. 20; 10 points, 6 rebounds vs. New Mexico State on March 5.
What he does best: Very good around the basket on offense. Solid rebounder when he puts his mind to it.
What he needs to work on: Needs to figure out if he’s an inside or outside offensive player.
Overall: Panzer has great size and decent skills. He just needs minutes to mature. In the perfect world he would have red-shirted last year.
Grade: C. Went 1-for-17 from the field over a two-month stretch (Dec. 22-Feb. 24). Needs to find his confidence again.
Position: Shooting guard (6-4, 190)
Final statistics: 1.9 points, 0.4 assists, 1.0 rebounds
Best game: 7 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds vs. Houston on Dec. 6.
What he does best: Very athletic. Showed a nice touch when he was getting consistent minutes.
What he needs to work on: Needs to prove he deserves consistent minutes.
Overall: Finn vanished from the Pack’s rotation the last six weeks of the year. With so many players on the roster fighting for minutes, will he be content to stay on the bench?
Grade: C-. Got trapped in coach David Carter’s doghouse down the stretch and never got out.
Position: Center (6-10, 220)
Final statistics: 1.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.2 assists
Best game: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block vs. Utah State on Feb. 2; 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal vs. San Francisco State on Dec. 11; 8 points, 3 rebounds vs. South Dakota State on Nov. 30.
What he does best: Blocks shots, rebounds. Defensive presence.
What he needs to work on: Offense. Needs to develop some sort of offensive game for opponents to respect him on floor. Also needs to spend every waking hour in the weight room this off-season.
Overall: If he works hard in the off-season, Elliott could be the most improved player in the WAC next season. He’s has that much talent and upside. This is a league without any great big men. He could dominate the next three years if he wants to.
Grade: C-. It was a disappointing season for the big freshman. But big guys take longer to develop. Don’t give up on him yet.
Position: Shooting guard (6-6, 180)
Final statistics: 1.2 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists
Best game: 7 points, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 rebounds vs. San Jose State on Feb. 5.
What he does best: Works hard. Plays defense.
What he needs to work on: Same as Devonte Elliott.
Overall: Nyeko might have been the Pack’s most improved player this season. And his hard work was rewarded with consistent minutes off the bench down the stretch.
Grade: C+. After his freshman year, it looked like Nyeko would never play at Nevada. But now he’s becoming a productive member of this program.
Position: Forward (6-7, 215)
Final statistics: 1.4 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.0 assists
Best game: 6 points, 2 rebounds vs. South Dakota State on Nov. 30.
What he does best: Great attitude. Smart. Would be great coach.
What he needs to work on: His master’s degree.
Overall: Carp was the last connection to the great Pack teams from 2004-07 that went to the NCAA tournament every year. He was the ultimate 15th man, acting as another coach on the floor in practice. Although he rarely played in his career, his leadership will be missed next year.
Grade: A. Accepted his role for five years and thrived in it.