Hall has way to the Wolf Pack men’s basketball roster
RENO — Eric Musselman was all smiles when he greeted the media for the first time in the 2016-17 season.
The second-year Nevada coach has liked what he’s seen in the past few days from his team, and he received some great news from the NCAA.
Freshman Josh Hall, a 6-6 190-pound swingman from Houston, has been declared academically eligible by the NCAA. According to Musselman, there was some question regarding his sophomore year when he was home schooled. Nevada won its appeal to the NCAA, making Hall eligible right away.
Musselman was texting his assistants in the wee hours of the morning. The talk was about Hall and where he would fit in this year.
“Instead of having eight scholarship players (in our rotation), we now have nine,” Musselman said. “Josh can play the 1, 2, 3 and 4. He had a phenomenal summer with us. We were going through (via text messages) how this rotation is going to effect everybody.
“We knew he could play off guard, small forward and power forward. We weren’t sure whether he could handle the ball (well enough) to play the power point and initiate the offense. He has a tremendous amount of upside, as he continues to work on his perimeter shooting.”
Hall is one of three freshmen on the roster, joining point guard Devearl Ramsey of Sierra Canyon High School in Southern California, and 6-foot walk-on guard Charlie Tooley from Granite Bay High near Sacramento.
Hall isn’t the only new face on Nevada’s roster. Nine players, who weren’t in the program last year are listed on the roster.
Besides the aforementioned freshmen, Musselman has former Damonte Ranch star John Carlson, junior walk-on Collin Weaver, Reno High walk-on David Kyle, North Carolina State transfers Cody and Caleb Martin and Purdue transfer Kendall Stephens.
The Martins and Stephens will redshirt this year as per NCAA regulations.
That group will try to mesh with top returners Cam Oliver (13.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game), Elijah Foster (2.8, 3.7), D.J. Fenner (13.7, 4.6) and Lindsey Drew (5.4, 4.5), and redshirts Leland King II, Marcus Marshall and Jordan Caroline.
Musselman maintained there are enough basketballs to go around, and he likes the depth of the team. Many times last year, Nevada wouldn’t go deep on its bench. Besides his nine active scholarship players, he sees Tooley, Carlson and Weaver as quality walk-ons. Carlson at 6-8 gives the Pack a big body.
“It (the chemistry) is pretty good right now,” Musselman said.
“They all know each other pretty well.”
Musselman said he couldn’t remember a player, except for maybe Eric Cooper Jr., upset about playing time or his role on the team. Cooper left the program and transferred to Pepperdine.
This year’s edition of the Wolf Pack faces a tough schedule. The Pack took Holy Names and Fresno Pacific off the home schedule this year, and will face Oregon State, Iona (part of the Great Alaska Shootout), UC Irvine, Loyola and UOP. Nevada opens the season at nationally ranked Saint Mary’s College on Nov. 11. Oakland of the Horizon League and Pac-12 power Washington are also on Nevada’s schedule.
The Gaels are ranked 15th in the country by one publication and are 50-5 in their last 55 nonconference games at McKeon Pavilion.
“UC Irvine and Iona are tournament-tested teams, Musselman said. “We’re further along than we were last year, but we’re not as far along as Saint Mary’s.”