Nevada Notebook: Tough ending for Fenner
MILWAUKEE – It was a tough two weeks for senior D.J. Fenner, who was the only holdover from the David Carter era.
Fenner started and played 18 of the 20 minutes in the first half Thursday, scoring just two points at the line. He was on the bench to start the second half in favor of freshman Josh Hall.
Fenner entered the game with seven minutes to go, but left for good two minutes later. He appeared to snap at Musselman as he walked by his coach to the bench. The 2-point effort matched a season low. He had 2 against Iona in the Pack’s fourth game of the season.
In the final four games of the season, Fenner went 9-for-34 from the field. At the MW Tournament he missed several wide-open shots, and it was clear he’d lost some confidence in his stroke.
“It has definitely been a journey,” Fenner said in the locker room afterward. “I didn’t know where I would be at this moment in time when I was at a freshman. We accomplished a lot of goals this year, and I still feel like I’m heading out the right way.”
Fenner finished 13th on the all-time scoring list with 1,345 points.
Coach Eric Musselman said the future looks bright at Nevada, but will he be a part of it?
With two Pac-12 jobs coming open in recent days, coach Eric Musselman’s future at Nevada is up in the air.
Doug Knuth admitted before the game he would like to re-do Musselman’s contract, but Musselman was focused on playing games and the two hadn’t had a chance to sit down and talk. He also admitted Nevada can’t afford to pay coaches what they could make at a Power 5 school.
Musselman makes around $400,000 a year, and certainly Cal, who just lost Cuonzo Martin to Missouri, or Washington, which fired Lorenzo Romar, are in position to double that salary. Musselman is reportedly on the short list at LSU, where he was an assistant.
On paper, Cal would be attractive because Musselman’s youngest son lives in Danville, a suburb of the Oakland/San Francisco area.
Romar was at Washington from 2002-2017. He went to the NCAA Tournament six times, including two Sweet 16 runs.
Names that have popped up in recent days, according to cbssports.com, are Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, Musselman, Boise State coach Leon Rice and former Washington star Brandon Roy, who’s now a prominent high school coach in the area.
Musselman said last week after winning the MW tournament championship he was happy.
“There’s nothing going on with me,” he said last week. “I’m happy and my wife is happy. My sons are happy. (UNR President Marc) Johnson and Doug Knuth gave me an opportunity when no one else would, and trusted in our vision.”
However, working at a Power 5 school and making a lot more money may be too good to pass up.
No doubt Knuth will be working hard to keep him around a couple of more years at least. Musselman has three years on his contract.
WILL OLIVER LEAVE?
If Cam Oliver has played his final game at Nevada, he went out strong with 22 points, four blocked shots and seven rebounds.
Oliver has been asked about his future several times, and he’s been non-committal.
“Cam and I haven’t set down and talked,” Musselman said. “The only thing we’ve worried about is how does Nevada compete against Iowa State. We have been pretty single-minded every game, every night, and there is no reason to talk about up to this point because we had games to play, and you know, we are here to support Cam in whatever decision he makes.”
ON THE PINE
ISU star guard Monte Morris was on the bench for about a five-minute stretch when Nevada made one of its runs in the second half.
“It wasn’t that hard,” Morris said. “I mean, I knew the guys, Donovan (Jackson), Deonte, and these guys were prepared. That’s why we play those games for times like this. We made big shots. Donovan hit a 2 and Deonte got a baseline drive. I was fine on the bench.
“It was coach’s decision, not mine. I’m not worried about whether I play or not. I didn’t say nothing to him (coach Steve Prohm). I was going to get in, you know.”
SECOND HALF SURGE
The Pack continued to show it’s a second-half team.
Nevada outscored Iowa State 46-44 in the final 20 minutes, and enjoyed a season edge of 186 points over the 35-game schedule.
Chad Hartley, assistant athletic director and sports information director, said Nevada sold its allotment of 350 tickets for the game.