Darrell Moody: Nevada Wolf Pack already generating national interest
With the return of the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline plus a top-40 recruiting class, the national pundits are loving what they see in the Nevada basketball program.
Three websites have Nevada ranked in the top 6 in the country. Jon Rothstein of FanRag has Nevada at No. 5, while Garry Parrish of CBS Sports and Myron Metcalf of ESPN have the Pack at No. 6.
Too high? I’m not sure. Too early? A definite yes. There are many new faces on the roster. How well will they mesh with each other? We won’t really know until we see them in action.
As coach Eric Musselman mentioned recently, this is a big off-season for the coaching staff, especially. This is the deepest team ever assembled at Nevada, and the expectations are through the roof. It’s up to Musselman & Co. to figure out a rotation, and what style of play works best. This is a versatile team offensively, and I think it will be better defensively. The coach has already said it will be a different team. Just how different remains to be seen.
There is no doubt that the Pack will have a big target on its back entering the Mountain West season. Despite the blowout loss against San Diego State, I think everybody knows that Nevada had the best team in the conference. The Aztecs played probably their best game in years, especially on offense, and they defended well. No doubt Nevada players will have that game(s) circled on the calendar.
The Pack’s schedule isn’t complete yet, but includes neutral-court games against Arizona State at the Staples Center on Dec. 7, Grand Canyon on Dec. 9 at Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix, Tulsa at the Las Vegas Invitational (Nov. 22-23) and either UMass or Southern Illinois at the same event.
Right now, Nevada has home games against BYU, Pacific, Arkansas Little-Rock, Cal-Baptist and South Dakota State. There are reports that Nevada will play USC, but Nevada officials have not finalized that. There are still a couple of dates to be filled.
Nevada has one less player, as Ehab Amin, a senior transfer, has opted out of his scholarship. Amin made the decision Friday, just a couple of days after Cody and Caleb Martin opted to come back to Nevada.
Maybe Amin felt he wouldn’t get enough playing time with both Martins there. He obviously would be battling for minutes with Josh Hall, Jazz Johnson, Corey Hensen and Nisre Zouzoua. Maybe he felt it was something he didn’t want to go through.
And, speaking of the Martins, they did the right thing in coming back. It was doubtful that either was going to get drafted. Sure they could have signed and played in Europe, but that money will be there next season. A chance to play in an Elite 8 or Final Four comes around very seldom. It certainly will get them more exposure.
If the Martins truly want to play in the NBA, they were better served to play another season at Nevada. They are playing for a former NBA coach in Musselman, who knows what the Martins need to work on.
Former Carson High and University of Nevada pitcher Colby Blueberg was called up to Triple A El Paso recently. Blueberg pitched one inning, allowing two runs and three hits. He recorded one strikeout, that coming against Hunter Pence who is in Sacramento on a rehab assignment. Blueberg threw 22 pitches, 14 for strikes.