Gentleman Corbett ready for NFL Draft, says Joe Santoro | NevadaAppeal.com

Gentleman Corbett ready for NFL Draft, says Joe Santoro

Joe Santoro

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

There's no question Austin Corbett is the best thing Brian Polian ever did for the Nevada Wolf Pack football program. Polian as a rookie head coach in 2013 had enough foresight to nurture and develop Corbett, a walk-on offensive lineman from Reed High and turned him into one of the best tackles in the country. Polian tossed Corbett, a talented but raw red-shirt freshman, into the starting lineup in 2014 and kept him there for the next two years. And now Corbett, who spent his senior year anchoring head coach Jay Norvell's first Wolf Pack team last fall, is about to be selected in the NFL Draft April 26-28. Corbett is the gift that keeps on giving for the Wolf Pack.

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Corbett's Wolf Pack teams didn't win much, compiling just a 22-28 record in his four active seasons. The Pack went to just two bowl games in his five years at Nevada and never came close to winning a Mountain West title. But it's frightening to think what the Pack would've been without Corbett. Corbett played through two head coaches and blocked for a stunning number of quarterbacks, that included Cody Fajardo, Tyler Stewart, Ty Gangi, Hunter Fralick, Kaymen Cureton and David Cornwell. He also paved the way for running backs such as James Butler, Don Jackson, Kelton Moore and Jaxson Kincaide. Corbett was, without question, the Wolf Pack's most consistent and productive player over his four seasons.

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It's about time the Wolf Pack starts to get some respect for all of the talented offensive lineman the program has sent to professional football. Corbett will be just the latest who has made the jump to the pros who also include the likes of Joel Bitonio, John Bender, Mike Rockwood, Harvey Dahl, Tony Moll, Shar Pourdanesh, Eric Sanders, Derek Kennard, Vic Carroll, Greg Robinson, Chris Barker, Buster McClure, Don Talcott, Dick Tilton, Dick Afflis and Fred Leon. The Union is also that gift that keeps on giving to the Wolf Pack.

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It's not likely the Wolf Pack men's basketball team will lose any players in the NBA draft in June. Caleb and Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline are all going through the NBA draft process this month but it would be shocking if any of them doesn't withdraw his name from the draft pool of talent before the June 11 deadline. About 150 underclassmen are flirting with the NBA right now along with the Martins and Caroline but less than half of them (about 60) have already hired an agent and won't return to school. It's likely Pack guard Lindsey Drew would also have tossed his name in the NBA draft if he wasn't dealing with an injured Achilles right now. The NBA draft process is simply a good way for Mountain West players to get some exposure to pro ball. UNLV's Brandon McCoy, Fresno State's Deshon Taylor, San Diego State's Max Montana and Jalen McDaniels and Wyoming's Justin James also are going to work out for NBA scouts next month.

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The Wolf Pack basketball team will have one of the most experienced and oldest rosters in college basketball next year. Caleb and Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline will all be 23-years-old by the time the 2019 NCAA tournament rolls around. Newcomer Tre'Shawn Thurman will also be 23. Transfers Nisre Zouzoua, Jazz Johnson and Corey Henson will all be 22 while Josh Hall and Lindsey Drew will both be 21. The Wolf Pack will be a team comprised of grown men who know what it means to work hard and sacrifice for the good of the team. It will be the perfect team for Pack coach Eric Musselman, who cut his coaching teeth in the pro ranks.

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Nobody is suggesting Eric Musselman should leave the Wolf Pack right now and nobody is even hinting he's looking to leave. But that should not prevent NBA teams with vacant head coaching jobs from giving Musselman a call. The New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic all are currently looking for a head coach and Musselman would be a nice fit in any of those places. Musselman already has NBA head coaching experience. He's one of the greatest salesmen in all of coaching right now. He's adept at wrapping the media around his little finger. He knows how to get players to play hard for him. And his attractive and personable family (wife Danyelle, daughter Mariah, sons Michael and Matthew) would be a public relations dream for any NBA franchise. The NBA, though, has no idea how to hire a head coach.

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Another NBA job that might open up this summer is San Antonio. Gregg Popovich's wife just died this week and he might come to the conclusion he needs time away from the game. It's been a tough year for Popovich already with his wife's illness and the way the Spurs have deteriorated on the court. Popovich couldn't even get his star player Kawhi Leonard to come back to the team this entire season. The Spurs are old (Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker) and have leveled off talent-wise (Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, Patty Mills) and Leonard seems to want to leave. Popovich might not want to be part of this rebuild moving forward.

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We've already had one major league baseball manager fired. The Cincinnati Reds got rid of Bryan Price this week after Price's Reds lost 15 of 18 games to start the year. What did the Reds expect? Only a dozen losses in the first 18 games? Baseball, it seems, is headed down the same disturbing path that plagued the NBA this year, where about half the teams weren't even trying to win. The Reds, San Diego, Kansas City, Miami, Detroit, Tampa Bay and the Chicago White Sox are all trying to lose games in order to get a high draft pick in the 2019 draft. Expect another half dozen or so teams (namely Baltimore, Toronto, San Francisco, Oakland, Texas) to also jump into that cesspool in the coming months.

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The next manager to get fired will likely be Don Mattingly of the Miami Marlins. The Marlins are a Dumpster fire that won't be put out for quite a while and it would be cruel to subject Mattingly to such abuse for much longer. The Marlins might simply let Chief Executive Officer Derek Jeter take over the club just to give him something to do. Jeter is certainly not going to waste any time this season trying to acquire talented players to make the Marlins roster better.