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Grading the Wolf Pack: Nevada gets a ‘B’ for New Mexico series

By Joe Santoro For the Nevada Appeal
The Nevada bench cheers during Saturday’s game against New Mexico in Lubbock, Texas.
University of New Mexico

Grading the Nevada Wolf Pack’s 68-54 and 84-74 victories over the New Mexico Lobos last week in Lubbock, Texas:

Starters

Grant Sherfield: A+



You don’t want to know where the Wolf Pack would be right now without the former Wichita State Shocker. The 6-foot-2 Sherfield is the Wolf Pack’s glue and foundation and is already one of the best players in the Mountain West.

That is not surprising, given that Pack coach Steve Alford once signed Sherfield to play at UCLA. Sherfield rarely left the floor last week against New Mexico, playing 77-of-80 minutes and scoring 48 points with 10 assists, five turnovers, three steals and converting 16-of-18 free throws and 6-of-11 threes. The Pack without Sherfield on the floor is not something Alford wants to see, for good reason. Sherfield was also 13-of-28 from the floor in the two games and was one of the few Pack players to somehow avoid foul trouble in the two games.



Desmond Cambridge: B

Cambridge was not all that efficient in the two games, shooting just 13-of-35 from the floor. He was 3-of-9 on threes in both games. The 6-4 junior scored 24 points in the 68-54 win on New Year’s Eve but came back two days later and missed 12-of-17 shots and scored just 15 points. Cambridge played 69 minutes in the two games, contributing three steals, a block and nine rebounds and turned the ball over just twice. There is a lot of pressure on Cambridge to score on this team and he is just getting back into the rhythm of playing after taking a year off after transferring from Brown. He’ll become more consistent as the year progresses.

Warren Washington: C

The 7-foot sophomore transfer from Oregon State, like many of his teammates, is still growing into his big body and learning how to play at the Division I level. He fouled out of both games, playing just a combined 45 minutes. Washington, though, contributes at both ends of the floor and is only scratching the surface of what he can do. He scored 10 points in both games, making 7-of-10 shots, mainly from right under the basket. He will likely be a double-double machine before too long. Washington also had 12 rebounds and two blocks combined in the two games.

Tre Coleman: C

The 6-7 freshman is, as expected, experiencing growing pains at the Division I level. He was called for four fouls in each of the two games and stayed on the floor for just 39 minutes. Coleman, though, is not shy with the ball in his hands. He was just 2-of-4 from the floor in the two games but he got to the line often, making all nine of his free throws. He also had six rebounds in the two games. There is a lot of potential here.

Zane Meeks: C

Meeks stayed on the floor for 54 minutes combined in the two games, scoring 13 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. He made up for a horrible shooting night on Dec. 31 (1-of-8, missing all three of his threes) with 10 rebounds. On Jan. 2 he was 3-of-4 from the floor and made 2-of-3 threes. He did, however, have five turnovers and just one assist in the two games.

Bench

K.J. Hymes: C-

The 6-10 sophomore still can’t avoid foul trouble and stay on the floor. Hymes, like Washington, also fouled out of both games and played just 32 minutes in the two games combined. He had six rebounds in the two games and was 2-of-4 from the floor and scored four points. Once Hymes gets his foul troubles under control he might blossom as a player because he has a ton of talent.

Kane Milling: B

Milling played a huge role in the 84-74 victory, scoring 14 points in just 23 minutes, making all four of his 3-pointers. The Pack doesn’t win the game without the 6-4 sophomore. Milling, though, struggled two night’s earlier, taking just two shots in 20 foul-filled (three) minutes, though he did grab three boards. Right now he is really the only scorer off the bench on this team. The Pack needs him to be far more aggressive offensively.

DeAndre Henry: C

Henry played 10 minutes on Jan. 2 and 11 two nights earlier. He took just one shot and scored just one point in the two games combined. The 6-7 freshman had four fouls in the two games and found the time to grab three rebounds and an assist in his 21 minutes combined. When Cambridge leaves the floor the Pack struggles to score.

Alem Huseinovic: Incomplete

The 6-4 freshman played 13 minutes on Jan. 2 because the rest of the team was battling foul trouble. Huseinovic who didn’t play on Dec. 31, missed his only shot (a 3-pointer), dished out two assists and had a rebound and didn’t score.

Robby Robinson: Incomplete

Robinson started all 31 games last year but this year barely gets off the bench. The 6-8 junior played just seven minutes on Dec. 31, with two fouls, two turnovers, two rebounds and an assist and didn’t play on Jan. 2. The addition of the 7-foot Washington, it seems, has sapped Robinson of his minutes this year but that could change as the season progresses.

Coaching: A

Steve Alford really has just two players (Sherfield, Cambridge) right now that he can rely on from game to game. The rest of the roster’s production is a mystery from one game to the next. And the bench, especially offensively, is extremely thin. Sherfield and Cambridge combined for 87 of the Pack’s 152 points in the two games. They had 44 of the 68 points in Dec. 31. The rest of the team is basically just freshmen and sophomores learning how to play at this level and trying to do it in a pandemic. And playing college basketball games in empty gyms is not easy for anybody. The Wolf Pack is extremely fortunate to have a coach like Alford in this trying season.

Overall: B

The Pack didn’t play all that well in either game. Put both of these games in Albuquerque, where they were scheduled before coronavirus restrictions pushed the Lobos out of town, and the final scores likely would have looked a whole lot different. The Lobos just aren’t a very good team right now. The Wolf Pack’s inconsistencies last week, though, weren’t all the fault of the Pack players. The officials, for some reason, decided to ruin both games, calling 54 fouls on the Pack (46 on the Lobos ) in the two games. So give the Pack a lot of credit for grinding out a pair of wins. But the Pack’s level of play will have to improve dramatically to win consistently against the better teams in the Mountain West.