Nevada counting on JC transfer Kraemer
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Nevada likes to build from the bottom up with freshmen whenever possible, but coach Mark Fox has enjoyed success in his first three years with junior college transfers.
First there was Mo Charlo, who had two nice seasons, helping replace Kirk Snyder, who left early for the NBA. He was followed by his cousin, Demarshay Johnson, who is expected to start this season after sitting out the 2006-07 season for academic reasons. Next was Denis Ikovlev, a sharpshooting power forward from Iowa via the Ukraine, who averaged 6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in his second season with the Pack.
Fox is hoping that 6-foot-4 200-pound sophomore guard Ray Kraemer has as much success as the aforementioned trio. Kraemer comes in with nice credentials, having averaged 20 points a game, including 42 percent from the 3-point line, and eight rebounds two years ago at Weatherford College. Those numbers earned him Freshman of the Year honors in the conference.
“He is very similar to Denis (Ikovlev),” Fox said. “They are a little different size-wise. He’s a very good rebounder. He gives us an element from the perimeter (like Denis). I’m very excited to watch what he can do. He is a versatile guard.”
“He’s very aggressive,” Weatherford coach Mark Osina said. “He’s athletic and very competitive. He can really shoot the 3.”
How Kraemer got to Nevada is a nice story in itself. He suffered a shoulder injury his freshman season at Weatherford which required off-season surgery, and he didn’t play last season.
Being a qualifier out of high school, Kraemer had enough credits to transfer, and he started shopping around for four-year schools. He appeared headed to Weber State last April, but that didn’t materialize. He focused on Nevada, Creighton, Penn State and Hawaii. Osina had placed several players at Hawaii over the years.
“I saw them (Nevada) play on TV and I looked them up on the Internet. They are a very good team,” Kraemer said at the recent Wolf Pack Picture Day. “I talked to my coach (Osina at Weatherford) about it. He knew another JC coach who knew coach Fox, and that coach finally got a hold of him.
“I liked Nevada (when I visited). It was really great. They have an awesome basketball program and the school is the same. The other schools didn’t have everything, and they were too far away.”
Osina said that Kraemer probably could have come back in time for conference play last season, but he didn’t want to waste the whole season for just a handful of games. Obviously, Kraemer is itching to get back on the hardwoods.
“That was hard, especially after that first season I had,” Kraemer said of his time re-habbing the injury. “I’m tired of watching. I’m ready to play. It was healed when I came in (to Nevada) this summer, and I started lifting weights right away.”
Already, the coaching staff has been hard at work with Kraemer. The staff totally revamped his shooting technique, and that’s not an easy thing to do.
“They changed the entire thing,” Kraemer said. “I’m glad I did it. They saw on film that I was pulling up my shoulder wildly. I wasn’t squaring up with the basket.”
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Kraemer is his ability to get in there and rebound with bigger players.
“I don’t really know why (I rebound so well),” the new Pack guard said. “I’ve done it since high school. I proved in high school that I had a real feel for it. The things I like to do the best are rebound and shoot. I would get the putbacks from being aggressive on the boards.”
Expect him to take that aggression on the court, as he fights for playing time with the likes of Marcelus Kemp, Brandon Fields, Malik Cooke, Tyrone Hanson and Adam Carp.
“He (Fox) hasn’t said what he expects,” Kraemer said. “I want to do my best and bring everything to the floor that I can. I’ll be pushing hard to learn on the court so I can contribute.”
• Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281
THE KRAEMER FILE
Year in school: Sophomore
Previous school: Weatherford College