Nevada men open in exhibition
RENO – The much-anticipated return of the Nevada’s men’s basketball season is here.
The Wolf Pack, with just two returning starters from last year’s Sweet 16 team that went 25-9 and generated excitement throughout Northern Nevada, face Dominican University tonight at 7:05 in an exhibition game at Lawlor Events Center.
The game marks the debut of head coach Mark Fox, who was hired when Trent Johnson resigned to take the reins at Stanford University.
“I’m excited,” Fox said earlier this week. “We’ve got to get better, though. That’s what I’m focused on right now. We’re going to play everybody tonight. We’ll probably mix the lineup around quite a bit.
“I think the guys are more excited to play than the coaches are. We’d like more time to practice. We’ve been doing a lot of teaching; working on a lot of things (some of the kids) haven’t experienced. We have a lot of new faces this year, especially on the perimeter.”
Forwards Nick Fazekas and Kevinn Pinkney are the only players who got significant time. Shooting guard Marcelus Kemp, who was expected to start or at least contribute heavily, tore his ACL and was lost for the season. Forward Jermaine Washington, who averaged about 15 minutes a game, should get more time this season. Sophomore guard Kyle Shiloh averaged only 10 minutes a game last season and Seth Taylor only averaged four minutes a game.
Five players – 7-foot junior center Chad Bell, 6-7 junior swingman Mo Charlo, 7-foot freshman center David Ellis, 6-3 point guard Ramon Sessions and 6-foot guard Curry Lynch from Virginia City – will be playing their first games for the Wolf Pack. Bell sat out last year after transferring from University of New Mexico and Lynch, a walk-on, was redshirted. A sixth player, freshman point guard Lyndale Burleson, is waiting to see if he will be eligible.
That’s not a huge amount of experience to build from, and after tasting NCAA success last season, the players and fans expect the same. That might be unfair considering the new faces, but it’s something the players accept.
“We’re still expected to go to the NCAAs and win the WAC,” co-captain Fazekas said. “Expectations haven’t changed.”
The personnel has, however, and it may take some time for this young team to come around. Don’t be surprised if it takes until the second or third week of conference play before everything starts to click. There is no replacing experience in any sport.
Dominican, located in San Rafael, Calif., is coached by Cal grad Bill Treseler. The Penguins were 29-7 a year ago and won the Cal-Pac Championship. Treseler has guided Dominican to a 91-45 record over the last four years.
Ex-Galena star Lance Buoncristiani, who averaged 6.5 points per game, is one of the top returnees. David Moore, the Penguins’ 6-7 center, averaged 14.9 last year. Forwards Trey Putnam (11.9) and Marcus Williams (13) also averaged in double figures.
Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281.
(Charles if You use a breakout
What: Nevada vs. Dominican University
When: Tonight, 7:05
Where: Lawlor Events Center
Admission: $4 and seating is first-come, first-served