Nevada notes: For Wolf Pack, it’s just transfer, baby
The Nevada Wolf Pack and the Oakland Raiders. An odd couple? Maybe.
Take a closer look, and the teams have a common thread. Both are teams that have provided new homes for guys who were cut somewhere else and want a second chance; guys unhappy with playing time; guys unhappy with their role on the team. Guys just unhappy, period.
Building the team through transfers has worked well in Eric Musselman’s three years at the helm. He has the Midas touch so far, though some will say he has left the team undermanned going into this year’s NCAA Tournament.
His moves have brought us Marcus Marshall, Jordan Caroline, Cody and Caleb Martin, Kendall Stephens and Leland King the past two years, and next year Corey Henson, Jazz Johnson. Tre’Shawn Thurman and Nizre Zouzoua. King was the only transfer who didn’t stay. Knowing he wasn’t going to play much, he graduated from Nevada and went to UC Santa Barbara where he started all season.
All these transfers are gym rats. When they aren’t in class or sleeping, you will find them shooting baskets in Lawlor Events Center or in the practice facility named after Ramon Sessions, who donated $1 million to the university.
Musselman constantly raves about how hard the players work. It’s their best and maybe last place to go and make a name for themselves. And, it gave them a chance to play for a former NBA coach, who knows what it takes to play at the next level. I’m not sure any of the current roster will play in the NBA, but the key guys will land somewhere, possibly in Europe.
REST IS GOOD
By losing to San Diego State in the semifinals last Friday, Nevada might have done itself a favor. The Pack was tired, anybody could see that.
The rest will be especially helpful for Caleb Martin, who has been nursing a foot injury much of the second half of the season. Every timeout he takes his shoe off and massages his foot.
“I would rather have played,” Musselman said. “It was hard watching that championship game. Having said that, our goal was to make the NCAA Tournament.”
“It (rest) will be very helpful,” Caleb Martin said. “At the same time, we have to prepare as much as possible. We want to rest, but we want to be overly prepared.”
Even the Friday-Sunday format gives Nevada one extra day to come up with a way to beat the Longhorns.
“More time to prepare,” said Caroline. “Really, we have no film at the moment (on Sunday).”
Musselman admitted he hadn’t watched much film on Texas, he said he would watch a lot through the week,
IS OUTSIDE THE ANSWER?
The Longhorns have had trouble defending the perimeter at various times this season.
Kansas buried 17 3-pointers in Austin, TCU had two games of more than 10 treys, and West Virginia drained 12 in a 35-point rout.
That could be music to Musselman’s ears. All five Nevada starters can score from beyond the arc, and Josh Hall has had a couple of big 3-point shooting games.
Nevada is ranked No. 23 in the country in 3-point shooting percentage (.398). Three players, including guard Caleb Martin, shoot better than 40 percent from long range.
OTHER GAMES AT BRIDGESTONE
Prior to Nevada’s 1:30 game, No. 2 Cincinnati, 30-4, plays No. 15 Georgia State, 24-10. In the evening session, Xavier, the No. 1 seed in the West at 28-5, takes on the winner of NC Central and Texas Southern at 4:20 p.m. At 6:50 p.m., No. 8 Missouri, 20-12, battles No. 9 Florida State, 20-11.
If Nevada wins, it would play the Cincinnati-Georgia State winner Sunday. Xavier will play the Missouri-Florida State winner, also on Sunday. The start times for Sunday have yet to be determined.