Pack notebook: Kemp’s career is over
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – For a guy who played his last game, Nevada’s Marcelus Kemp was devoid of emotion.
Kemp ended his stellar career as the No. 2 all-time scorer with 1,939 points, No. 1 in 3-point field goals made with 227, third in career field goals with 679 and No. 4 in free throw percentage at 82 percent.
“I’m a little sad we lost our last home game,” Kemp said after scoring 24 points in Nevada’s 80-79 loss to Houston in the opening round of the first-ever College Basketball Invitational. “I’ve had a pretty good career, and now it’s time to move on.”
While Kemp was unemotional, Nevada coach Mark Fox got emotional during the post-game press conference.
“Marcelus has been a terrific player for our school,” Fox said before pausing several moments to regain his composure. “He’s grown up a lot as a student, person and player. I’m proud that I had a chance to coach him.
“He’s a gifted scorer. He’s going to be a pro.”
Listening to Fox speak, it sounded like Kemp’s success could hinge on which team drafts him. Several NBA scouts expect him to go somewhere in the second round.
FANS BOO McGEE
JaVale McGee has been prone to take some bad shots every once in a while, and when he missed his first two 3-point attempts, the Lawlor Faithful booed him lustily.
McGee finished with 12 points and five rebounds. He scored six of Nevada’s first eight points, but scored just six over the next 22 minutes he played before fouling out with 26.5 left.
Fox was asked if he talked to McGee after the crowd booed him. The Nevada coach said he talked to McGee several times during the game, and said that he didn’t realize the home crowd had booed his player.
Fox also was asked if this was McGee’s last game in a Nevada uniform. Several NBA scouts have indicated that McGee would be a first-round draft pick if he elects to come out early.
“JaVale has grown a substantial amount as a person,” Fox said. “JaVale’s mom is smarter than a lot of the scouts.
“This is about JaVale’s future, and we’ll give him all the information he needs. It’s his decision, and we’ll support him.”
Fox also pointed out that a player can only declare and withdraw one time during his college career.
The game drew just 4,252 fans, which isn’t bad considering the school had just a little more than a day to sell tickets.
It was a loud group, and at times Lawlor was louder than it had been all season.
Fox credited the fans for helping the team wipe out a 10-point lead and taking a five-point lead midway in the second half.
“I told the team that fans stood in line for two hours to buy tickets,” Fox said. “I wouldn’t stand in line for two hours for anything.”
Commissioner Karl Benson was in attendance and sat in baseline seats alongside Keith Hackett, one of Nevada’s associate athletic directors.
Benson was still amazed that Nevada was snubbed by the NIT.
“I was absolutely stunned,” Benson said. “It’s hard to defend it and you can quote me. Rhode Island was the ninth place team in the Atlantic 10 this year.”
Another surprising selection was Cal to the NIT. The Bears beat Nevada 74-68 at Lawlor earlier this year.
Houston coach Tom Penders was complimentary of Nevada, calling the Wolf Pack a “NCAA Tournament-type team.”
Penders said he wouldn’t mind starting a series of games with the Pack.
“The schedule is important to us,” Fox said. “We’d entertain it if the dates fit. We only have two dates left to fill. We are further ahead (than normal).”
North Carolina, Southern Illinois, Oregon State and Pacific are among the teams coming to Lawlor next year.