Wolf Pack coach Novsek a former sharpshooter for Salukis | NevadaAppeal.com

Wolf Pack coach Novsek a former sharpshooter for Salukis


Nevada Appeal Sports Writer

Nevada assistant basketball coach Doug Novsek admits he will be more excited than normal when the Wolf Pack takes the floor today against Southern Illinois.

Novsek played college basketball for the Salukis in the mid-1980s, and in fact is still the school’s career leader in field goal percentage for 3-pointers in a season at 47 percent.

“I hope it goes better than last year’s game,” Novsek said Friday afternoon, referring to the Salukis’ 25-point win over the Wolf Pack in Carbondale. “That is all I’m worried about. I can’t wait (for the team) to do well. We as coaches are always raring to go for a game.”

Last year when the Wolf Pack visited SIU, Novsek was able to take part in the school honoring Rich Herrin, his former coach. Novsek attended a reception the night before the game, but for obvious reasons didn’t take part in the halftime ceremony.

“I always keep in touch with people from SIU,” Novsek said. “There always seems to be somebody that went to SIU coaching the team. I try to follow them a bit. I’ve gotten back to my hometown which is near the Southern Illinois campus, but I hadn’t been back to SIU since I coached at Illinois State except when I was on a recruiting trip while coaching for Nebraska.”

Novsek averaged 9.3 points per game during his playing career. He set that 3-point standard in 1987, the first year that there was a 3-point line in college basketball.

“I’ve always been a long-distance (shooting) guy, I guess,” Novsek said. “I was more of a ‘three’ (small forward). I wasn’t very big. Unfortunately the last couple of years we weren’t very good.”

When I asked Novsek about his fondest memory at SIU, he was silent for a while.

“My last game,” said the former SIU team captain. “We struggled a lot in the last two years, were really down. We didn’t have a good record.”

– If you are a Nevada basketball fan, you have to wonder what kind of impact Mark McLaughlin would have had on this team.

McLaughlin, one of the top off guards in the nation last year for Inglemoor High School (Wash.), is currently at a prep school back East and will be in starting next fall. With Brandon Fields off to a slow start because of off-the-court issues, no doubt McLaughlin would have picked up the slack.

– The fact that the Knicks and Kings probably won’t send any players to the Reno Bighorns this year is disturbing to say the least.

The city of Reno is fickle when it comes to sports and if the Bighorns don’t enjoy some success in the first year, who knows what will happen. The announced crowd Friday was 3,502, but there were nowhere near that many people in the building Friday night. Maybe 1,400 or 1,500.

The weather could have been a factor. It was cold and ugly out on Friday. The wind was biting, making it a very uncomfortable walk from the parking structure to the arena.

– Does anybody besides me think that Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell got screwed in the Heisman process? Granted, he didn’t have a great day against Nevada, but he put up some incredible numbers with more than 4,700 yards passing. Harrell did that without a real marquee running back to take the pressure off him. He did have Michael Crabtree and some other talented receivers, and he made the most of their talents.

No disrespect to the other finalists, but Harrell is a better quarterback than Florida’s Tim Tebow and we all know that Harrell will be a better pro than Tebow. If I had a Heisman vote, it would have been Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, Harrell, Colt McCoy from Texas, Tebow and Crabtree, in that order.

The only thing I don’t like about Harrell is his mobility. He’s going get hit a lot more in the pros than he did at Texas Tech.

Remember the last quarterback in coach Urban Meyer’s system? Utah’s Alex Smith was a first-round pick by the Niners, and he has been an absolute bust. Smith lost his job to journeyman J.T. O’Sullivan, who in turn lost the job to Shaun Hill.

At least Harrell could have been invited to the festivities.

– As a parting shot can I just say that my alma mater, De La Salle, recently won its 17th straight section football title and 47th straight postseason game.

I’m sure this will draw some hate mail, but on their best days, McQueen or Bishop Manogue couldn’t beat De La Salle.

– Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or (775) 881-1281