Nevada Wolf Pack
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #72
Conference Rank: #5 Mountain West
Nevada Team Page
Nevada will look to build off of their quarterfinal NIT run of a season ago, but the Wolf Pack will not have as easy of a time in the Mountain West Conference. Competing with the likes of New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV will be much more difficult and provide a very tough challenge to the new look frontcourt. Kevin Panzer and Devonte Elliott are the only forwards on the roster who have any experience at Nevada. Panzer, a 6-9 junior, has been productive when he has been on the floor the last two seasons, but he will have to take that to the next level now. Elliott is more of a bruiser in the paint, but he has even less experience than Panzer. However, his size and physicality will be vital for Nevada heading into the Mountain West.
2011-12 Record: 28-7, 13-1
2011-12 Postseason: NIT
Coach: David Carter
Coach Record: 68-33 at Nevada, 68-33 overall
Panzer and Elliott have some big shoes to fill. Olek Czyz and Dario Hunt started all 35 games in the frontcourt last season and played a lot of minutes for big men. Czyz was the power forward who could stretch out the defense with his shooting ability. He also supplied some amazing dunks and used that athleticism on both ends of the floor. Czyz will be tough to replace after averaging 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds during his senior season. Replacing Hunt will not be any easier. He nearly averaged a double-double, tallying 10.3 points and 9.7 rebounds during the 2011-2012 campaign.
Coach David Carter addressed the need for depth, and probably at least one starter, in the frontcourt with this group of newcomers. Cheikh Fall, a junior college transfer, will be asked to do a lot right away. At 6-9 and 240 pounds, Fall can be a Hunt type of player who stays in the paint, plays some solid defense and hits the glass. Despite spending a couple years in the junior college ranks, Fall is still pretty raw. That raw talent will have to get somewhat polished in a hurry. Englishman Richard Bell redshirted last season and will provide some depth this time around. He has a versatile game for a 6-9, 227 pound forward and will compete for major minutes. Cole Huff is more of a small forward than a power forward, but he has already beefed up and added some strength and will only add more by November. At 6-8 and 200 pounds, he could see some minutes at the four spot or be a mismatch at the three. Those three may be more important newcomers for now, but the best of the bunch will end up being shooting guard Marqueze Coleman. Coleman was a very nice pickup for the Wolf Pack and he has emerged as a very good all-around player. He is known for his athleticism and defense, but he can score in bunches too. Minutes may be tough to come by right now, but Coleman has the talent to work his way into the regular rotation.
Who to Watch:
With the return of Deonte Burton, Malik Story and Jerry Evans, there is not much room for Coleman. Burton is the do-it-all point guard who averaged an impressive 14.8 points and 4.2 assists as a sophomore. Burton is a very good shooter and the opposition must guard him on the perimeter. And that is when Burton just cruises past them and finishes around the basket or finds an open teammate. That open teammate will often be Story. The 6-5 senior knocked down 41.6 percent of his three-point attempts last season and can shoot over most opposing defenders. But with Burton creating, Story will get open looks. Evans is not on the same level as Burton and Story when it comes to scoring, but at 6-8, he has great size for a wing. Evans is a decent outside shooter, but Nevada needs him to help out on the glass and play tough defense and he does just that. Jordan Burris and Patrick Nyeko provided much of the depth on the perimeter for those three last season and will do the same this year, with a little help from Coleman as well.
Ideally, Nevada will not have to move Evans to the four spot, but that may have to happen on occasion. With Coleman, Burris and Nyeko waiting on the bench, the talent is certainly in the backcourt and Coach Carter may need to play small to utilize the best players on his team. But that may just be an issue in November and December. Players like Fall, Bell, Panzer and Elliott do not have a ton of experience, if any, but that is all that is stopping them from being productive players. If Panzer and Bell can knock down some shots and do some scoring and Fall and Elliott can be defensive stoppers and rebounders, the backcourt can do enough to get this team back to the postseason.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Deonte Burton, Junior, Guard, 14.8 points per game
Malik Story, Senior, Guard, 14.1 points per game
Jerry Evans, Junior, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Kevin Panzer, Junior, Forward, 2.9 points per game
Cheikh Fall, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#114 Deonte Burton