By Chris Boline
For the Nevada basketball team the success of the 2013-2014 season comes down to one ideal: that size matters.
The Wolf Pack was outmuscled and outgunned by the big boys of the Mountain West last season (Nevada ended the year on an eight-game losing streak). While the Pack lost senior swingman Malik Story to graduation, they loaded up their biggest weakness (the frontcourt) with a plethora of new faces.
Of course, the usual suspects Deonte Burton and Jery Evans return as well as starters from last season in Marqueze Coleman, Cole Huff and Ali Fall. However, after four players from last year’s squad transferred to other schools, (Kevin Panzer, Devonte Ellitott, Jordan Finn and Jordan Burris) Nevada opened up its doors to a handful of newcomers.
While Nevada fell to the Pacific Tigers in the home opener last Friday, they trotted out a couple of new horses, the first being forward Ronnie Stevens. The transfer from Indian Hills Community College only notched one point against Pacific; however, he flashed a post presence that was missing from the Pack last year.
Another player to look out for is freshman guard D.J. Fenner. While the frontcourt is lacking game experience, Fenner is helping to make sure that the backcourt is one of the deepest in the Mountain West. The freshman was perfect against the Tigers, scoring four points.
Nevada added three other big man transfers (Lucas Stivrins, Chris Brown and A.J. West), but only Stivrins saw playing time in the season opener because of a medical injury to Brown and a knee injury to West.
Of course, the Wolf Pack guards will be strong this season, but the biggest x-factor will be if the big guys can hold up their end this year. Nevada now has more bodies to withstand the physical toll of its second Mountain West season, but now all the squad needs is time and experience. Something that head coach David Carter is getting close to running out of.
Chris Boline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.