By Brandon Cruz
Great college basketball teams are not solely built upon fresh high-school recruits. Transfers are becoming a popular commodity in the NCAA. According to a Sports Illustrated article titled “Inside the up-transferring boom: Which schools are winning & losing,” “the 2016-17 season … will set a new record for freshly eligible up-transfers.” Nevada features three freshly eligible transfers this season with senior Marcus Marshall from Missouri State, sophomore Jordan Caroline from Southern Illinois and junior Leland King II from Brown.
Marshall is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard from St. Paul, Minnesota, with incredible talent and leadership abilities on both sides of the ball. He can play either the off-guard or the point, and he doesn’t really care where he’s playing as long he’s helping the team. Marshall is also an amazing 3-point shooter, shooting 45.6 percent behind the arc. Champaign, Illinois, native Jordan Caroline is a 6-foot-7 forward who exploded his freshman year while playing basketball at Southern Illinois. He was named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman team after a stellar freshman campaign, averaging 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds a game. Lastly, we have Leland King II, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward originally from Inglewood, California. King II played two seasons at Brown University where he progressed tremendously from his freshman to sophomore seasons, improving his average point production by five points.
According to them, all of these well-rounded transfers found their way to Nevada because of one man: Eric Musselman.
“I chose Nevada because Musselman. Talking to him on the phone, he was just different from all the other coaches. Musselman is the type who keeps it real with you. I trusted his word,” Marshall said.
“The trust I had in Muss would be the biggest factor. It was where I felt I could fit in best and the coach I had the most trust in developing me as a player,” Caroline said.
“Coach Musselman. His history and player development. I knew if I came here, I’d really get better and have the best chance at accomplishing my goals to play in the NBA. Coming here I felt like I could get all that I needed,” King said.
The three eligible transfers have a certain love for coach Muss, seeing him as a man who says it how it is and can help them achieve their dreams.
Along with their reasoning to join the Wolf Pack, Marshall, Caroline and King all have specific talents and intangibles they bring to the team, but there seems to be a resounding consensus that they just want to help the team win and will play whatever role necessary to make that happen. “Helping the team out any way I can, really” is how Caroline described it.
Of all the transfers, senior Marshall has been around college basketball the longest. Because of this he’s expected to take on a leadership role of sorts.
“I try to [be a team leader] as much as I can. Especially if someone tries to pick my brain about it. Like a couple of freshmen, Josh and Devearl. We’re pretty close and we talk about stuff like that,” Marshall said.
With Marshall, Caroline and King now eligible to play this season, Nevada has increased its firepower along with a great presence in the paint. The team is poised for a tough road win in its bout against No. 17 St. Mary’s College on Friday, Nov. 11.
Brandon Cruz can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.