The Nevada Basketball team just completed its best season in a decade, capped with a Round of 64 exit in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost a hard-fought battle against an experienced Iowa State Cyclones team. Coming into this season, expectations were at an all-time high as the Wolf Pack returned most of their CBI Championship winning team, headlined by super-sophomore Cameron Oliver who decided to return to Reno after testing the draft waters in the offseason.
It was also the year that saw a lot of the highly touted sit-out players that Eric Musselman got from the transfer wire finally become eligible. Jordan Caroline, Marcus Marshall and Leland King were all able to showcase their talent, with Caroline and Marshall turning into all-conference players. Musselman was also able to bring in two four-star high school recruits in Josh Hall and Devearl Ramsey, who were slowly integrated into the rotation as the season progressed.
During the annual media day, the players were asked what the team’s number one goal was for the season and each promptly replied: Make the NCAA Tournament. The Wolf Pack was able to accomplish their ultimate goal but was also able to win its first ever Mountain West Conference Regular Season and Conference Tournament Championships. After a magical season wherein the Wolf Pack was able to achieve all of their preseason aspirations, it is hard to imagine how much better they can get. My prediction is that with the influx of talent coming into the program for next season, Wolf Pack fans will be in for a treat should the current makeup of the team remain.
This incoming class will be the most decorated class in Nevada Basketball history. As high school seniors, four of the five transferees were consensus 4* recruits, with three being ranked in the ESPN 100 recruiting rankings.
Cody Martin and Caleb Martin are versatile power forwards who will be the stars of this class. They were major contributors to an NCAA Tournament team at North Caroline State and will most likely be starters in this upcoming season. Kendall Stephens is a sweet shooting combo guard/forward who will look to fill the three-point shooting void that Marshall leaves. He was a highly heralded recruit in high school who will give the Wolf Pack some much needed scoring and playmaking off the bench. Hallice Cooke, who was deemed medically ineligible at the beginning of this past season, will be making his return. He was originally signed to Oregon State before transferring to Iowa State. Finally, Shawntrez Davis is regarded as one of the most talented frontcourt players in the junior college ranks. Davis should give the Wolf Pack more frontcourt depth, an aspect that they were sorely lacking these past two seasons.
Add in the returning players led by Caroline and junior guard Lindsey Drew and the Wolf Pack will be absolutely loaded with depth. Factor in the possible returns of Oliver and Elijah Foster, who was suspended after being charged with domestic abuse, Musselman will have one of the best rosters not only in the Mountain West but in the West Coast.
With much of the latest news regarding the Wolf Pack surrounding Musselman’s departure, most don’t realize how much potential this upcoming roster will have. If the Wolf Pack are able to keep the roster together, I expect them to make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. Sans Oliver, I still expect them to at least match this season’s appearance in the Big Dance.