As many fans already know, three of Nevada’s powerhouse players Caleb Martin, Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline have declared for the NBA Draft without an agent. Since neither the twins nor Caroline chose to be represented by an agent, all three have the ability to come back and return to Nevada for their senior seasons if they choose not to go into the draft by the NBA’s withdrawal date on June 11.
Before the Martin twins and Caroline declared for the draft ESPN put out a “Way too early AP Top 25 Poll” with Nevada ranked in the top 10. Now it’s quite obvious that Caroline and the Martin’s played a key role in Nevada’s high rank going into the ’18-’19 NCAA basketball season.
If none of them decide to come back to Nevada, the Wolf Pack would be losing its top three scorers. Caleb accounted for 680 points, Caroline for 655 and Cody for 504. It won’t be easy for Nevada to find players with that type of scoring power from any recruit fresh out of high school but even transfers Tre’shawn Thurman, Corey Henson, Nisré Zouzoua and Jazz Johnson will have a tough time emulating these kinds of numbers in their first eligible season with the Pack.
Obviously, points are important to any basketball team. Leading scorers are revered and looked toward in clutch moments when a basket is needed the most. While points play a key role in wins, so do rebounds. Limiting opposing teams second-chance points and getting extra shots up on offensive rebounds is just as necessary to a team’s ability to win basketball games.
With the possible permanent exit of Caroline and the Martin twins, Nevada would be losing its three most prolific rebounders last season. Caroline led the team with 319, Cody was about 100 rebounds back with 225 and Caleb was third on the list with 194. Size has always been an issue for Nevada. The Pack doesn’t use centers, relying heavily on its forwards to get their hands dirty and fight hard in the paint. This has proven to be relatively successful, but if we look back at Nevada’s first game of the NCAA tournament against the Longhorns they were dominated in the paint by freshman Mohamed Bamba until he was fouled out late in the second half. Nevada’s best upgrades as far as size go come with K.J. Hymes 6-foot-11 and Vince Lee 6-foot-9 who are incoming freshmen, but they’ll still need to get used to the game speed of college games.
Now the biggest question that remains is, how likely is it that they retract their NBA draft bid and come back for their final season at Nevada? In my eyes, Caleb is already gone. Many drafts have him going late in the first round and I just don’t think he’ll turn that kind of offer down. Cody and Caroline are far more likely to return for a second season with Nevada. While both of these players also put up impressive numbers this season and were key in Nevada’s deep NCAA tournament run, their offensive production didn’t compare to Caleb’s. Cody would most likely get picked up mid second round and Caroline would go late second or early third. I believe they’ll come back for another season at Nevada to strengthen their draft stock for the ’18-’19 NBA draft.