Nov. 2, 2012
After one of the most successful seasons in school history the University of Nevada basketball team will mark its 100th year of basketball by joining the Mountain West for the 2012-13 campaign. Last year, the Wolf Pack posted a 28-7 overall mark and captured its sixth Western Athletic Conference title fourth outright, going13-1 in conference play.
The 28 wins were the second most in school history, more than double the 13 the team had the previous year, making the Pack one of the most improved teams in the country. Nevada continued a trend of success during the 2011-12 season; winning 20 or more games for the eighth time in nine seasons, made its ninth postseason appearances in 10 years, fifth National Invitation Tournament appearance and reached the quarterfinals for the first time and tied the school record with 16 consecutive victories.
Head coach David Carter was named the Don Haskins WAC Coach of the Year and received a contract extension through 2017. Sophomore guard Deonte Burton was named the WAC Player of the Year and earned AP honorable mention All-America honors. It was the sixth time a Pack player earned WAC Player of the Year honors and the third time a Nevada sophomore grabbed the honor.
The 2012-13 squad returns three starters and 10 letterwinners from last season. Gone are frontcourt standouts Dario Hunt and Olek Czyz.
Hunt was three-time All-WAC Defensive team selection and twice selected to the WAC second team. He averaged near a double-double, scoring 10.3 points and grabbing 9.7 rebounds per game along with a conference best 2.4 blocks per game.
Czyz was a first-team All-WAC selection his senior year. He was third on the team, averaging 13.8 points per game and ranked second with 6.5 rebounds per contest. He shot a team best 54 percent from the field.
The strength of the Pack lies within the backcourt as starters, Deonte Burton, Malik Story and Jerry Evans, Jr. return. Letterwinners Patrick Nyeko, Keith Fuetsch, Jordan Burris, Jordan Finn and Brice Crook are all back. Highly touted freshman Marqueze Coleman joins the veteran group of backcourt players.
Burton, the 2012 WAC Player of the Year and AP honorable mention All-America selection, averaged a team-best 14.8 points, 4.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game a year ago. The junior shot 40 percent from the field and 37 from behind the arc and was named to the preseason MW media team.
Story, a senior, was second on the team, scoring 14.1 points per game and ranked 24th nationally making 42 percent of his three-point attempts. He was selected to the USBWA District VIII first team, NABC District 6 second team and the WAC honorable mention squad.
The Pack's top wing defender, Evans, Jr. joined Hunt on the All-WAC Defensive team. The 6-8 junior averaged 6.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest. He shot 45 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range.
The 6-6 Nyeko returns for his senior season after playing in all 35 games off the bench a year ago and averaging 1.5 points per game. He is one of the Pack's top perimeter defenders.
Finn, a junior, took on the challenge of playing point guard last season after working primarily at shooting guard his freshman year. As the primary backup to Burton, he averaged 1.4 points per contest in 32 games.
Fuetsch, a senior, served as a backup point guard again last season, seeing time in 19 games off the bench and averaging 1.4 points per game in six minutes of action per contest.
Appearing in 34 games last season, Burris returns for his junior campaign this year. The 6-7 wing averaged 2.6 points per game in just over 11 minutes per outing. His 2.6 points per game ranked second among the reserves.
Crook earned a spot on the roster as a walk-on a year ago and played in seven games off the bench.
Colman helped Bishop Alemany High School to the California Division III state championship his senior year. The 6-3 guard averaged 21.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a senior. He was named the Cal-Hi Sports/ESPN High School Division III California Player of the Year and received the prestigious John Wooden Award as the Division III California Player of the Year. In his first year at Nevada, he could see time at either backcourt position.
With the graduation of Hunt and Czyz, the Pack coaches will look to juniors Kevin Panzer and Devonte Elliott to fill those two frontcourt spots. Redshirt freshman Richard Bell, junior-college transfer Ali Fall and freshman Cole Huff will also battle for time this season.
The 6-9 Panzer was the Pack's top scorer off the bench last season, averaging 2.9 points per game and grabbing 2.5 rebounds in just over 12 minutes per game. From the field, he shot 39 percent and 31 from three-point range appearing in 34 games as he missed one with an injury.
Elliott played in all 35 games last season and averaged 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game in just under eight minutes per contest. The 6-10 forward shot 37 percent from the field and blocked 14 shots on the year.
The 6-9 Bell practiced and traveled with the team but sat out the season as a redshirt. He adds depth to the frontcourt and should see time in his second year in the program.
Fall is a 6-9, 250-pound big man who comes to the Pack after two years at Barstow Community College (Calif.). The All-Foothill Conference selection averaged 13 points and eight rebounds last season. Originally from Thies, Senegal, he played prep basketball in Japan.
Huff is a 6-8, 205-pound forward who averaged 20.8 points and 14.6 rebounds his senior year at Campbell Hall High School in North Hollywood, Calif. A first-team All-Alpha League and CIF selection, he helped CHHS to the sectional semifinals and a state playoff berth.
The 2012-13 schedule will once again challenge the Wolf Pack with games against schools from the Pac 12, Conference USA, Big West, Missouri Valley and West Coast Conferences, in addition to competing in the Mountain West for the first time. The Pack will host 17 home games at Lawlor Events Center this season, a facility where Nevada has won close to 75 percent of its games since it opened 1983.
Nevada begins the season at UC Irvine on Nov. 10, then returns home host the World Vision Classic, Nov. 16-18. The Pack will welcome Cal State Fullerton, Green Bay and Southern Utah to Lawlor for the three-day event.
A trip across the country to take on Conference USA foe Marshall in Huntington, W. Va., is followed by home games with UC Davis and Drake. The Drake contest is part of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge.
After a trip to Pacific, the Pack plays its first of two road games at a Pacific-12 school in Seattle versus Washington on Dec. 8.
After returning from the Pacific Northwest, Cal Poly, San Francisco, Cal State San Marcos and Yale will be in Reno in December. The second Pac 12 road trip has Nevada at Oregon on Dec. 31 to close out 2012.
The MW Race
The new-look MW includes Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming along with the Wolf Pack. The MW schedule has each team playing home-and-home games to comprise the 16-game schedule.
The MW sent a league record-tying six men's teams to postseason play in 2012. New Mexico earned the automatic bid while Colorado State, San Diego State and UNLV received at-large bids to the 68-team NCAA Tournament field. Wyoming and TCU participated in the College Basketball Invitational.
Nevada plays its first Mountain West game at Air Force on Jan. 9. Wyoming, San Diego State and Boise State play at Lawlor in January while the Pack plays at Fresno State and UNLV the first month of the conference season.
Colorado State, Air Force and Fresno State are in Reno in February. The Pack plays at New Mexico, Wyoming, San Diego State and Boise State the second month of 2013.
March gets underway with UNLV and New Mexico at home and the regular season concludes at Colorado State on Mar. 6.
The MW Championship takes place Mar. 13-16 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. All games of the MW Tournament will be shown on national television. The first two days of the tournament will air on CBSSN while the championship is scheduled Saturday, Mar. 16 on CBS.
PRESEASON ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST TEAM
||San Diego State
||San Diego State
Preseason Player of the Year
Jamaal Franklin, Jr., G, San Diego State
Preseason Co-Newcomers of the Year
Dwayne Polee II, So., F, San Diego State
Bryce Dejean-Jones, So., G, UNLV
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV
||Team (1st-place votes)
||San Diego State (10)