Men's Hoops to Play Host to Cal Wednesday
CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (3-0)
GAME NO. 5
TELEVISION: Live video streaming at www.nevadawolfpack.com (subscription basis)
Coming off a 79-67 loss at UNLV on Saturday night, the four-time defending Western Athletic Conference champion Nevada Wolf Pack (2-2) returns home on Wednesday, Nov. 28 to take on the California Golden Bears (3-0). Wednesday’s game will tip off at 7:05 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center, where the Wolf Pack has won 13 consecutive games and 25 of its last 26 contests. Nevada’s 13-game home winning streak marks the 12th-longest in the country. The contest with the Golden Bears marks just Nevada’s second home game of the 2007-08 season with the Wolf Pack playing four of its first six games on the road. Nevada returns to the road on Saturday, Dec. 1, traveling to Stockton, Calif., to take on Pacific, before returning home for a four-game homestand that starts on Dec. 8 with Montana State. That homestand will be the longest of the season for the Wolf Pack.
Under the direction of fourth-year head coach Mark Fox, the Wolf Pack returns one starter and a total of eight letterwinners from last year’s school-record 29-5 team, including 2007 first-team All-WAC selection Marcelus Kemp. This year’s team also features four new faces (one redshirt freshman, a sophomore transfer and a pair of true freshmen). Last season, Nevada set the school single-season record for victories with 29, turned in its fourth consecutive year with at least 25 wins, won its fourth straight WAC regular-season title and earned the team’s fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
WINNING AT LAWLOR
Wednesday marks just the second home game of the year for the Wolf Pack, which plays four of its first six on the road this year. Nevada turned in a 67-54 victory over Santa Clara in its home opener on Nov. 17 at Lawlor Events Center
Including its 15-1 record last year and a 1-0 mark this season, the Wolf Pack has turned in a 61-6 record at Lawlor Events Center since the start of the 2003-04 season (.910 winning percentage). In 2005-06, the Wolf Pack turned in a 17-1 record at Lawlor Events Center, setting the school record for home victories in a single season. That bested the 15 victories the team turned in during the 2003-04 season. The Wolf Pack also turned in the second-best home winning percentage in school history in 2005-06 (.944), second only to the perfect 15-0 record the team turned in during that 2003-04 campaign.
The Wolf Pack has won 73.9 percent of its games at Lawlor Events Center since it opened in 1983-84 (261-92 all-time).
NEVADA TOP WAC TEAM OVER LAST FOUR YEARS
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
Sophomore guard Patrick Christopher (6-5, 215) is leading the Bears in scoring at 21.3 points per game and is one of three Cal players averaging 20-plus points. Sophomore forward Ryan Anderson (6-10, 240) is turning in 20.3 points per game, while sophomore guard Jerome Randle scored a career-best 21 points in his only outing of the year Saturday vs. San Diego State. Randle missed the first two games of the year recovering from a kidney biopsy. Senior center DeVon Hardin is leading Cal and ranked third in the nation in rebounding at 14.0 boards per game, while Anderson has grabbed 8.7 rebounds per contest this season.
LAST TIME OUT
UNLV opened the second half with a 12-6 run, including a three-point play from Matt Shaw and a 3-pointer from Adams to take a seven-point lead.
Adams, who scored 11 second-half points, converted consecutive breakaway lay-ups to give the Rebels a 67-57 lead with 5:05 to play.
Corey Bailey had 14 points for the Rebels on 5-for-8 shooting, while Shaw added 13 points and nine rebounds. Joe Darger had 13 points and Curtis Terry had 11.
Nevada scored the game's first six points, but UNLV rallied to score the next eight as the first half produced six ties and seven lead changes.
The Rebels took the lead for good with 1:13 to play in the half when Marcus Lawrence came up with a steal at midcourt and went the distance for a lay-up to cap a 7-2 run.
Sophomore JaVale McGee had a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds (both career highs) for the Wolf Pack, and freshman Armon Johnson had a career-best 15. Senior Marcelus Kemp added 11. The double-double was the first of McGee's career.
PACK NEWS & NOTES
- Nevada sophomore forward JaVale McGee played one season of prep basketball with Cal sophomore guard Jerome Randle in 2005-06. The pair helped Hales Franciscan High School in Chicago to a 19-6 record, a 4-0 league mark and a No. 1 ranking in the city as seniors.
- In addition to matching his career best with 20 points Saturday at UNLV, McGee turned in his first career double-double, pulling down a career-high 13 rebounds. That marks the second double-double of the year for Nevada with senior Demarshay Johnson turning in his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 11 boards Nov. 13 at UC Irvine.
- Nevada has opened the year with a 2-2 record for the just first time since the 2003-04 season. That year, the Wolf Pack opened the season with a win over Vermont before falling at then top-ranked Connecticut (both in the Preseason NIT). Nevada then turned in a 74-62 win at UNLV and dropped games at Portland and Pacific before reeling off wins in its next five games and seven of its next eight. The Wolf Pack finished with a 25-9 record that season, winning its first of four WAC regular-season championships and making the first NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in school history.
- Four members of the Wolf Pack are averaging in doubles figures for scoring this year, led by senior guard Marcelus Kemp who ranks fifth in the WAC at 16.3 points per game. Kemp has led the team in scoring in two of four games this year, including 19 points in the Nov. 11 season opener at UCF and 23 Nov. 17 vs. Santa Clara (both game highs). Sophomore JaVale McGee is adding 13.3 points per game (12th in the WAC), including a career-high 20 at UC Irvine and again at UNLV. True freshman Armon Johnson is third on the squad at 12.0 points per game, while sophomore Brandon Fields is adding 10.3 points per tilt, including a career-best 16 points Nov. 13 at UC Irvine.
- Sophomore JaVale McGee and senior Demarshay Johnson are pacing the squad in rebounding at 7.0 and 6.5 boards per game, respectively. McGee ranks ninth in the WAC, while Johnson is just behind at 10th. McGee has led the team in rebounding in three games this season, including a career-best 13 boards Saturday at UNLV. Johnson has paced the Wolf Pack in two games with a career-high 11 Nov. 13 at UC Irvine.
- With 11 points last week at UNLV, senior Marcelus Kemp turned in his 14th consecutive game in double figures for scoring (all four this year) and the 66th of his career. Dating back to the latter part of the 2005-06 season, Kemp’s sophomore year, he has scored in double figures in 45 of the last 47 games. After leading the team in scoring in 17 games last season, including five of the last six, Kemp has paced the Wolf Pack in scoring in two of four games this season.
- Kemp has scored 72.3 percent of his points in the second halves of games this season (47 of 65 total points). In the season opener at UCF, he turned in 15 of 19 points in the second half, while at UC Irvine, it was 10 of his 12 points in the final 20 minutes. Kemp continued that trend again Nov. 17 against Santa Clara, turning in 16 of his game-high 23 in the second half, and had seven of his 11 in the second session Saturday at UNLV. Kemp played just 11 minutes in the first half at UNLV after picking up two first-half fouls and committed his third foul just 18 seconds into the second half.
- Nevada heads into Wednesday’s game looking to avoid its first back-to-back losses in one season since 2005-06. The Wolf Pack lost its second-round NCAA game to Memphis last year and opened this season with a 63-60 loss at UCF on Nov. 11, but the team has not dropped back-to-back losses in the same season since falling to Fresno State and Utah State in January of 2006. Head coach Mark Fox’s squads have dropped back-to-back games just four times in his three-plus seasons and hold a 15-4 record following a loss in his tenure. Fox’s teams have never lost more than two games in a row since he took the helm of the program in 2004-05.
- Sophomore JaVale McGee continues to pace the WAC in blocked shots with an average of 2.75 per contest, while senior Demarshay Johnson is second in the league in the category with 1.50 per game. McGee turned in a career-high six blocks Nov. 11 at UCF and had three at UC Irvine on Nov. 13. Last season, he ranked second on the team and ninth in the WAC with 0.9 blocked shots per game. He finished with 30 blocks on the year and had swatted a previous career best with four vs. Idaho on Jan. 6, 2007.
- As a team, Nevada paces the conference with an average of 5.50 blocks per game, including a season-best eight Nov. 13 at UC Irvine.
- The Wolf Pack ranks second in the WAC in field goal percentage, making 49.5 percent of its field goal attempts this year. The team has been above 50 percent in two of the last three games, including a season-high 56.9 percent Nov. 13 at UC Irvine. Senior Demarshay Johnson leads the team and ranks ninth in the WAC in field goal percentage at 56.0 percent.
- Nevada also ranks second in the WAC in field goal defense (42.1 percent) and rebounding defense (30.0 rpg). The Wolf Pack is also third in scoring defense, holding its opponents to 66.0 points per game, including a season-low 54 points by Santa Clara on Nov. 17. Nevada has won 47 of its last 49 games when holding its opponent to 60 points or less, including a 13-1 record in 2005-06 and a 6-1 mark last year.
- After leading the WAC and ranking 10th in the nation in three-point shooting at 40.6 percent, the Wolf Pack has struggled to find its touch from beyond the arc early this season. Nevada checks in at eighth in the WAC at just 29.6 percent from three-point land this season (16-54), while senior Marcelus Kemp, the team’s best long-range shooter at 40.6 percent last year, has made just 22.7 of his three-point attempts so far this season (5-22).
- Nevada does have two players ranked in the top 10 in the WAC in three-point shooting in sophomore Brandon Fields at 40.0 percent (4-10, 8th) and freshman Armon Johnson at 38.5 percent (5-13, T10th).
- Nevada has outrebounded two teams (UC Irvine and UNLV) and been outrebounded by the narrowest of margins in its two other games this year (40-39 UCF and 27-25 vs. Santa Clara). Against UC Irvine, the Wolf Pack outboarded the Anteaters 43-20, including a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass, while the team turned in a 44-33 advantage over UNLV on Saturday. Nevada is ranked third in the WAC in rebounding margin at +7.7 boards per contest this year. Last season, Nevada beat its opponents on the boards in 27 of 34 games (24-3 record) and led the league in rebounding margin (+6.5).
- The Wolf Pack features three players ranked in the league’s top 10 for assists this year. Sophomore Brandon Fields is tied for fourth in the WAC at 4.0 assists per game after tying his career best with five assists Saturday at UNLV, while true freshman Armon Johnson and senior Marcelus Kemp are tied for 10th in the league at 2.75 assists per contest. Fields also ranks fourth in the WAC with a 1.78 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Sophomore forward JaVale McGee, sophomore guard Brandon Fields and true freshman guard Armon Johnson all made their first career starts for the Wolf Pack on Nov. 11 at UCF. Johnson marked the first Wolf Pack true freshman to start a game since Ramon Sessions started 31 of 32 games in 2004-05. Sessions was named the WAC Freshman of the Year that season.
KEMP NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR NOV. 12-18
WOLF PACK ONE OF TWO SCHOOLS WITH FOUR STRAIGHT LEAGUE TITLES, NCAA BIDS
FOX RETURNS FOR FOURTH SEASON
Fox has been named the Don Haskins Coach of the Year in each of his first three seasons as Nevada’s head coach to become the first coach in WAC history to earn the honor in three consecutive years. Last year, he was also one of 15 finalists for the 2007 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award and was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 13 Coach of the Year.
PACK PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN WAC BY COACHES AND MEDIA
Kraemer comes to Nevada after transferring from Weatherford College in Weatherford, Texas. A 6-4, 200-pound shooting guard from Kemah, Texas, he was named the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year and earned first-team all-conference honors as a freshman. He finished second in the league in scoring at 18.0 points per game and was fourth in rebounding at 8.3 boards per contest as a freshman but did not play in 2006-07 due to a shoulder injury.
Cooke is a 6-5, 200-pound forward who comes to Nevada from the state of North Carolina. A native of Charlotte and a graduate of Christ School in Arden, he was a two-time all-state selection and the 2007 Western North Carolina Player of the Year after leading his team to a pair of state championships. His school's career leading scorer, he averaged 19.1 points and 6.5 rebounds as a senior. The two-time Northern 4A Regional Co-Player of the Year in each of his last two seasons, Johnson set the state career scoring record with 2,616 points while at nearby Hug High School in Reno. The 6-3, 190-pound guard was a two-time all-state selection and led the Hawks to the Sierra League championship and a state semifinals appearance in 2006. Johnson averaged 33.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a senior.
KEMP NAMED TO WOODEN, NAISMITH WATCH LISTS
Kemp joins Utah State's Jaycee Carroll as the two WAC representatives on the preseason watch lists for both honors. A 2007 first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection, Kemp ranked second on the team and third in the conference in scoring last season at 18.5 points per game. He started 33 of 34 games for the Wolf Pack and ranked among the league's leaders in field goal, three-point and free throw shooting one season ago. Kemp has started 55 of 105 games in his Wolf Pack career and ranks in the Nevada career top 10 for scoring, three-pointers made, three-point percentage and free throw percentage.
The Wooden Award watch list is composed of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball’s most coveted trophy. These top 50 candidates are comprised of returning players. In January, the Wooden Award committee will release the Midseason Top 30 list, followed by the distribution of the national ballot to more than 1,000 voters in early March. The 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the Tuesday after the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament is completed. The 2008 award ceremony will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of April 11-13, 2008. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the Award’s ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university’s general scholarship fund. One of these five players will be named the John R. Wooden Award Player of the Year at a live televised announcement from The Club.
The Naismith Trophy watch list, which consists of 50 players, was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selector's, which based its preseason criteria on player performances from last season and expectations for the 2007-08 season. There were 17 seniors and 17 juniors on the preseason list, along with 16 sophomores. In January, the Naismith Trophy voting academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, will narrow its pre-season list to the Top 30 players in the nation. Those players, and others who distinguish themselves throughout the season, will be eligible for the final ballot in March. Beginning in mid-February, CBS' "AT&T at the Half" will feature a weekly Naismith Trophy update highlighting the players in contention. In April, the Naismith Trophy winner will be recognized at the NCAA Mens Final Four in San Antonio.
In the last three-plus seasons since the start of the 2004-05 campaign, the Wolf Pack has tallied a 32-9 record in road contests (78.0 winning percentage).
This year, Nevada will open the season with four of its first six contests away from home, beginning with its season-opening two-game road trip to UCF and UC Irvine and trips to UNLV and Pacific. The team racked up over 5,800 frequent flier miles in five days to open the season, traveling 2,833 miles from Reno to Orlando, 2,496 miles from Orlando to Anaheim for a game two days later and 544 miles from Anaheim back to Reno.
Last season, Nevada opened the year with four of its first seven games away from home (three road wins and a neutral-site victory), while in 2005-06, the team played five of its first six games away from the friendly confines of the Lawlor Events Center (four road wins and a loss on a neutral floor to 2006 NCAA runner-up UCLA). That year, Nevada traveled over 10,000 miles in 11 days in a four-game road stand that included trips to Vermont, UNLV, Kansas and Pacific.
NEVADA IN SEASON OPENERS
Including this year’s game at UCF, the Wolf Pack now holds a 52-43 all-time record in season openers, while fourth-year head coach Mark Fox is 3-1 in his first four season openers. Last year, Nevada turned in an 85-62 victory over Alaska-Anchorage on Nov. 10, 2006 at Lawlor Events Center. In 2005-06, Nevada started the year with an 82-74 win over Sacramento State on Nov. 19, 2005 at Lawlor Events Center, while the team downed Colorado-Colorado Springs 88-33 on Nov. 20, 2004 to give Fox his first win as a collegiate head coach.
FOUR-TIME WAC CHAMPIONS
SINGLE-SEASON RECORD FOR WINS
NEVADA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Last season, the Wolf Pack downed No. 24 Creighton 77-71 in overtime in the first round before falling to fifth-ranked Memphis in the second. In 2006, Nevada fell to Montana in the NCAA first round, while in 2005, Nevada advanced to the NCAA second round, defeating Texas before falling to eventual national runner-up Illinois in Indianapolis, Ind. In 2004, Nevada made the school's first trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, knocking off Michigan State and Gonzaga in the first and second rounds in Seattle, Wash., before falling to eventual NCAA runner-up Georgia Tech in the regional semifinals in St. Louis, Mo.
WOLF PACK INKS TOP 25 CLASS IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
Nevada’s fall signing class is listed among the best in the nation. Rivals.com has the Wolf Pack’s recruiting class ranked 22nd in the nation, while Scout.com lists the Wolf Pack 23rd in the country. Rivals.com also listed the best signing player at each position for each conference, and Giles was listed as the best point guard coming into the Western Athletic Conference, McLaughlin as the best shooting guard and Babbitt as the best power forward.
A 6-8, 220-pound power forward, Babbitt comes to Nevada from Galena High School in Reno. Last year, he was named the 2007 Northern 4A Region Co-Player of the Year with current Wolf Pack freshman Armon Johnson. He averaged 27.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game and led Galena to the 2007 Nevada state championship last season. Babbitt was voted No. 3 on the Long Beach Press-Telegram’s prestigious “Best of the West” team and is listed as the 24th-best player in the country by Scout.com.
Giles is a 6-3, 180-pound guard out of Kimball High School in Dallas, Texas. He was named the District 14 4A Newcomer of the Year last season after leading his team to a 23-10 record. Giles averaged 10.5 points and 6.3 assists per game as a junior and is listed as the 14th-best player in the state of Texas by TexasHoops.com.
McLaughlin is a 6-5, 175-pound guard from Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Wash. He was the second-leading scorer in King County 4A last year with 24 points per game. McLaughlin is listed among the top 100 players in the country by the national recruiting services, including the 16th-best shooting guard in the country by Scout.com, and also checked in at No. 14 on this year’s Long Beach Press-Telegram’s “Best in the West” team.
The university and the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) will play host to the tournaments at the 11,536-seat Lawlor Events Center, located on the university campus in Reno. The 2009 tournament will be played March 10-14, and the 2010 tournament will run from March 9-13.
This year’s remaning luncheons will take place on Monday, Dec. 3, Monday, January 7 and Monday, Feb. 4. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the cost is $13 per person at the door.
The luncheons will feature a gourmet buffet prepared by the Silver Legacy, and the program includes game recaps and previews by Fox as well as appearances by other Wolf Pack coaches and staff.