F/C: Devonte Elliott (Jr)/Chiekh Alioune Fall (Jr)
PF: Kevin Panzer (Jr)/Richard Bell (Fr)/Cole Huff (Fr)
G/F: Jerry Evans (Jr)/Jordan Burris (Jr)
SG: Malik Story (Sr)/Patrick Nyeko (Sr)/Marqueze Coleman (Fr)
PG: Deonte Burton (Jr)/Jordan Finn (Jr)/Keith Fuetsch (Sr)
Gone: F/C-Dario Hunt, F-Olek Czyz
Despite dominating the WAC in their swan-song season, the Nevada Wolfpack missed out on the NCAA Tournament last year since the team was upset in the conference tourney. Now, David Carter's team transitions to the Mountain West Conference where the level of competition certainly picks up.
Nevada will become a very guard dominant team this season having lost their starting frontcourt of Dario Hunt and Olek Czyz. Leading the charge will be 2012 WAC Player of the Year Deonte Burton, who was tops on the Wolfpack in scoring and assists a year ago. Former Indiana Hoosier Malik Story is back to flank Burton in the backcourt. Story connected on 41.6% of his triple tries, which certainly helps take some of the pressure off Burton.
Jerry Evans Jr. also returns to the starting lineup. The 6-8 wing makes his biggest impact on the defensive end due to his length and ability to guard multiple positions. Jordan Burris is a similar build and could move into the starting five after being a key reserve last season. If that is the case, Carter will have more of a four guard lineup, that doesn't have the physicality inside of a year ago, but will certainly bring more versatility and athleticism to the floor. Senior Patrick Nyeko could also step into that spot, but either way, he and Burris will be used as valuable rotation players.
The more likely scenario will see Kevin Panzer and Devonte Elliott replace Hunt and Czyz in the starting frontcourt. Panzer has the ability to stretch defenses with his outside shooting, while the 6-10 Elliott will try to make his biggest impact by protecting the rim and cleaning up the glass.
With no true inside presence, expect junior college transfer Cheikh Alioune Fall to play a significant role off the bench. The 250-pounder is a needed banger inside but also has decent range on his jumper. Redshirt freshman Richard Bell and true freshman Cole Huff add more depth inside.
Nevada also picked up a transfer in UTEP guard Michael Perez, who must sit out this season per NCAA rules. His addition to the roster could be huge for the 2013-14 season if Burton decides to turn pro after this year.
Player to Watch: Deonte Burton, PG
If Nevada is going to compete at a high level against the likes of San Diego State, UNLV, and New Mexico in the MWC, Burton must be the ringleader. He is a physical guard who is at his best off the bounce, but needs to improve his shot selection if he is going to take his game up a notch,- which the Wolfpack will certainly need.
@Black&Gold Problem is that you see Eli and Cobi as solid backups. Truth is that Eli is number 2 and Cobi is our number 3. They aren't backups, but starters. So what you're saying is that we have no true number 2, but see no need in drafting a receiver? What D line depth are you thinking? DE or NT? Have you seen what LT Walton has done? Remember he's only in his second year.
@Steelr Fan 3:16 Coates was supposed to be plan B at number 2 with the uncertainty of Bryant. You make the case that he's a one trick pony and not a 50 catch per season wide-out, so does that scream out as a option for number 2? What gives you hope about Green? I hope he does end up staying on the field, but so far in his career he hasn't be able to do that. I like James, but if he goes down you trust Grimble? He can't block, and hasn't been reliable in the pass game. He did mess his ribs up with a nice touchdown reception a few weeks ago. That still doesn't mean he can pick up and be an impact if James would not be able to go. We have 7 picks in this draft. The first I hope goes OLB. We are good at CB with Burnes and @[email protected] will be challenged hopefully by Golson. Loser of the battle would be a good slot corner. Golson lacks length so they may throw him in the slot role anyways. LT Walton has been more than solid at DE. If Heyward or Tuitt can't go a few weeks during the season then I have faith in LT to get the job done. I like Chickillo and Moates at OLB. They have started and played solid. Williams and Dirty Red at backup ILB is good depth that any team would love. Safety we have Golden and Dangerfield. Both have started any didn't miss a beat. Offensive line? Yeah, we're good there. You say we're good at tight end and WR, so with or final 6 picks we're going what exactly? A RB would be nice with Williams age. A backup that won't see the field unless God forbid Bell gets hurt is a wasted pick anywhere in the top 4 rounds. Maybe 5th would be suffice. That's 2 picks gone and 5 to go. A backup QB of the future would be nice. Four to go. A special teamed lol? Warren, Boswell, and Berry are really good.