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2012-13 College Basketball Season Preview: Nevada

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Nevada Wolfpack (Last Year: 26-6, 13-1 in WAC)

2012-13 Projected Depth Chart:

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

2012-13 Outlook:
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.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/24 at Marshall
  • 12/1 vs. Drake (MWC/MVC Challenge)
  • 12/8 at Washington
  • 12/31 at Oregon

    Predicted MWC Finish: 4th

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