2007 Nevada Wolfpack Basketball Preview
It was a first-place conference finish for the Nevada Wolf Pack (29- 5, overall, 14- 2 WAC) in 2006- 2007, securing the team a trip to the NCAA tournament. After beating Creighton 77- 71 in round one, the Wolf Pack lost to Memphis 78- 62 in round two. This season, coach Mark Fox (81- 18 over three years with Nevada and overall) sees only one starter return, making folks wonder if he can get his team back into March Madness coverage in 2008.
Last year’s stats will have a tough time being duplicated by this year’s club. First in rebounding margin at plus-6.5 and second in scoring with 77.4 PPG, Nevada had a fine offense in 2006- 2007. The Wolf Pack was second in assists with 16.7 APG and fourth in scoring-D as they allowed opponents only 67.5 PPG. The club’s .406 from the three-point arc was first in the conference, and their .756 made them second in frees. Hitting .484 from the floor made them tops in that area and in some college basketball betting lines.
With the loss of two starting forwards who were responsible for a total of 19.7 PPG and 14.4 RPG, the Wolf Pack needs a whole lot of guys to step-up. Senior forward Demarshay Johnson returns from a year of wearing a redshirt. As a part-time starter in his junior year, Johnson averaged 5.0 PPG and 4.2 RPG. Forward JaVale McGee (3.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG) has a whole lot of talent that can be utilized inside. Senior center David Ellis (2.2 PPG, 1.8 RPG) will be asked to contribute big time.
Guard Marcelus Kemp (18.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.4 APG), a senior who opted out of the NBA draft, is the only returning starter. Kemp, who earned first-team All-WAC honors, is a fine scorer. Lyndale Burleson (1.7 PPG, 2.2 APG), a junior, will start at the point. Sophomore Brandon Fields (2.1 PPG, 0.9 RPG) will be asked to contribute more.
Fox certainly has his work cut out for him. The coach is excited about the young talent, but he also knows that the experienced guys will be missed. At the very least, everyone will be motivated to prove that they can win and get back into the NCAA brackets.