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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

October 25th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Nevada Wolf Pack

 

Overall Rank: #20

Conference Rank: #1 WAC

 

2005-06: 27-6, 13-3, 1st

2005-06 postseason: NCAA

 

With Nick Fazekas returning for his senior season, Nevada may have its best team in years.  Even without Fazekas and his 21.8 points and 10.4 rebounds, the Wolf Pack would battle for the top spot in the WAC.  With him, Coach Mark Fox and company are aiming for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

 

Whos Out: Fazekas does lose a couple of his frontcourt mates with the graduations of part-time starters Mo Charlo and Chad Bell.  Charlo averaged 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds during his senior campaign, and Bell added 2.6 points and 2.9 boards. 

 

Whos In: Some newcomers will be asked to help replace Charlo and Bell.  JaVale McGee, Matt LaGrone and Richie Phillips will give Coach Fox plenty of options.  McGee, a 6-11 Chicago product, is mostly just potential right now, but with a little more strength and experience, McGee could end up to be the next in line of quality big men at Nevada.   LaGrone will also benefit from watching Fazekas work his magic before the 6-8, 215 pound power forward will be asked to contribute too much.  Phillips, who redshirted last year, is a great athlete and can get to the glass with ease.  With a year on the sidelines in Reno, Phillips may end up being the newcomer to make the biggest impact, at least early in the season.  Small forward Tyrone Hanson and shooting guard Brandon Fields will add some more depth to the wings. 

 

Who to Watch: We all know that Fazekas is good for 20 and 10.  Its the play of the guards that is underappreciated and will make the difference between a trip to the Sweet Sixteen and an early trip home.  Ramon Sessions isnt a major scoring threat, but he has proven to be a great team leader on the floor.  Sessions was forced into action as a freshman two years, and now as a junior, the expectations on him are greater.  Marcelus Kemp and Kyle Shiloh are the main shooting threats from long range.  Kemp missed the 2004-2005 campaign with a knee injury and picked up right where he left off last year averaging 15.0 points per game.  Shiloh, who is the underappreciated player in an underappreciated backcourt, quietly put up 8.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a junior.  There might be too much talent on the floor for Shiloh to find much recognition for his senior season, but hell be on the court making plays all year long.  Lyndale Burleson is a decent option off the bench and will once again spend the season spelling the perimeter starters.

 

Final Projection: The only real question with Nevada is the spot next to Fazekas up front.  Demarshay Johnson is expected to get the nod after starting 16 games last season.  The increase in playing time for Johnson raises foul trouble concerns, but the 6-9 senior is a solid rebounder and there are plenty of options for the depth in the frontcourt with the trio of newcomers and Denis Ikovlev and David Ellis.  Ikovlev and Ellis have had to wait their turn, but both have the potential to be more than just roleplayers.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Ramon Sessions, Junior, Guard, 4.7 points per game

Kyle Shiloh, Senior, Guard, 8.7 points per game

Marcelus Kemp, Junior, Guard, 15.0 points per game

Demarshay Johnson, Senior, Forward, 5.0 points per game

Nick Fazekas, Senior, Forward, 21.8 points per game

21 Memphis Complete List 19 Southern Illinois

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