Nevada Basketball, Best Case/Worst Case

Nevada basketball will have a nearly entirely new look this coming season, especially in the front court, where head coach David Carter cleaned house and restocked with a host of new frontline players. If Nevada is going to be successful this season, several players will need to have a good season, not just Deonte Burton.

In part one of our two part series, we take a look at the best and worst case scenarios for each player on the Nevada roster.

Marqueze Coleman
Last Year Review:
Coleman came into his freshman year with a lot of hype and whether or not he lived up to that hype is up for debate. Playing in all 31 games, Coleman only averaged 4.5 points and 1.2 rebounds in 14 minutes a game primarily backing up Deonte Burton. Coleman did start the final two games of the year, and scored double digits in both. Lineups last year had Coleman and Burton on the floor at the same time, so look for that lineup again this year.

Best Case Scenario for 2013-2014:
The biggest strength for Coleman is his athleticism and ability to get the rim. Often times last year Coleman would be able to get to the rim and draw fouls. In fact 45% of his points came from the free throw line. So for this coming year, whether Coleman starts or comes off the bench, his ability to finish at the rim will need to again be strength. In the best-case scenario, Coleman would also fix his jump shot which last year looked ugly and uncomfortable. As a guard he only made one three pointer on the year. If he can make teams respect his jump shot, it should open up lanes for his driving. For Coleman, a year with 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists a game would be a complete success, especially if he comes off the bench.

Worst Case Scenario for 2013-2014
Coleman doesn't develop a jump shot. His development stalls sitting behind Burton and a crowd backcourt. He can't find a position, whether it is point guard or shooting guard. He continues to be erratic at times with his dribbling. These all could happen and all would be bad news for Nevada. Coleman has some of the best potential on the team, but needs to develop as the likely predecessor to Burton. The worst year for Coleman would be if he made no progression and again averaged only 4.5 points and 1.2 rebounds a game and could not establish a jumper.

Jerry Evans Jr.

Last Year in Review:
Evans, a junior last year, played in 29 games last year, starting 22, and missed two due to a wrist injury. He remained the best perimeter defender on the team, and just about always guarded the opposing teams best player. He also was the leading rebounder on the team, with 5.4 rebounds a game, and the third leading scoring with 7.5 points a game.

Best Case Scenario for 2013-2014
During his sophomore and freshman years Evans was an above average shooter from the corners, but struggled mightily last year. Most of his points come off either jump shots from the corners or offensive puts backs, which is a role he fills perfectly. Jerry is not a player whose improved impact will show up in the stat sheet, because as an offensive player he has reached his ceiling. His biggest improvement must be in leadership and defense. Stats wise, another 7 points and 5 rebound year would be successful as well as earning a spot on the all Mountain West Conference defensive team.

Worst Case Scenario for 2013-2014
Evans numbers won't increase a ton this year and also won't decrease a ton this year. The worst possible outcome would be if Evans reinjured his wrist, which would take away some depth from the backcourt. There is a possibility that Evans could be asked to play as a power forward in small lineups, and he doesn't have the strength to play that position in the Mountain West. Overall, Evans stats shouldn't take much of a dip in any scenario, but could go down to 5 points and 4 rebounds a game.

A.J. West
Last Year in Review
West comes to the Nevada via transfer from Monroe College in New York. He has used two years of eligibility, so will be a junior for the Wolf Pack. Last year West averaged 10.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 5.1 blocks per game. He was a dominant defensive and offensive force around the rim against lowly competition. West has never encountered the same type of physical athletes that he will see in Mountain West competition.

Best Case Scenario for 2013-2014
First West must earn a starting spot by proving he can handle the improved competition in the MWC. Because of the outgoing transfers of Kevin Panzer and Devonte Elliot, West should be able to compete for the starting power forward or center spot depending on whether or not Coach David Carter wants to play small or not. West will need to do what the bigs last year were unable to do, play solid interior defense and finish at the rim, all of which he can do. Shot blocking will also be key for West, as he has the timing to be a great shot blocker. A great comparison would be to former Nevada center Dario Hunt. For stats, if West can average 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks a game, Nevada fans should be extremely happy.

Worst Case Scenario for 2013-2014
West has not faced the level of competition that the Mountain West will provide. His size could be an issue, as he is only 6' 9", which could be too small to play center. If West is forced to play power forward, the offense could be negatively affected due to West's lack of a reliable jump shot. This causes West to lack a true position and role on his new team. Rather than develop and carry over his shot blocking timing, West struggles and gets dominated during conference play by the physical MWC big men. The worst-case scenario is that he is not an upgrade at a starting position than last year's big men. The averages, in the worst-case scenario would be 4 points, 3 rebounds, and .75 blocks a game.

Chris Brown
Last Year in Review
After previously playing at Oregon State, Chris Brown spent his last year at Western Texas College. He only played in six games last year due to injury. In his time at Oregon State he was rarely used, and only played 15 games at 2.5 minutes per game, and averaged only .8 points and .7 rebounds.

Best Case Scenario for 2013-2014
After looking like the potential starter at center going into the year, Brown has been ruled out indefinitely due to medical issues. Obviously if Brown could get healthy later in the year it would be huge for the team, but at this point health would be best, both for his basketball career and his life in general.

Worst Case Scenario for 2013-2014
This worst-case scenario is happening. Brown has been plagued with injuries throughout his career and it's no different in his stop at Nevada. It may be best for Brown to just get a medical redshirt this year and hope to play next year AND stay healthy.

Stelios Papafloratos
Last Year in Review
A late pick up in the offseason for recruiting, Papafloratos comes to Nevada from Greece. At his high school in Greece, ACS Greece, Papafloratos averaged 13.5 points and 5 assists in his four-year career.

Best Case Scenario for 2013-2014
The backcourt is extremely loaded for Nevada this year with Burton, Coleman, Perez, and Fenner all likely ahead of the freshman on the depth chart. Papafloratos will have a hard time seeing the floor so the best-case scenario is to redshirt him. At 6' 5", Papafloratos has the size to play both point guard and shooting guard, but barring injury, wont be needed, which is why his best case scenario is to redshirt. Look for his passing to possibly be his best asset in future years, or possibly this year for the Wolf Pack.

Worst Case Scenario for 2013-2014
If Papafloratos does play this year it would likely be very little game time, and in garbage time. That's not worth losing a year of eligibility, so in the worst case scenario, Papafloratos in fact plays and burns his ability to use a redshirt. Another possibility is someone ahead of him gets injured and forces him into action when he may not be ready.

Patrick Conroy
Last Year in Review
Conroy played last year at Marin Catholic High School, was All-Metro Bay Area, and the team's MVP. As a walk on Conroy will likely not be getting any looks for playing time.

Best Case Scenario for 2013-2014
Maybe Conroy can get a few buckets against a team like Nebraska Omaha. That would be his best-case scenario because frankly he shouldn't get much other playing time. Barring a remarkable turn off events in his development, Conroy will be the next Curry Lynch or Keith Fuetsch during his tenure at Nevada. This may seem like it is an insult, but it is not. These players are often fan favorites and at some moment can provide a hustle and a quick spark.

Worst Case Scenario for 2013-2014
As a walk-on there isn't much further down to go. Lets hope Conroy can stay healthy because injury is just about the only way he could be any kind of disappointment.

Cole Huff
Last Year in Review:
 Huff played in 30 out of 31 possible games last year as a freshman and started 14 games. The lanky 6' 8" forward played both small forward and power forward during his first year with the Wolf Pack. Like Marqueze Coleman, Huff showed lots of promise, which Nevada fans should be excited about. Huff was up and down all year, which is expected of a freshman adjusting to a faster and more physical college game. He did put up respectable back up numbers with 4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds a game on average.

Best Case Scenario for 2013-2014
Huff could be a starter this year depending on how the lineup shakes out. If he did start he would most likely start in a small lineup at the power forward position. Huff has a nice jump shot from both the corner and top of the key, but needs to develop more consistency from those spots. In the best situation, Huff would become a deadly shooter from those areas and force big men to pull out on him, opening up lanes for the guards. In the perfect scenario, Huff would become a better and more dominating force on the boards. Defensively Huff was not very impressive last year as the stronger bigs in the conference often bullied him when he played power forward and looked a half step slow when guarding small forwards. I've heard humors that Huff might be the most improved player from last year to this year. As a likely starter/sixth man type player, Huff in the perfect scenario would average 8 points and 4 rebounds a game, while eating his three pointers at a 37% clip.

Worst Case Scenario 2013-2014
Huff could find a difficult time finding enough minutes to develop into the player he can be. At small forward he could find himself stuck behind Jerry Evans Jr. and at power forward could be behind AJ West depending on the lineups. In the worst-case scenario, Huff would take a step backward. As unlikely as that is it could happen. Last year Nevada had nearly no inside presence and Huff was apart of that. For the Wolf Pack, another year of this would be tragic. Huff could possibly become a worse shooter, not develop a back to the basket game, and not improve his physicality and toughness. Another year of 4 points and 3 rebounds should be as bad as it could get for Huff.

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