Basketball Roster Breakdown and Recruiting

The Nevada Wolf Pack men's basketball team has had a rough off-season thus far. The graduation of 2 long time starters plus the unexpected departure of lead returning scorer Cole Huff, not to mention the medical disqualification of center Chris Brown, leaves the coaching staff with a lot of questions and a lot of holes to fill.

How does Nevada's roster look right now, what's the perspective depth chart look like and what holes should the staff be looking to fill?

Here's a look at where Nevada's roster currently sits:

G Coleman, Marqueze 6-3/185 JR
C West, AJ 6-9/230 SR
G Papafloratos, Stelios 6-4/170 FR
G Conroy, Patrick 6-2/180 SO
G Fenner, D.J. 6-6/205 SO
G Perez, Michael 6-3/190 SR
F/C Stevens Jr., Ronnie 6-8/230 SR
F/C Stivrins, Lucas 6-11/212 JR
F Bell, Richard 6-9/215 Forward JR
F Rodriguez, Kaileb  6-8/215 JR
G Cooper, Eric 6-4/185 FR

10 scholarship players plus the walk-on Patrick Conroy. Only 2 starters returning, Michael Perez and A.J. West. Gone from last year's roster is 55% of the total minutes played, 64% of the scoring, 50% of the rebounding and 56% of the assists. In a word, even without the unexpected loss of Cole Huff, next season's outlook was going to look GRIM.

The key losses from last years team are First-Team All-Mountain West point guard Deonte Burton (20.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.4 APG), forward Jerry Evans (12.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG) and the team's best outside threat and most versatile scorer, Cole Huff (12.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, .403 3P%). The loss of Burton alone will be difficult to handle as much of Nevada's offense has run through him for the past 3 seasons. Evans became a do a little bit of everything kind of player that every team needs. Huff was poised to become the primary player for the Wolf Pack he chose to transfer at the beginning of April, he will pick between Creighton and Iowa sometime in the next day or so. Huff's departure leaves a major void in Nevada's lineup.

The lead returnee in minutes and scoring is far and away Michael Perez, a transfer from UTEP who played his first minutes for the Wolf Pack in Italy on the team's 2013 Summer tour. Perez is a solid player with a good handle, solid passing and he showed flashes of how good he could be last season, but for a shooter, he had far too many ice cold nights from the floor. If Nevada hopes to reach double digit wins next season, Perez is going to have to become more efficient offensively.

The next 3 biggest contributors returning are Marqueze Coleman (17.7 MPG 6.0 PPG, 0.6 APG), A.J. West (6.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 2.3 BPG) and D.J. Fenner (14.2 MPG, 2.5 PPG and 1.8 RPG).

Coleman has probably not developed as fast as the staff would like, he's looked far more comfortable playing shooting guard than taking the point and turns the ball over way too often to inspire much confidence he'll excel as the starting point. To be fair to Coleman, he battled an eye injury all last season and it clearly bothered him the entire year.

West, after sitting out the first half of last season with eligibility issues, was a breath of fresh air coming into the start of Mountain West Conference play. West's energy propelled Nevada to a 7-2 start after a disappointing 5-8 out of conference campaign. He seemed to be the kind of big man the Wolf Pack hasn't had in the lineup since Olek Czyz and perhaps as far back as Javale McGee. Unfortunatly West either hit a wall mid way through conference play or teams just figured out how to play him, his production dropped off a great deal in the final third of the season. The fact that Carter sat him early in the second half of Nevada's MWCT loss to Boise St. could be a cause for concern.

The highly touted freshman D.J. Fenner played well in bunches last season, especially on defense, where his length and speed gave opposing players problems. He wasn't asked to score very much but overall it was not a bad season for the freshman. With the departure of Cole Huff, Fenner most definitely appears to have the best shot to start on the wing and will probably be expected to provide more scoring.

Stelios Papafloratos is an intriguing prospect who red shirted last season as a true freshman. He's a cagey guard from Greece who, like many European players, doesn't necessarily blow you away with his athleticism but plays within himself. He will likely battle incoming freshman Eric Cooper for minutes at shooting guard.

Lucas Stivrins, the tallest remaining player on the team at 6-11, is a skilled big man who displayed a number of offensive tools in the post last season. Unfortunately, he currently weighs in a 212lbs and must build weight and strength if he has a prayer of consistently competing as a post player in the MWC. It's likely that the staff would like to red-shirt Stivrins if they are able to sign enough players to have the depth.

If asked to project Nevada's depth chart at this time, it would probably resemble something like this:

Point Guard
G Coleman, Marqueze 6-3/185 JR
G Cooper, Eric 6-4/185 FR
G Conroy, Patrick 6-2/180 SO

Shooting Guard
G Perez, Michael 6-3/190 SR
G Papafloratos, Stelios 6-4/170 RS/FR

Small Forward/Wing
G Fenner, D.J. 6-6/205 SO

Power Forward
F/C Stevens Jr., Ronnie 6-8/230 SR
F Rodriguez, Kaileb  6-8/215 JR
F Bell, Richard 6-9/215 Forward JR

Center
C West, AJ 6-9/230 SR
F/C Stivrins, Lucas 6-11/212 JR

Eric Cooper is a natural scorer who originally committed to Arizona but decommited after a severe knee injury derailed his senior season. He reclassified to the 2014 class and attended prep school at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. Given head coach David Carter's previous tendancy to recruit high school shooting guards and convert them to point guards in college with an eye towards the NBA, it's safe to say that is his plan with Cooper. Some scouts have expressed concern about whether Cooper possesses the ball handling tools to make that transition but if one thing can be said for David Carter, he knows guards.

Nevada is actually in a decent position when it comes to the back court, when you consider they just lost an All-Conference NBA prospect point guard. Where Nevada is desperate for contributors is in the front court and it's here where head coach David Carter has struggled mightily during his tenure. The Wolf Pack need to find a skilled big man with size, strength and a competitive drive.

Kaileb Rodriguez, was a highly touted forward out of Colorado who signed with Cal under recently retired head coach Mike Montgomery. Rodriguez and Montgomery did not click from the very beginning and so he transferred at the end of his redshirt freshman year, going to junior college route via Sheridan College in Wyoming. He's a skilled, back to the basket big man with great size and athleticism. If there is a knock on Rodriguez, it's a concern about how hard he is willing to work to compete at this level. It's not uncommon for high school stars to get derailed by the reality check of how hard they need to work to succeed at the division 1 level. Some kids never get back on track, some mature and put it all together to go on to have great careers, hopefully Kaileb is the latter.

Even with the 2 incoming players, Nevada is thin in the front court and on the wing (small forward). The staff has 3 scholarships to give and it's obvious they are looking to use all 3 of those scholarships to fill those glaring needs. On Nevada's recruiting board as of this writing are:

C/F Elijah Foster, 6-8/240 FR

The prize target of this class would be Elijah Foster and early indications are that Nevada has the inside edge over fellow suitors Seattle U, Boise St. and South Carolina. Foster has the size and strength of a division 1 athlete already and his body and game are still growing.

F Zach Lee, 6-7 185 FR

Lee is a very athletic forward who draws comparisons to Olek Czyz, he plays with passion, quickness and above the rim. He's a long and lean player who would make a great addition at small forward.

SG Andris Misters, 6-5 200 SO

The Lithuanian Misters played for one of the top prep programs in the country at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, NJ but played last season at Western Texas College. Guard isn't as critical a need as post players but Misters is a solid player who could add depth in the back court immediately.

F Robyn Missa, 6-9 FR

Missa is a big, skilled, wide bodied, versatile forward who would be a solid fit at power forward.

Two players who were previously on Nevada's recruiting board are now gone:

F Merrill Holden, 6-8 215 SO

Holden committed to Louisiana Tech this afternoon. Nevada had made an offer to him after seeing him play in Dallas.

F Desmond Simmons, 6-7/225 SR

Simmons was a graduate transfer from Washington who could have come in and played right away. He committed to St. Mary's.


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