What is Nevada going to do without Burton? A four-year Nevada veteran with the second most points in Nevada history. Who is going to take the role of Burton and most importantly who is going to handle the pressure down the stretch.
Is it Marqueze Coleman, Former California high school player of the year? Mike Perez, second year transfer out of UTEP? Or will it be the big man A.J. West that Nevada depended on down low last season.
It’s going to be a difficult task to replace the 21 points, four rebounds and four assists that Burton contributed last season. But all three probable Nevada stars have the confidence and perseverance to take over the “Deonte” roll this season.
“I’m hoping to take over the role of Burton ,” said Perez. “ I am a leader and I plan to show the guys the ropes leading by example. My experience is the major part of what I bring to the team and that ultimately will prove my leadership.”
Perez averaged 11.5 points, 3.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds last season, which is the closest comparable numbers to Burton’s. Perez is a fifth year senior and will lead the team in the point/shooting guard role. Last season, Perez lacked consistency in scoring and that is the major aspect of his game that he worked on this offseason.
The next guy up would be Coleman, third year junior. Coleman worked behind Burton for two years and he knows what it will take to get to that level.
“I picked up leadership qualities from Burton,” said Coleman. “Leadership qualities off the court as well as keeping a positive vibe in the locker room is the major things that Deonte has taught me. Being a point guard requires you to be vocal as well as score the ball and I think I could live up to that.”
Coleman had a slow start in his first two years at Nevada averaging 6 points a game and no assists. Much of that due to the low minutes he was playing because of Burton’s presence. This will be the first year that Coleman will have full control over the team as a leader and as a point guard.
Coach Carter has looked to Coleman to be the man that will take over the role of Burton. Carter believes that Coleman has the most experience on the team within the Nevada offense by being a third year player.
“We have more depth now and have guys that can contribute offensively but we don’t need one guy to average 20."“The playmaker this season is going to have to be Coleman,” said Coach Carter. “We have more depth now and have guys that can contribute offensively but we don’t need one guy to average 20. Marqueze has to lead this team but we have the weapons now to be more efficient on the offensive end.”
We have the guard position covered with Coleman and Perez but who is going to be that third guy? Everyone’s doing a big three now right?
That third guy will be second year center A.J. West whom averaged seven points and seven rebounds last season for the Pack. West is the core guy on this roster without a doubt. He is a rebounding machine and will have to pick up the slack with the departure of Jerry Evan’s Jr. and Cole Huff. By default West will be the go to guy down low and will have to carry the Pack on his back.
“We’re going to be more team oriented this season and not just have one guy carry the load,” said West. “I want to be the anchor and the leader of the team on the defensive end. But I also have improved my game to be a consistent scorer down low.”
It’s between West, Coleman and Perez for the Wolf Pack this season. By the looks of it, team basketball will be the main focus of this club and a main go to scorer might be in the past. With an improved bench and an array of guards, look for Nevada to utilize all there weapons and make a run in the Mountain West.