With two of their most important players, point guard Deonte Burton and wing Jerry Evans Jr., entering their senior season, the Nevada Wolf Pack have two key holes to fill as they look to improve their standing within the Mountain West.
On Sunday the program picked up its first two verbal commitments in the 2014 class and they’re important ones, as guard Eric Cooper Jr. and power forward Kaileb Rodriguez both have the talent needed to contribute upon their arrival in Reno.
The news was first reported by Josh Gershon of Scout.com.
Cooper’s name may be familiar to some college basketball fans, as he was originally a verbal commitment to attend Arizona. But in April Cooper made the decision to reopen his recruitment, telling the Long Beach (Calif.) Gazette that he “wanted to see what’s out there.” Cooper attended St. Anthony High School in southern California last year, averaging 22.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He’ll be at IMG Academy this year, contrary to the Gazette’s report in the article linked above that he would attend Brewster Academy.
As for Rodriguez, the Colorado native spent last season at Cal before making the decision to transfer to Sheridan College in Wyoming. Rodriguez didn’t see any action for the Golden Bears, and with both Richard Solomon and David Kravish back for another season there may not have been much in the way of playing time available to Rodriguez.
At 6-9, 225, Rodriguez would give Nevada some additional size inside, and spending a year at a school where he’ll get playing time should help with his development. Nevada head coach David Carter added four newcomers from the junior college ranks to the front court this offseason, including juniors Chris Brown (6-11; West Texas College) and A.J. West (6-9; Monroe (N.Y.) College).
How well those newcomers come together will go a long way towards determining how successful the Wolf Pack can be in the Mountain West, because the perimeter rotation is in good shape. Burton is one of the best point guards in the country and Evans can defend multiple positions, and Nevada will have additional scoring punch due to the presence of sophomore Marqueze Coleman and UTEP transfer Michael Perez.
In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.
The crowd was insane for the game:
According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.
Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:
At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:
(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)
The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.
South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.
Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.
The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan:
A day after Grayson Allen threw an alley-oop to Trevon Duval for Duke’s entry into the #DriveByDunkChallenge, Kentucky’s team of freshmen decided to do one of their own:
That would be, in order, Johnny David, Jarrod Vanderbilt, Nick Richards, PJ Washington and Kevin Knox abusing some poor sap’s rim somewhere in Lexington.
But was that better than John Calipari’s attempt?
Watching Michigan State’s Miles Bridges throw down high-level dunks in local summer pro-ams has been a good way to pass the time the last few weeks.
The 6-foot-7 Bridges has been annihilating rims all summer as he had more ridiculous dunks on Tuesday night. Playing with former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine and some of his current Spartans teammates, Bridges had more crowd-pleasing plays to add to his summer reel.
Lansing State Journal reporter James Edwards III has been on the scene for Bridges’ games all summer as he has more dunks from the future lottery pick.