What a hump day it's been for Nevada head coach Eric Musselman.
Just hours after learning of Iowa State guard Hallice Cooke's commitment to Nevada, another highly coveted transfer is headed to Reno as well. Via a Twitter post on his Twitter account, it looks like Purdue transfer Kendall Stephens has also committed to join the Nevada program. The decision comes on a surprising timeline as Stephens was expected to visit the school this upcoming weekend.
Take a guess pic.twitter.com/P7yCtL4Asd— Kendall Stephens (@Kensteph21) May 18, 2016
Listed at 6' 6", 200 pounds, Stephens is heralded as a knockdown perimeter shooter for his size, who also brings a nasty streak on the defensive end of the floor. His ability to add a three-pointing shooting presence to the Wolf Pack could be colossal for a Nevada team that finished ninth worst in the country percentage wise from behind the arc. Stephens could also become an anchor of a blue-collar Wolf Pack defense that will need to become one of the best in the Mountain West, if an NCAA Tournament birth is in the program's future.
Like Cooke, Stephens is expected to have to sit out the 2016-2017 season due to NCAA transfer rules but the possibility of the duo uniting for the 2017-2018 campaign is enough to get Wolf Pack fans chomping at the bit. At Purdue, Stephens was a key clog in the Boilermakers' system throughout both his freshman and sophomore seasons, where he tallied averages of 8.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per contest in his second year.
However, his most recent junior season was largely overshadowed by a personal tragedy that took Stephens away from the program for some time. After the death of a close personal friend, Stephens struggled to return to his previous form, playing in just one of Purdue's last seven games. Even in the Boilermaker's double-overtime upset loss to Arkansas-Little Rock in the NCAA Tournament, Stephens didn't move from the bench.
From the outside looking in, it seems like a fresh start at Nevada could be exactly what Saint Charles, Illinois native is looking for, as he continues to overcome some personal turmoil in his life.