The Nevada men’s basketball team will have its Senior Night, celebrating the careers of four senior players before it takes on No. 5 San Diego State.
It’s always, at least for me, fun to go back and reflect on the careers of players who etch their name in Nevada history.
So lets take a look at their Nevada careers and see how they impacted team, and, of course, give them a thank you for all the great memories they provided the fans, the students, the alumni and the Reno community throughout their career.
(Statistics are as of Feb. 28, 2020)
Johncarlos Reyes (6-10, 225)
Seasons with Nevada: One (graduate transfer)
Previous Teams: Boston College (2015-19)
Career stats with Nevada (29 games): 4.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 55.9 FG%
Reyes did not see the floor much in his Eagle career, averaging eight minutes per game across his four-year tenure. However, that did not stop him from making a future impact with another program.
After both Jordan Brown (transferred to Arizona), Jordan Caroline (graduation) and Trey Porter (graduated), Nevada head coach Steve Alford was given little-to-no experience in the front court. After Reyes — who played four seasons at Boston College — transferred to Nevada, that changed.
Reyes was never a player to fill the stat sheet, but made a sizable impact each time he stepped on the floor. Throughout his time with the Wolf Pack, he demonstrated a solid defensive impact, good rebounding and strong finishing ability around the rim. He started in 28 of his 29 games, playing 19.7 minutes per game. Nevada needed a big, strong front court leader that held down the fort for Nevada — and that’s what Reyes exactly provided.
Wolf Pack nation wants to say thank you, Johncarlos.
Nisre Zouzoua (6-3, 195)
Seasons with Nevada: Three (sat out for one, eligible for two)
Previous Teams: Bryant (2015-17)
Career stats with Nevada (50 games): 6.2 PPG, 1.3 APG, 37.9 FG%, 34.2 3PT%
If you were to google what “overcoming adversity” looks, it would be fitting for Nisre Zouzoua’s picture to first pop up.
Zouzoua was one of many highly-coveted transfers that former Nevada head coach Eric Musselman’s brought in. His first season of eligibility at Nevada did not go as planned, averaging 1.3 points on 22 percent shooting — including a rough 10.3 percent from beyond the arc. He played in 21 games, but Musselman’s limited rotation paired with Zouzoua’s short leash hampered him to just six minutes per game.
Those statistics were an outlier compared to stellar two seasons at Bryant — where he was a must-see talent.
The 6-foot-5 guard averaged a team-high 12.8 points on 40.8 percent shooting and 37.0 percent from 3-point range in his freshman season. He started in 25 of his 31 games, and was selected to the Northeast Conference All-Rookie team. In his sophomore season, he led the Northeast Conference in eight categories, including scoring (20.3 ppg), 3-pointers made (92) and made field goals (208).
When Alford walked in the door, things changed.
“[Coach Alford] told me to trust myself because he believes in me, just like I believe in myself,” Zouzoua said earlier this year. “He told me about my change in roles and focus on being the best player I can be for the team.”
Zouzoua has said that he’s never really lost confidence in himself over the last two seasons, and the results translated. Zouzoua is averaging 9.8 points on 41.4 percent shooting and 40 percent from beyond the arc. Alford has continually praised Zouzoua’s ability to deliver an offensive punch off the bench along with his ability to defend multiple positions. Even in the most difficult of times, it seemed as if Zouzoua took the positives to grow his character and demeanor. He — along with Jazz Johnson and Lindsey Drew — develped a leadership role that has been impactful to this young group.
There hasn’t been a lot of comeback stories in recent Nevada basketball history, but this was one of the best ones.
Wolf Pack nation wants to say thank you, Nisre.
Jazz Johnson (5-10, 180)
Seasons with Nevada: Three (one transfer, two eligible)
Previous teams: Portland (2015-17)
Career stats with Nevada (60 games): 13.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.7 APG, 44.6 FG%, 43.3 3PT%
Johnson’s time FINISH hit 41.5 percent of his 3-point shots, averaging a team-high 15.8 points per game for Portland
The 5-foot-10 guard joined Zouzoua in Musselman’s 2017 recruiting class, leaving his hometown to play elsewhere for the first time in his life. The sharpshooter had to fill big shoes with Kendall Stephens, who broke the Mountain West single-season record for most 3-pointers in a single season (126).
Johnson solidified himself as an instant offensive spark off Nevada’s bench, averaging 11 points in 28.6 minutes per game. He was especially dangerous from beyond the arc, canning a career-best 45.2 percent of his 3-point baskets and 71 total 3-pointers — second-most on the team.
When Alford arrived, there was uncertainty whether Johnson would stay, similarly with a majority of the players on the team. It didn’t take long to convince Johnson to remain with the Wolf Pack, announcing his return immediately after Alford’s introductory press conference.
Starting regularly for the first time since he departed Portland, Johnson was tasked with more responsibility with a much younger team. He responded just as you would think Jazz would. Johnson averaged a career-high 16 points on 41.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He canned a career-best 85 3-point shots, currently ranking second in the conference.
Over his time at Nevada, Johnson developed into one of the best shooters in recent Nevada memory. Johnson currently sports the second-highest 3-point percentage (.433) in school history and the 8th-most 3-point makes (156).
Johnson certainly lived up to his motto “Heart over Height”. Whether it was his pesky defense, diving for loose balls or his endless motor to sprint around screeners to create his own shot — Johnson left it all on the court. From being the best shooter on one of the best teams in school history to being a leader on a brand new team, Johnson filled different roles at high levels.
Wolf Pack nation wants to say thank you, Jazz.
Lindsey Drew (6-4, 180)
Seasons with Nevada: Five (awarded extra year of eligibility due to injury last year)
Previous teams: None
Career stats with Nevada (128 games): 7.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 44.4 FG%, 37.0 3PT%
I mean, what good is there not to say about Drew??
There is not a lot of things the calm, collected Drew couldn’t do on the court. He has arguably been Nevada’s best perimeter defender over his tenure. He can distribute. He doesn’t turn the ball over often. He can rebound. He can do a lot.
Some may argue he couldn’t score, which he proved he could do when Nevada needed one (like this year’s season-opener versus Utah). However, Drew didn’t need to score — considering he was surrounded by D.J. Fenner, Marqueze Coleman, Caleb Martin, Jordan Caroline, Jalen Harris, Cameron Oliver and Marcus Marshall (just to name a few) during his Nevada tenure.
Plus, Drew is 50 points away from being the 30th player in Wolf Pack history to total 1,000 career points. He is also looking to become the 11th player to join the 1,000 point, 600 rebound club. In Nevada’s win over New Mexico, Drew became the only player in Nevada history to tally 900 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists in his career.
Here is where he ranks among Nevada players in different categories.
- Games played - 128 (7th)
- Minutes played - 3,880 (3rd)
- Assists - 505 (3rd)
- Steals - 1645 (5th)
- Blocks - 105 (9th)
- Rebounding - 644 (11th)
Drew needs five more rebounds to crack the Top-10 in rebounding, which likely happens by the end of the season. He will likely finish his Nevada career in the Top-10 in assists, blocks, steals, rebounding, minutes played and games played, among other statistics. That’s ridiculous. If Nevada makes a run in the conference tournament and advances in its postseason tournament (if it makes one), then Drew could potentially crack the 1,000 mark.
To summarize, he has had one special career.
This year has been one of Drew’s most productive year to date. He has career-highs in scoring (11.1 ppg), rebounds (6.7 rpg), field goals (118) and 3-pointers (41),
Five years ago, Musselman pried away Drew, the son of former NBA point guard Larry Drew. Drew, a three-star recruit from Los Angeles, Cal., was originally committed to Arizona State before head coach Herb Sandek was fired.
Drew earned the starting role right away, never seeming phased. He started in 36 of Nevada’s 37 games, averaging 5.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 28.8 minutes per game. His 56 steals were the most by a freshman in school history. Drew averaged 7.8 points, five rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game in six CBI games, helping lead Nevada to a CBI Championship.
The 6-foot-5 guard helped fuel Nevada to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007. Drew averaged 5.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.7 steals and 1.2 steals in his sophomore campaign. His 164 steals were the most by a sophomore in school history.
His junior season was cut short after suffering an achilles injury late in the season versus Boise State. He missed the final ten games of the 2018 year plus all of last year due to multiple surgeries, prompting a redshirt season.
Drew was the conductor of one of the best eras in Nevada history. His fluid, poised, laid-back attitude led to consistent, fearless play on the court. Drew never seem rattled or flustered when the lights shined brightest , which happened numerous times over these lasat few seasons.
From his first game, to his 30-point performance versus Utah, to the crowd screaming a lengthy “Dreeeeeeeew” after his named was introduced pre-game — the Nevada faithful endeared themselves to Lindsey Drew over his Wolf Pack career.
Wolf Pack nation wants to say thank you, Lindsey.