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Nevada basketball 2019-20 season review: Forwards

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 18 Nevada at San Diego State Photo by Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a year where the Wolf Pack lost all five starters, Nevada went 19-12 with a 12-6 conference record last year in the first year under head coach Steve Alford.

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we will be reviewing an aspect from this 2019-20 season for the Nevada Wolf Pack.

Today, we’re reviewing how Nevada’s forward group played out.

Previous weeks:

4/16: Guards

Notable Players

K.J. Hymes

Nevada v New Mexico
K.J. Hymes (42) looks to drive to the basket against the New Mexico Lobos.
Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

In 31 games, Hymes averaged 4.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and one block in 13.8 minutes per game in his freshman season with Nevada. His 31 total blocks led the team and were the 5th-most in the Mountain West. The 6-foot-10 athletic forward registered multiple blocks ten times, including a season-high four blocks in a 72-67 win over Loyola Marymount on Nov. 9. He had three games in double figures, including a season-high 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in a season-high 21 minutes versus Colorado State on Jan. 29. Hymes, who redshirted during the 2018-19 season, was rated as a three-star prospect and was Nevada’s second-best recruit in its 2018 class per 247Sports.com. Hymes was the seventh-highest rated recruit in Nevada history per the 247Sports tracking scale.

Zane Meeks

Nevada v New Mexico
Zane Meeks (10) drives against New Mexico’s Makuach Maluach (10).
Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Meeks appeared in all 31 games with the Wolf Pack in his freshman campaign. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per contest. Meeks was Nevada’s stretch-five off the bench, hitting 36.4 percent of his 3-pointers on 3.5 3-point attempts per game. He had eight games with multiple 3-point baskets, including a season-high four 3-point makes three separate times. One of those times came in Meeks’ best game of the season versus Santa Clara. He tallied a season-high 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from deep with five rebounds. Meeks was an unranked prospect out of high school per 247Sports. He picked Nevada over Washington State, Illinois, Belmont, Ohio and UMBC.

Johncarlos Reyes

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at St. Mary’s
Johncarlos Reyes (12) shoots over St. Mary’s Gaels forward Dan Fotu (42).
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Reyes joined the Wolf Pack as a graduate transfer from Boston College. Starting in 30 games, Reyes averaged 4.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 19.5 minutes per game. His 0.9 blocks placed second on the team and sixth in the Mountain West conference. The 6-foot-10 forward also registered a team-high 1.6 offensive rebounds per game — the 13th-most in the conference. Reyes tallied double figure scoring in three games last season. His best game came in Nevada’s 96-74 victory over New Mexico in Steve Alford’s 600th career win. Reyes had his only double-double on the season, registering ten points with a season-high 11 rebounds. His season-high in scoring was 12 points versus Texas Southern on 5-of-7 shooting. In his lone season with Nevada, Reyes did exactly what Nevada needed him to do: be a big presence in the paint who could rebound and defend, along with provide leadership. He registered a block in 22 games, including a season-high three blocks versus UNLV and Utah State. Reyes is the only member to depart this current forward group.

Robby Robinson

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at Boise State
Robby Robinson (1) drives to the basket versus the Boise State Broncos.
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

In his first season with Nevada, Robinson started in all 31 contests. He was third on the team and 19th in the conference at 5.1 rebounds per game. The San Diego City College transfer had 18 games with five-plus rebounds and seven with seven-plus. Robinson posted a season-high nine rebounds twice versus Loyola Marymount and Air Force. Robinson was not much of a scorer for Nevada, averaging just 2.7 points in 19.1 minutes per contest. His registered just one double-digit scoring game versus Santa Clara on 4-of-4 shooting from the field. Robinson never attempted more than five field goals in a game.

Zachary Williams

Williams appeared in just seven games in his first season with Nevada. He did not score in his only shot attempt, playing 14 total minutes. Prior to Nevada, Williams, a local graduate of Galena High School in Reno, Nev., played one season apiece at Feather River College and South Mountain Community College. After sitting out the 2017-18 season because of the transfer policy, in his sophomore season at South Mountain Community College, Williams played in 30 games (29 starts). He averaged 9.9 points and four rebounds per contest on 45.6 percent shooting, including 40.2 percent from deep. Williams tallied a season-high 21 points versus Phoenix College on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range. In his freshman year at Feather River College in 2016-17, he averaged 7.4 points and four rebounds on 52.3 percent shooting, including 38.3 percent from deep.

Any sit outs that can impact next year’s team?

Warren Washington

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at Colorado
Oregon State Beavers forward Warren Washington (22) fouls an attempt by Colorado Buffaloes guard Daylen Kountz (2).
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Washington, listed at 7-foot, will be Nevada’s biggest player on their roster next season. Previously at Oregon State, Washington sat out last season due to the NCAA transfer policy. He averaged 1.3 points, 1.4 rebounds in 7.8 minutes per game in his lone season with the Beavers. His best game came against USC with seven points, seven rebounds and two assists. Washington, who played his final two years of high school at Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, Calif., was rated as a three-star prospect per 247Sports. He received offers from San Diego State, Rutgers, Butler, California, Montana and Utah, among others. In his senior season, Washington averaged 25.1 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game while earning a first-team All-San Diego Honoree.

What’s next?

The forward group took a backseat to the guard group last season. It definitely was not the team’s strength, especially when the guard spot had the second-place finisher to the Mountain West Player of the Year, the conference’s sixth man of the year and another All-Mountain West member.

With that said, the forward position did improve over the course of last season. Hymes started out slow, but averaged 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 14.2 minutes per game in the final 12 games of the year (Hymes averaged 3.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 13.6 minutes per game in his first 19 games). Meeks had a bulk of his best performances in the beginning of the year, but still tallied 5.7 points in his final 11 games on the year. Robinson continued to impact the game in multiple ways that won’t necessarily be tracked in the box score. From the beginning of the season to the end, this group saw as a whole saw good improvement. Continued growth is expected with the departure of Reyes heading into the 2020-21 season.

Nevada welcomes in Tre Coleman — Nevada’s highest rated recruit in its 2020 class per 247Sports — and DeAndre Henry to this group. Coleman’s impact could be the most immediate of anyone in the Pack’s incoming class at the wing spot, given its lack of depth and Coleman’s versatility. Henry could insert himself as a potential rotational player in the 4-5 slot off the bench.