The Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball season tips off its 2022-23 season in mere hours against the Utah Tech Trailblazers at 7 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev.
Head coach Steve Alford heads into his fourth year with the program, looking to improve off what was a disappointing 2021-22 campaign, when the Pack went 13-18. The Wolf Pack did lose their top three scorers, but will introduce multiple new transfers with a pair of new freshman into the program. Fresh new blood for a fresh new season!
Let’s preview the season and see where it stands against the Mountain West’s best!
Nevada Men’s Basketball 2022-23 Schedule
|Day||Date||Opponent||Time||KenPom (Preseason)||Bart Torvik (Preseason)|
|Day||Date||Opponent||Time||KenPom (Preseason)||Bart Torvik (Preseason)|
|Monday||Oct. 21||vs. Utah Tech||7 p.m.||259||207|
|Saturday||Nov. 7||vs. Grand Canyon||1 p.m.||96||114|
|Tuesday||Nov. 12||vs. William Jessup||7 p.m.||NR||NR|
|Friday||Nov. 15||at UT Arlington||5 p.m.||270||261|
|Monday||Nov. 21||vs. Tulane||2 p.m.||63||43|
|Tuesday||Nov. 22||vs. Rhode Island/Kansas State||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Wednesday||Nov. 23||vs. TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Monday||Nov. 28||vs. Sam Houston State||7 p.m.||159||122|
|Saturday||Dec. 3||at LMU||7 p.m.||142||150|
|Tuesday||Dec. 6||at Pepperdine||7 p.m.||193||193|
|Saturday||Dec. 10||at Oregon||4 p.m.||29||38|
|Wednesday||Dec. 14||vs. UC San Diego||7 p.m.||263||229|
|Wednesday||Dec. 21||vs. Norfolk State||2 p.m.||171||141|
|Wednesday||Dec. 28||vs. Boise State||7 p.m.||87||65|
|Saturday||Dec. 31||at Air Force||11 a.m.||235||232|
|Wednesday||Jan. 3||vs. Colorado State||7:30 p.m.||97||95|
|Saturday||Jan. 7||at San José State||TBD||236||225|
|Tuesday||Jan. 10||at San Diego State||8 p.m.||18||13|
|Friday||Jan. 13||vs. Utah State||8 p.m.||68||51|
|Tuesday||Jan. 17||at Boise State||6 p.m.||87||65|
|Monday||Jan. 23||vs. New Mexico||6 p.m.||138||85|
|Saturday||Jan. 28||at UNLV||7 p.m.||118||106|
|Tuesday||Jan. 31||vs. San Diego State||8 p.m.||18||13|
|Friday||Feb. 3||vs. Air Force||8 p.m.||235||232|
|Tuesday||Feb. 7||at New Mexico||8:30 p.m.||138||85|
|Friday||Feb. 10||vs. Fresno State||8 p.m.||107||64|
|Saturday||Feb. 18||at Utah State||5 p.m.||68||51|
|Tuesday||Feb. 21||vs. San José State||7 p.m.||236||221|
|Friday||Feb. 24||at Fresno State||8 p.m.||107||64|
|Monday||Feb. 27||at Wyoming||6 p.m.||64||46|
|Saturday||March 4||vs. UNLV||2 p.m.||118||106|
With Grant Sherfield’s departure and Hunter McIntosh’s injury (more on him later), Blackshear is expected to assume most of the point guard duties. The 6-foot-6 wing averaged 8.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season. He was one Nevada’s most switchable defenders, showing capability to defend 1 thru 3 with the potential to size up to opposing 4s. He’s got good length, was one of its top finishers and continually improved his jumper as last season aged. Blackshear is primed for yet another breakout season with the Pack.
Coleman struggled in 2021-22, seeing considerable dips in field goal percentage, 3-point shooting percentage, true-shooting percentage and scoring. He was still one of Nevada’s best defenders, but his spacing (or lack thereof) oftentimes affected the Wolf Pack offense, which made the fit clunky. He improved his efficiency in the second half of the season, but will need to be a more consistent shooter and scorer as a junior.
Baker will be Nevada’s top big entering 2022-23. In his first full eligible season with Nevada, he averaged 11.5 points, 4.9 rebounds on 54.6 percent shooting from the floor, and 39.4 percent from distance. He was a solid rebounder and even developed a sustainable mid-to-low post game. I’m intrigued how he will assert himself as the top big, though will need to stay out of foul trouble with Alford’s limited big rotation.
Hymes is the Pack’s second-and-final (active) center above 6-foot-10. He was expected to have a breakout season last year, but ran into multiple injuries that thwarted his season and production. He finished by averaging 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game on 51.2 percent shooting. He is one of the Pack’s most effective shot blockers, but ran into foul trouble from time-to-time. If he can stay healthy and out of said foul trouble, expect Hymes to have a breakout season.
on the team in the conference had more charges than Foster last season. O.K., I can’t confirm if that’s true or not — but Foster drew a lot of them! He was one of Nevada’s top point-of-attack defenders, though his fit offensively was murky because of his lack of playmaking and scoring prowess. He plans to be another one of Nevada’s secondary initiators this upcoming season.
Davidson didn’t play last year, but Alford is very high on Davidson. He has the potential to space the floor and be a productive rebounder off the bench.
Transfers without eligibility last season:
Lucas is expected to be the Pack’s leading scorer and one of its top two-way guards this upcoming season. He played three seasons at Oregon State before transferring to Nevada. He made the Elite 8 with Oregon State in 2020-21 as one of its key rotation players, so he’s so-called “battle tested.” Lucas was one of the best shooters in the Pac-12 last season, too — knocking down 73 triples at a 38.6 percent clip. Over his last two seasons, he’s drained 150 3s while averaging 13.1 points on 38.8 percent shooting from 3-point range.
It was announced last week that McIntosh, an Elon transfer who expected to be the team’s starting point guard, will miss at least three-to-four months after undergoing knee surgery. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 13.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists last season, and averages of 13.2-3-2.8 for his career on 39.8/38.1/81.4 shooting splits.
Powell transferred from Seton Hall, where he only played 12 games (46 minutes) in his only season of eligibiliy. Expect him to be one of Nevada’s more versatile role players off the bench with his 3-and-D potential.
Folarin, listed at 6-foot-11, transferred in the spring from Eastern Washington. He averaged 2.0 points and 1.4 boards last season; he will miss the start of the season due to injury, too.
Freshmen (on scholarship):
Pettigrew also might miss the opener with a knee injury. But nevertheless, Pettigrew was Nevada’s first 2022 recruit. He averaged 20.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and two steals and is expected to be apart of its rotation throughout the season.
Williams was an in-state recruit out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nev. He chose them over Eastern Washington, Montana, Weber State and Long Beach State, among others.
Last year, the Wolf Pack went a dismal 1-16 against Quad 1 and 2 opponents; this year, they will have 12 (which could change), the first one being five games into the season in the Cayman Islands against Tulane followed by its road matchup against Oregon.
Alford has gone from T-2, to 5th and then 8th last year. After losing its top three players in Grant Sherfield, Warren Washington and Desmond Cambridge, it’s projected to finish 9th. In our preseason poll, I had them finishing in the top-8 — but I can see why the others are lower on them because of how many question marks were on their roster.
Overall, I don’t think the conference will be as deep as it was last year — especially with preseason injuries to Graham Ike and Isaiah Stevens, two of the conference’s best players. San Diego State will be dominant; Wyoming will still be very good; at least two of Boise State, New Mexico, UNLV and Colorado State will be at the top-half of the pecking order and will have a puncher’s chance at cracking the conference’s top-3.
Last year was Alford’s second-ever season finishing below .500. He has a track record of doing well in this conference, but it will be an uphill battle for Nevada this upcoming season. With improved chemistry and defensive aptitude, it should at least deliver a better on-court product. Those two key qualities lacked — or was flat out missing, at times — last year. They don’t have a ton of size, but will have more schematic versatility with arguably more lineup flexibility. The roster turnover, in part, could be addition by subtraction, or in this case, fluctuation.
If Lucas can develop into an All-Conference player with leaps from Baker, Blackshear and Coleman, it has the potential to make noise. Like last year, it will be an ever-flowing discussion throughout the season. I don’t think they have a “player of the year” type player, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Lucas cracks the mix.