With the men’s college basketball season officially in the rearview mirror, let’s dive into reviewing the forgettable Nevada men’s basketball season, beginning with its roster.
This week, we’ll review the forward position, spearheaded by Will Baker, Warren Washington and Kenan Blackshear. The Wolf Pack might’ve gone 13-18, but Baker and Blackshear shined in their first season of eligibility with the Wolf Pack after transferring, while Washington was one of the top centers in the Mountain West.
I don’t want to keep you waiting too long. Without further ado, let’s jump into it!
Baker, in his first season with the Pack after transferring from Texas, played in all 31 games, starting in 27 contests. He was the Pack’s second-best big behind Warren Washington (see below), averaging 11.5 points and 4.9 boards, shooting 54.6 percent from the floor, 39.4 percent from distance and 67.9 percent from the charity stripe. The stretch-five posted double figure scoring in 15 of his final 18 games. As the season aged, Baker got better finishing on the interior, especially with the touch hook over his right shoulder. Given Washington is currently in the transfer portal, Baker will be the Wolf Pack’s lone 7-foot big next season, so I’m expecting further development as a drop defender, rebounder and as an interior presence — as well as enhancing his stretch-five capabilities.
In his first season of eligibility with the Wolf Pack after transferring from Florida Atlantic, Blackshear blossomed into one of the Pack’s most impactful two-way players. Blackshear didn’t accrue much production before he entered the starting lineup midway through the season — shining as a glue piece. In 24 games as a starter, he averaged 8.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, shooting 41.4 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from deep. He, like Coleman and Cambridge, were their most switchable on-ball defenders and were tasked with the most responsibility defensively. Overall, it was a very good season for Blackshear, who still has two years of eligbility remaining, should he return.
While he remained his usual dominant defensive self, Coleman had a tremendously rough offensive season — especially shooting-wise. A year after netting over 35 percent of his triples, the percentage dipped down 25.7 percent. Coleman ended his sophomore campaign shooting the ball well, canning 44.0 percent of his 2.8 triples across his final 12 games after making just seven of his 45 3s across the first 19. Coleman started in his last 13 games, correlating with Washington’s injury and remained when he returned.
Henry was the Wolf Pack’s tertiary center, averaging 5.7 minutes per game. Henry conjured together 17 points, 21 rebounds and two steals in 15 games, converting on seven of his 19 shots (36.8 percent) and two of his six triples. Henry, currently in the transfer portal, has totaled 50 points with 34 boards, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
The 2021-22 season was a slight step back for Hymes, who battled injuries throughout the year and couldn’t generate much of a groove when healthy. He averaged career lows in points (3.1 ppg), rebounds (2.3 rpg), blocks (0.4 bpg), field goal percentage (51.2), free-throw percentage (55.6) and did not make a 3-pointer on six tries after making nine on 26 combined attempts from 2019-21. He only played more than 15 minutes in four of the 22 games; for perspective, he played in 15 minutes or more in 14 games apiece in 2019-20 and 2020-21. Chalk it up as a mulligan year for Hymes and hopefully he can remain injury-free in 2022-23 as one of the team’s top bigs behind Baker.
Last, but certainly not least, Washington, who missed eight games during the middle of the season with a fractured finger, was the Wolf Pack’s top center and their third-best player. He averaged 10.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks on 60.8 percent shooting, including 73.2 percent from the charity stripe. Washington didn’t stray much from shooting outside of the paint, where he took nearly 90 percent of his attempts at a 63.3 percent clip. He was one of the top shot blockers and offensive rebounders in the Mountain West, ranking third in both offensive rebounding percentage and block percentage, per Ken Pom. Washington, who’s currently in the transfer portal, tallied four double-doubles this season and seven in three seasons with the Pack. Per reports, he has his eye on Marquette, San Diego State, Arizona State, LSU, Arkansas, Notre Dame and Florida.