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.
First off, we’ll review the guard position, spearheaded by Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge — Nevada’s top two players last year (and, frankly, the last two years, too). The Wolf Pack might’ve gone 13-18, but Sherfield and Cambridge both impressed, earning All-Conference nominees.
Though the guard-depth outside Sherfield and Cambridge lacked, there was still positives to take away. Without further ado, let’s jump into it!
Amid the struggles that plagued the team throughout the season, Sherfield still posted one of the conference’s most productive stat lines. He erupted for 19.1 points, 6.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds — all career highs, becoming the only player in the country to average 19-4-6 — and was marginally less efficient, sporting a 54.2 true shooting percentage compared to his 56.8 percent mark in 2020-21. Sherfield knocked down 33.3 percent of his triples, over three percentage points down from the year prior, on similar volume, though a majority of those looks came off the bounce instead of off the catch. He posted 15 20-point games — nearly half (7) coming with at least seven assists. When he missed three games with a foot injury, his shot-creation and crafty presence was sorely missed. You’d be hard-pressed to find many more productive seasons from a Wolf Pack player in recent memory. Yes, I believe Sherfield was that good, amid everything else.
Even with the midseason slump that he eventually snapped out of, Cambridge was Nevada’s best volume 3-point shooter and arguably its top defender. The hyper-athletic guard led the team in steals and was second in blocks, only trailing 7-foot center Warren Washington. His defensive impact went beyond the box score, too. Cambridge, listed at 6-foot-4, is switchable, and possesses the strength and tenacity to check the opposition’s 1 thru 4 if necessary. Offensively, he produced to a tune of 16.2 points and 5.1 rebounds, shooting 43.5 percent from the floor and 37.0 percent from beyond the arc. Cambridge was Nevada’s most effective and willing 3-point shooter, being the only player to hoist six or more 3s per 100 possessions at a 37.0 percent clip or better. He was Marcus Marshall- or Caleb Martin-esque with his tough shot-making capability; he’s ignitable and only needs to see one fall.
Foster served a bigger role with the Wolf Pack as a sophomore, but still had growing pains offensively. He was reliable, being one of four Pack players to appear in all 31 games. He averaged 2.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.6 steals in 19.7 minutes per game. Foster didn’t provide much shooting juice, making just one more 3-pointer (6) than he did as a freshman with 17 more attempts. Though Foster developed into one of the Pack’s top on-ball defenders it carried on the bench, as well as showcasing capable off-ball chops that led him to draw *checks notes* a lot of charges.
Similarly to 2020-21, Huseinovic played sparingly throughout the season. He appeared in 22 games, averaging 1.3 points in 8.2 minutes per game. Huseinovic, in the transfer portal, averaged just 1.6 points on 45.8 percent shooting in 43 career games with the Pack.
Weaver, a freshman, also didn’t see the hardwood much, logging just 56 total minutes across 11 contests. He attempted 10 shots, netting four of them, including shooting 1-of-4 from 3-point range. With Cambridge and Huseinovic electing to play elsewhere, expect a larger role for the 6-foot-4 guard in 2022-23.
As of right now, Pettigrew, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, is slotted as Nevada’s only new guard heading into next year. With Sherfield entering the draft, Cambridge’s departure to Arizona State plus Huseinovic’s decision to enter the portal, the Pack will certainly add at least one within the next several weeks. Pettigrew is a three-star recruit out of Kenwood High School in Chicago, Ill. He chose the Pack over Bradley, Chicago State, DePaul and Georgia, among others. He averaged 20.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists as a senior, knocking down 60.8 percent of his shots and 38.7 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Needless to say, Nevada did not have much guard depth outside of its two stalwarts. There will be plenty of opportunity for Foster, Weaver and incoming guard transfers next season. Cambridge’s shoes will be the toughest to fill, but it is doable with multiple key contributions from the aforementioned guards plus transfers. If he elects to return, Sherfield will, once again, carry a heavy shot-creation burden — and the Pack doesn’t possess much spacing (as of right now). If Nevada’s guards improve their shooting, then it will make Cambridge’s departure easier to stomach.