Alford, Nevada Have Weathered The Storm, Won’t Be Forced To Rebuild
The first major test of the Steve Alford era in Reno was passed with flying colors
Alford and his staff have kept plenty of talent in Reno
With yet another Wolf Pack star announcing he would be returning to Reno, it’s safe to say Steve Alford and his staff have passed their first major test.
The cabinet was looking incredibly bare for quite some time, but with senior point guard Lindsey Drew revealing Tuesday that he will remain with the Pack, Nevada’s rotation is rounding into shape for the ’19-20 season.
Things were looking pretty dicey for a while, though.
Nevada was already down seven players due to graduation to start the offseason. The senior class – featuring the Martin twins, Jordan Caroline, Trey Porter, and Tre’Shawn Thurman – made up 79.3 percent of the team’s minutes played and 82.0 percent of the team’s scoring this past season.
The attrition continued after Eric Musselman up and left for Arkansas.
Sharpshooter Jazz Johnson put his name in the transfer portal along with Lindsey Drew, JUCO transfer Eric Parrish, Louisiana Tech transfer Jalen Harris, redshirt freshman K.J. Hymes, Nisre Zouzoua (who appeared in 21 games with the Wolf Pack last season), and former five-star recruit Jordan Brown.
Brown is the only one of the seven listed above who has yet to pull his name from the portal and return to Reno. There’s still a chance that Brown – who has been re-recruited heavily by his Wolf Pack teammates – sticks with Nevada as well.
Having these players back is not only a strong indication of Alford’s connection with his new team, but it makes things much easier for the ’19-20 season and beyond.
The table below includes the seven Mountain West head coaching changes since 2017 and notable players that had consequently transferred during the offseason of the coaching hire.
Roster teardowns aren’t uncommon during coaching transitions. Heck, you could assemble first and second all-conference teams out of the notable transfers listed above.
Nevada didn’t get everyone back (Shamiel Stevenson, Mike Lewis II, Daryl Edwards and JoJo Anderson are gone), but its roster is in better shape than anyone could have reasonably imagined a month ago.
If Jordan Brown opts to come back for his sophomore season (he was in attendance of Nevada’s basketball banquet) and the Wolf Pack adds another body to the frontcourt, Steve Alford would have pulled off a near-perfect offseason. Props to the Nevada coaching staff for keeping the team’s nucleus intact in what could have easily been a rebuilding season ahead in Reno.
Eli Boettger is the lead basketball writer at Mountain West Wire. He’s covered Mountain West basketball since 2015 and his work has been featured on Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, MSN, and other platforms. Boettger is a current USBWA member.