Texas Transfer Will Baker chooses Nevada
Nevada looks to be on the right track.
When Eric Musslemen took the Arkansas job following the 2018-19 season, Nevada Athletic Director Doug Knuth decided on an experienced MW coach with Steve Alford. In six seasons with New Mexico, Alford led the Lobos to three tournament appearances with three wins in the Big Dance. Entering Alford’s first season, losing your big three, The Martin Twins and Jordan Caroline, the Wolf Pack team’s key leaders that got to the Sweet 16.
Alford’s first season in Reno was seen as the beginning of a rebuild, and the Wolf Pack got 19 wins and subsequently lost Jalen Harris, Lindsey Drew, and Jazz Johnson, the top three scorers from that team. Alford hit the portal for this season, snagging Grant Sherfield from Wichita State, a player previously committed to Alford at UCLA. Brown transfer Desmond Cambridge became eligible, as did OSU transfer Warren Washington. Alford also snagged Tre’ Coleman, a future-star for Nevada. All that is just the precursor of what’s to come in 2021-22.
Nevada landed a former five-star recruit and Texas transfer Will Baker to its roster over the holiday weekend. The former Texas big struggled in his small minutes for Texas last season as a freshman but has high sky potential and can be one of the conference’s better players very soon. The 7-foot lefty is exceptionally skilled and the kind of player that excels in the Mountain West, similar to former Steve Alford coached big-man Alex Kirk.
The ability to add transfers is the top key to getting a mid-major team from good to great. It’s also worth noting, that previous relationships in recruiting always matter. We’ve seen two examples of this, Will Baker’s final two as a recruit was between Texas & UCLA, and Baker was recruited by Alford and his staff, as was Grant Sherfield, a once UCLA commit that decommitted following Alford’s firing from UCLA. Alford is a tremendous recruiter and this is just another example
Texas Longhorn transfer Will Baker has committed to #Nevada.
— Brandon Jenkins (@BJenkins247) January 2, 2021
Not only did Alford add Baker for 2021-22, but also added Oregon transfer Addison Patterson. While Patterson didn’t play well as a freshman in 2019-20, he did reclassify, and we saw time and time again, reclassified players struggle. Patterson will slot in as one of the more explosive players in the MW Conference, and his athleticism is off the charts; the closest former Mountain West player I can even compare him to is former UNLV forward Derrick Jones Jr.
Nevada is also set to return every single player from this season’s team (Obviously, due to scholarships, not everyone will be able to return, but this is what it will look like.
That is sixteen players, so three will not be on this team, and it likely be between Washington, Hymes, Robinson, Milling as the potential players to transfer.
When you return, you, everybody of significance, more than likely and add two players with All-MWC potential, is one of the more dangerous Nevada teams in 2021-22.
Things can absolutely change by November 2021, as we are only a few days into the new calendar year. Still, looking at what other MW teams are losing, Boise will lose Alston Jr, SDSU will lose Mitchell, and likely Schakel, Wyoming will continue to improve, as will Colorado State, but there will be a ton of turnover from the top teams this season.
The Wolf Pack will be a scary team in 2021-22, be patient Pack fans; this is going to be a team to pack Lawlor Events Center to the brim to watch.