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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

December 1, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Scouting report: Nevada

deonte burton.jpg
Scouting report: Nevada
Game info: 8 p.m. Friday at Lawlor Event Center (11,536 capacity)
TV: ESPNU (Roxy Bernstein and Miles Simon)
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM
Online: ESPN3.com
Record: 4-3.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Coach: David Carter is 38-35 in his third season with the Wolf Pack.
Prediction: Picked to win the eight-team Western Athletic Conference by coaches. The media picked Nevada to finish second behind Utah State.
Series: Washington leads 6-1, which includes a three-game win streak.
Last meeting: The Huskies destroyed the Wolf Pack 90-60 at home on Dec. 22 last season. Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 24 points to lead four UW players who tallied double figures. Washington led 47-27 at halftime and was up by as many as 39 points in the second half. Nevada shot 28.3 percent from the field.
Previous game: Nevada beat Bradley 64-59 on Saturday.
Photo credit: Getty Images – Ethan Miller
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— WAC coaches selected sophomore point guard Deonte Burton (above) the conference’s preseason Player of the Year. He won the Freshman of the Year award and appears ready for a breakout season. Coach Carter knows how to groom point guards. He helped Ramon Sessions (2005) and Armon Johnson (2008) to the NBA. Burton is Nevada’s best pro prospect and is tabbed as a first-round pick in 2013. He’s capable of big scoring nights. He tallied 28 points in a 71-67 defeat to UNLV. Burton also has two eight-assist games.
— In the past three games, junior guard Malik Story has averaged 19.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.7 steals. He also shot 48.7 percent (19-of-39) from the field and 53.8 percent (14-of-26) from three-point range. Story won the WAC Player of the Week award after leading Nevada to a 2-1 record last week. The former Indiana transfer was picked second-team all-conference by WAC coaches.
— It’s been a slow start offensively for senior forward Dario Hunt, who was picked second-team all-conference by WAC coaches. He averaged just six points in the first four games before breaking double figures for the first time this season in fifth game, an 80-78 win over independent Longwood. On the defensive end, Hunt has been sensational at times. He’s the best shot blocker in the WAC and has 15 this season. He also has 10 steals and leads the team with an 8.0 rebounds per game average. Hunt was voted to the WAC’s all-defensive team last season.


OVERVIEW:
— Nevada returns five starters, but it is still a young team with only three seniors.
Olek Czyz, a transfer from Duke, averaged 12.3 points and 5.7 rebounds last season after missing the first nine games and becoming eligible in December. He was voted to the WAC all-Newcomer team by conference coaches. Czyz is a high-energy player, who can shoot from the perimeter.
— Junior guard Patrick Nyeko, a London native, played two seasons at Seattle Prep.
— Last season Nevada stumbled to a fifth-place finish in the WAC with an 8-8 record and 13-19 overall. It was the Wolf Pack’s worst record in a decade. They reached the postseason every year from 2002 to 2010 and had seven straight 20-win seasons before last season. In recent years, the roster became depleted after several players left early for the NBA draft and Carter was forced to play underclassmen last season.
— Carter came to the Wolf Pack in 1999 as an assistant and became head coach April 3, 2009 when Mark Fox left for the Georgia job. Carter took some heat for last season’s fall and knows he may not survive a few more setbacks like that. The Wolf Pack are expected to compete for a NCAA tournament berth, but they already have three losses on the resume.
— Still don’t let the defeats fool you. The combined record of the teams that beat the Wolf Pack is 15-2. Nevada lost 68-46 to Missouri State (4-0) in the season-opener at home. Nevada lost 71-67 at rival UNLV (7-0) and fell 76-55 to BYU (4-2) in Hoffsman Estates, Ill.
— This is the last season in the WAC for Nevada, which is moving to the Mountain West.
STARTING LINEUP:
F – Dario Hunt, 6-8, 230, Sr., 7.6 ppg., 8.0 rpg.
F – Olek Czyz, 6-7, 240, Sr., 9.6, 5.9
G – Jerry Evans Jr., 6-8, 188, So., 7.3, 6.1
G – Malik Story, 6-5, 225, Jr., 15.3, 2.1
G – Deonte Burton, 6-1, 185, So., 11.0, 4.4 apg.
KEY MATCHUP:
— Nevada’s offense begins with Burton, but containing Hunt is critical. He recorded a double double (16 points and 14 rebounds) last season against Washington, but that game was an early blowout. The Huskies built a 24-14 lead midway in the first half and extended it to 47-27 at halftime. Hunt is the type of undersized big man that gives Aziz N’Diaye fits because he’s active in the paint and can use his quickness against UW’s 7-footer. N’Diaye countered Hunt with length and posted a double double (11 points and 10 rebounds) against Nevada. Still keep your eye on Burton, the Compton, Calif. native who has the ability to take over games. He needed 14 shots to score 14 points in last year’s game against the Huskies and was mostly ineffective against Thomas.

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