The guys talk Nevada football, Austin Corbett draft position, Caleb Martin at the NBA draft combine, The Floss and more.
Chris Murray, Reno Gazette-Journal
Is Reno a football town or a basketball town? I get that question a lot. There’s no doubt right now it’s a basketball town. The Wolf Pack football team just finished spring camp and I got two questions about the team among my Monday Twitter Mailbag inquires. Meanwhile, I got 20-plus questions about the basketball team, which is in the middle of the offseason (albeit an active offseason). Also, my 10U girls soccer team – The Regular Tigers – got blasted last weekend, 4-1, in a game that wasn’t even that close. But we will solider forward and look to even our 1-2 record next week. On to the questions.
I very much wanted to do a story on that topic – How does Reno view its former hero, Colin Kaepernick? – earlier this year, but never found the time to do so with the Wolf Pack basketball team keeping me plenty busy. My impression is it’s mixed. There was the whole Reno airport fiasco when his memorabilia was briefly taken out of the Wolf Pack’s case – spring cleaning, the airport said – before his stuff was downsized from three cases to one. One restaurant took a shot at him by running a banner that said something to the effect of, “Here, we stand for the anthem.” Then there was the gas station situation. And you won’t see many Kaepernick jerseys hanging in sports bars around town, but I’m not sure there’s any link there to his protest. Reno just isn’t a great sports town.
Like most places, people in Reno are split on Kaepernick, the only difference being everybody here used to idolize him. Whenever I write about Kaepernick, I get tons of emails, both supporting him and denouncing him. It’s usually even. UNR president Marc Johnson has been supportive of Kaepernick’s protest, saying the school “will not abandon the many contributions” he made to Nevada. Kaepernick is included in the mural inside the Basin Street Club at Mackay Stadium, so the school hasn’t banished imagery of him on campus. I tweeted this about Kaepernick while on a trip in San Jose earlier this year.
I don’t see Nevada adding a statue of Kaepernick any time soon, but will the Wolf Pack retire him number? I doubt that happens in the next decade, although it should. I’m with you in regard to players wearing his No. 10 (which also could be retired in honor of Chris Vargas). Nevada shouldn’t be issuing that number, but the school has had two complete staff turnovers since Kaepernick last played for the Wolf Pack, so I doubt many people associated with the program right now even know Kaepernick wore No. 10.
Nevada didn’t issue No. 10 in 2011 – the first year post-Kaepernick – but Reggie Coates, a defensive end, wore it from 2012-13. It wasn’t worn in 2014. Linebacker L.J. Jackson wore it from 2015-16, and quarterback Griffin Dahn wore it in 2017 and will do so in 2018. Retiring numbers can be difficult in football since there are usually 100-plus players and only 99 numbers. Nevada has retired only three football jerseys in its history – Dick Trachock’s 21, Frank Hawkins’ 27 and Marion Motley’s 41.
Kaepernick’s 10 deserves to be in that group. No player had a greater impact on Nevada football than Kaepernick. Will it happen? I doubt it, especially in the short term given how controversial he is in a county that is evenly split between red and blue (and Nevada can’t afford to drive away potential fans given its issues filling Mackay Stadum). Let’s see if Kaepernick gets in the Hall of Fame in 2020, the first year he’s eligible, first, but I’d like to see the number retired.
TJ Friedl’s story is the bar. He walked on to the Nevada baseball team in 2013, redshirted in 2014 because he wasn’t deemed good enough to get regular at-bats, starred for the Wolf Pack in 2015 (becoming the first Nevada player to hit better than .400 since 2001) and because no MLB teams knew he was draft eligible he signed with the Reds for a $735,000 bonus two months after the draft.
That bonus is the third largest in Wolf Pack baseball history behind Braden Shipley ($2.25 million in 2013 with Arizona) and Darrell Rasner ($800,000 in 2002 with Montreal) and the largest in MLB history for a domestic non-drafted free agent. All that from a guy who walked on and was redshirted in his second season with the program because he wasn’t good enough to play.
As far as football is concerned, Corbett’s story is the bar. From unrecruited walk-on to No. 33 pick is pretty incredible (although these things happen somehow often in football; Boise State alum Leighton Vander Esch played eight-man football in rural Idaho, walked on to the Broncos and was the No. 19 pick in this year’s draft). Mike Crawford also walked on at Nevada from Whittell High and was drafted.
However, my favorite Wolf Pack football rags to riches story is Eric Sanders, a Wooster High alum and Nevada offensive lineman in the 1970s and 1980s.
Sanders quit football after his freshman year to drive a truck delivering Coca-Cola products. As part of his job, he delivered Coke to the Nevada football offices. It’s then coach Chris Ault set Sanders up with his secretary, Irene, on a blind date to try and get her to talk him into returning to football. She did just that and Irene and Eric ended up getting married. “It was truly amazing what he did,” Ault said of Sanders’ return for the 1979 and 1980 seasons. “He took two years off and came back a better player. He really was a changed person. He became dedicated to us, a real leader.”
In last week’s Mailbag, I said 30 percent. Given Brown now has a top three of Nevada, Cal and Arizona, I’ll bump up the Wolf Pack’s odds to 40 percent, with Cal at 30 percent, Arizona at 20 percent and a wild card at 10 percent. Nevada likes it chances – so much so it feels like the front-runner at this stage.
The date to withdraw from the NBA draft and return to college is May 30. I highly doubt Jordan Brown will wait until May 30 to make his decision. So while I’m sure Brown would like that additional information, I don’t think his decision hinges on the status of the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline.
As with the previous question, they’re not related. The Martins and Caroline wouldn’t make their decision based on Jordan Brown’s recruitment. They know if they return to school Nevada will be a preseason top-15 team with a shot of competing for a Final Four berth. Their decision is more based on feedback from the NBA, where they believe they might go in the draft and whether they want to pursue a professional career now rather than playing another college season. They know Nevada will be loaded if they return, with or without Brown.
Probably one of the incoming freshmen who signed in November.
No. They would have to sit out another season, but I don’t see any of the four sit-out transfers leaving.
Caleb Martin did receive a full NBA draft combine invitation, so he will be at the event in Chicago from May 16-20. Prospects are allowed to work out with NBA teams right now, and all three will get some sessions. They have until May 30 to return to school. If they don’t do so before then, they’re turning pro.
I read something over the weekend that said 70 percent of the players invited to the NBA draft combine get drafted. Now, that hasn’t exactly worked out with Wolf Pack players of late. Deonte Burton and Cameron Oliver were both invited to the combine and weren’t drafted. But if 70 percent of the roughly 65 players invited to the combine get drafted, that takes up 45 of the 60 spots. The other 15 are likely overseas players who didn’t go to the combine. There are maybe one or two non-combine players who get drafted per season, although that doesn’t mean they won’t make the NBA via an undrafted free-agent deal or through the G-League. You’re probably looking at 8-10 players per class who don’t get invited to the NBA draft combine who still make it to league at some point (Nevada’s Kevinn Pinkney, for example).
The locked in games at this point are:
Home: Pacific (Nov. 9); Arkansas Little Rock (Nov. 16), Cal Baptist (Nov. 19); South Dakota State (Dec. 15)
Road: Loyola Chicago (Nov. 28)
Neutral: Tulsa (Nov. 22 in Las Vegas); UMass or Southern Illinois (Nov. 23 in Las Vegas); Arizona State (Dec. 7 in Los Angeles)
That’s eight games, which leaves five more to add (unless Nevada adds a game at Hawaii, which would give it a sixth game to schedule). The Wolf Pack will add at least one home-and-home with a Power 5 school and potentially two. An additional neutral-site game against a quality opponent is likely.
In the end, next year’s schedule will probably look at lot like this year’s schedule with the Arizona State game being comparable to last year’s TCU game; the South Dakota State game being comparable to last year’s Rhode Island game; and a home-and-home Power 5 add (likely starting with a road game in 2018-19) being comparable to last year’s Texas Tech game.
Begin Fremont portion of Mailbag
Deepest? Sure, a possibility. But not the best. The 2010 team had Vai Taua, Rishard Matthews, Virgil Green and Brandon Wimberly. That’s two NFL players and two more who made NFL camps. The 1996-1998 teams had Chris Lemon, Trevor Insley and Geoff Noisy. I’d take the trio, too. One thing Jay Norvell has done a good job of is recruiting playmakers on offense. The 2020-21 Wolf Pack teams could rival that 2010 team in the play-making department.
1. Ty Gangi
2. Cristian Solano
3. Kaymen Cureton (Nevada should try and redshirt him)
4. Griffin Dahn
5. Carson Strong (makes sense to make him the scout team QB for reps)
The No. 2 seed behind San Diego State.
I don’t think a horse-sized duck could do any damage to me, so I’ll pick that.
Nevada would be ranked sixth in the nation.
It will help most in recruiting. Couple the Wolf Pack’s Sweet 16 run with its assistant continuity with some available playing time next season and I’d be surprised if Nevada didn’t land at least one four-start/top-150 prospect in its 2019 recruiting class.
It was not a good weekend for Nevada in the Governor’s Series. The Wolf Pack lost 4.5 points over the weekend with UNLV now leading, 21-18, but Nevada is still in solid shape. There are three events left: outdoor track and field; baseball; and Academic Progress Report. UNLV won the MW’s indoor track and field event while Nevada placed 10th, so I’m going to assume the Rebels with that to go up 24-18.
Nevada would need to win the final two events (baseball and APR) to force a tie. The Wolf Pack would win a tie since it holds the Fremont Cannon. Nevada enters next weekend’s baseball series with a two games to one edge. The Wolf Pack needs to win two out of three next weekend to clinch those points. A tie won’t help. It then needs to win the APR, which it usually does. So it really comes down to the baseball team.
That being said, UNLV has won five MW titles this year to Nevada’s one, so it’s hard to argue the Wolf Pack has had a better athletic season no matter what the Governor’s Series says.
End Fremont portion of Mailbag
I don’t believe there is a walk-on maximum in the NCAA.
I doubt we know that until right before the start of the season.
Not having a men’s track and field team has no impact on Nevada football.
I’ve never seen the movie, so I cannot comment.
It was a very good, or as good as a movie can be without a true ending. It was clearly a bridge to Avengers 4. The pacing and transitions were awesome given how many worlds had to be blended. If you want to see how not to blend worlds, watch Justice League. Thanos is a badass and the movie really showed which Marvel superheroes have actual powers – basically Doctor Strange, Thor, Scarlet Witch and to some degree Mantis. The rest of the “superheroes” are worthless against Thanos.
Rankings of the Marvel movies I’ve seen.
1. Black Panther
2. Thor: Ragnarok
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
5. The Avengers
6. Avengers: Infinity War
8. Captain America: Civil War
9. Spider-Man: Homecoming
10. Iron Man
12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
13. Big Hero 6
14. Iron Man 3
15. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
16. Thor: The Dark World
17. Doctor Strange (son was bugging me during this movie, so it was a partial viewing)
18. Avengers: Age of Ultron
20. Howard the Duck
21. Iron Man 2 (yes, this was worse than Howard the Duck)
It is not necessary to see Black Panther before Avengers: Infinity War. You wouldn’t miss anything important leading into Avengers: Infinity War. But I would see Black Panther in the theater if you can. The visuals are worth the cost of seeing it on the big screen.
The Wolf Pack has lost a season-high six straight games. Nevada has allowed at least nine runs in each of its last five games, so that’s the biggest issue that needs correcting. Nevada had allowed nine-plus runs in just five of its first 34 games and has now done that in five straight. The Wolf Pack needs to get that sorted out since this team is built on pitching and defense.
The Mountain West is a two-team race with Nevada (14-6 in the MW) and San Diego State (13-7) being the only teams above .500. The Wolf Pack plays three games at SDSU to end the regular season, so that series will almost certainly decide the MW champ.
If you put “Go Giants” in your question, your question doesn’t get answered.
This video posted by Wolf Pack player Tyson Williams after Nevada’s spring game went viral and has around 2.2 million views.
I don’t understand why it went viral. She scored a touchdown and did what the kids are calling The Floss. It’s cool, I guess, but 2.2 million views? File it under Cardi B, Post Malone, YouTubers and the Kardashians as things that are popular that I don’t understand. But good for Nevada to get that exposure.
To get back to your question, I’ll go: (1) The Floss; (2) The Wave; and (3) Kids Announcing Names, although I’m confused why there is no C on your list of options. You go straight from B to D. This could be something the kids are doing nowadays that I don’t understand. I am a very old 35-year-old.
I’ve never oiled by garage door chain or replaced my door’s weatherstripping, so I fail The Man Test. Tim the Toolman Taylor would grunt at me in disapproval.
Justin Turner’s return to the Dodgers will certainly help the team, whose offense has been sub-par for the majority of the season, but the bigger issue is the bullpen, and I don’t think Turner’s return will help that group. The Dodgers’ bullpen ranked fourth in baseball with a 3.38 ERA last season. This year, it is 21st with a 4.61 ERA. Not good.
Despite trailing the Diamondbacks by seven games, the Dodgers are still projected by FanGraphs to win the division by three games. A lot depends on injuries. If the Diamondbacks’ rotation stays healthy, they will probably win the division. But that rotation is thin. If they suffer one or two injuries there, I think the Dodgers catch them.
(Update: Corey Seager’s arm is broken and so is the Dodgers’ season).
I have two girls who won’t run during the game and if you have two girls who don’t run during the game with six offensive players per team you’re going to be playing four on six and you’re probably going to lose. I need to find a way to get them to run. That’s the adjustment that needs to be made.
Uber, although I should probably use Lyft. Also, I consider the day I lost my five-star Uber rating among the worst days of my life. I am a people-pleaser and perfectionist and bend over backward to try and appease strangers. One time an Uber driver farted on me while taking me to the Boise airport, but I still gave her a five-star rating because I’m nice. I fancy myself as the perfect Uber rider – I talk to the drivers even if I don’t feel like talking to them, I make sure I don’t slam their door while getting in and out, I always walk to get to an easier pickup location for the, I tip a lot (because the RGJ is paying for it anyway) – yet somebody gave me a four-star rating at some point. I would like to know who this evil person is. My 4.96-star overall rating is a slap in the face. I will mourn the loss of my five-star rating forever.