Eric Mussleman

Eric Mussleman

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

Nevada Basketball #HoopTalk series consists of in-depth breakdowns and interviews with coaches and players on different phases of the game. Last week, Wolf Pack Coach Rex Walters broke down the defensive side of the ball screen and this will we will have our own Todd Okeson discuss how to effectively use the ball screen from the offensive side of the ball. 

Okeson brings a successful playing career with him, as he took Nevada to the Sweet 16 in 2004. Prior to joining the Wolf Pack, he had stints in Hawaii as the Director of Basketball Operations, Southern Utah as a Head Coach and Assistant, Georgia as an Operations Assistant, and the Reno Bighorns in the NBDL as an Assistant Coach. 

We spent time with Todd talking about how PG’s should approach using the ball screen.

Q: As a player, what was your thought process when using a ball screen?

TO: My thought process was always score first, then read the defense. When you are actively looking to score off the ball screen you force the defense to adjust to stop the ball. You need to put pressure on the defense and force them to decide on how to stop the ball.  There are many ways to defend ball screens and if you aren’t looking to score first the defense won’t have to adjust to stop the ball.  

Q: As you transitioned to a coach, how do you teach a PG to have the same thought process?

TO: My strategy is to get them to see how much more affective they are when attacking off a ball screen than not attacking.  Film study of other players helps tremendously as players are more prone to learn by watching.  If they can see the difference in film and apply it to their game, they will have confidence to keep improving their overall ball screen aggressiveness. 

Q: From the preparation of your opponent, if you know a team hard hedges, how do you plan to attack off a ball screen?

TO: You want to pull the big outside to defend the ball screen.  If you know that a hard hedge is coming you will want to attack the ball screen defender’s hip to take an aggressive angle to attack the basket.  By actively attacking the ball screen defender’s hip you will make the defender work to stop the ball screen action. When they hard hedge, splitting the screen could be open as well. You do not want to pre-determine splitting the screen, you want to react if you see the space open. 

Q: How does it change if you know a team switches?

TO: When the defense switches ball screens your point guard can lose their aggressive mindset.   When the switch occurs the ball handler must remain aggressive to get by the switching defender to create for others or themselves. When a defense switches, you want to switch to the man, which is a concept player will not do every time as the game progresses. A shot you may have is stopping behind the screen for a shot. Also, when teams are switching, the big slipping could be open as well. 

We want to thank Todd for taking time out of his day to talk basketball with us and share his knowledge!

Saturday, 22 September 2018 21:40

Leave It On The Hardwood

With official practice starting next week, we want to give our players the theme, “leave it on the hardwood”. We have 7 players on our roster who have 1 year of college basketball eligibility left. We encourage them to leave it on the hardwood and come to work every day working towards our team's goals. 

If we get all of our players approaching each day with this mindset then we have a chance to do something special. Pack players should have this mentality entering every practice, individual workout, and games when they begin. Pack players will play each game like it is your last and like you have something to prove. 

If they can do this and leave it on the hardwood, then when this season comes to an end they will feel good about knowing that they left it all out there for Nevada. 

Friday, 21 September 2018 15:51

Nevada Basketball Pro Day

On Thursday September 27th, 2018 the Nevada Basketball team will be holding its first ever “Proday." Pro-day is an event in which NBA teams are invited to attend practice to evaluate the talent on the Nevada Basketball team for the upcoming season. The NBA scouts in attendance will have the opportunity to get a preview of our team and possibly add some names to their radar before the season even begins. Pro-day is also an opportunity for the scouts to interact with our staff to speak on potential prospects.

The inaugural Nevada basketball Pro-day will be streamed live on the Mountain West Network and the Nevada Wolf Pack Facebook page. The pro-day will also re-air the night of September 27th on Nevada Sports Network (NSN) at a time to be determined.

The Pro-day event will be an hour and a half practice that consists of pressure shooting drills, high energy defensive drills and full court and half court live segments that will showcase the talents and athleticism of our Nevada basketball team.

“We are all excited for the first ever pro-day here at Nevada and we are excited to have over half the NBA teams already confirmed,” Coach Eric Musselman said. “I think it is a great opportunity and honor for our players to get a chance to perform in front of NBA personnel and it is a great selling point for our program as a whole. That being said, we are all aware of the fact that this is just one day in a long season and what happens on this day does not mean we can take for granted our goals for the rest of the season.”

Be on the lookout for the release our our custom designed pro-day gear for both staff and players

Friday, 21 September 2018 00:56

Ice Cream Surprise

On the last day of preseason practice, coach Eric Musselman surprised the team with bringing an ice cream truck to practice. The players were told that coach Muss had to go to a meeting and couldn't conclude practice but little did they know the trick he had up his sleeve. As the players met at center court with the assistant coaches to close out practice, they were caught by surprise by the music of an ice cream truck and coach Musselman screaming "ice cream, ice cream... come and get your ice cream." After a great summer and fall of hard working practice, this was a great surprise for the team. Check out the video here:

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 16:43

Mountain West Releases Television Schedule

With two teams in the NCAA tournament last season, one reaching the Sweet Sixteen, and a potential Top Ten program for this season; the Mountain West Conference continues to get national recognition on all levels. This time it's on the national television scene. 

The Mountain West Conference has officially released it's tv schedule and the Wolf Pack will have all eighteen conference games televised on national stations. These stations include all ESPN stations as well as CBS Sports Network.

"We are extremely excited to see the Mountain West Conference schedule slate for our team. We have so much respect for this conference and know how tough it is to win a game. Our conference is gifted with some of the best venues in college basketball and every night will be a test.” -Eric Musselman

The Pack will begin conference play on January 2, 2019 at home against Utah State. This game is set to be televised on ESPNU. 

Nevada opens the season hosting BYU on Nov. 6 on CBS Sports Network.  In total the Wolf Pack will appear on the CBSSN 12 times during the season.   In addition to hosting BYU the Pack will entertain MW foes San Jose State, Colorado State, Boise State, New Mexico, Fresno State, UNLV and San Diego State at Lawlor Events Center while conference road games at Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State and Utah State will all air on CBSSN.
 
The ESPN family of networks will carry 14 Nevada games this season.  The highlight game will be the Sweet 16 rematch at Loyola Chicago on Nov. 27 on ESPNews.  The Arizona State game from STAPLES Center, contest at intrastate rival UNLV and road game at Air Force can be seen on ESPN2.  ESPN2 or ESPNU will carry MW road games at Fresno State and Wyoming.  Five games will air on ESPNU which includes home games with Little Rock, Utah State and Air Force.  A neutral site contest with Grand Canyon in Phoenix and a road game at New Mexico will also be shown on ESPNU.
 
Three non-conference home games with Pacific, South Dakota State and Akron can be seen on ESPN3.  The Pack's home game with Cal Baptist is available on STADIUM.  The two games in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Invitational over Thanksgiving at the Orleans Arena versus Tulsa and either UMass or Southern Illinois will be shown on Fox Sports 1.

Season tickets are sold out but single game tickets will be on sale soon.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018 15:50

Nevada Basketball Drills: Celtic Advance Pass

The Pack wants to play fast this year and in order to play fast, we must practice that way. We want to get out in transition, open the floor up, and get everyone involved. 

A drill we do with our team to emphasize this is our “Celtic Advance Pass” Drill. The drill starts with players split up under both baselines and at half court. We have two managers set up on the opposite side of half court for our players to run simulating them sprinting the floor for a lay-up. 

Key components of the drill…

  • Sprint the floor
  • Quick outlets
  • Passes on time and on target
  • Game speed finish
  • Communication 
  • High energy

Our goal is to get 28 made baskets in 2 minutes. This is a great challenging drill that will enhance player’s conditioning while also teaching them how to run the floor. Check out the video below!

 

Monday, 17 September 2018 15:44

Mind Candy

At Nevada, we discuss with Pack players how our daily “Mind Candy” relates to them, their commitment to the team and how they can improve as a unit. These short phrases or graphics are meant to get our players thinking about certain topics. They are designed to inspire them, drive home key concepts, and to stimulate discussion. Most importantly, they set the expectation of our programs and helps us establish the championship culture we want to embody. 

At the beginning of practice each day, we introduce a new Mind Candy phrase. We state it to the team and usually will show a graphic or video that goes along with the theme of today. We will discuss how it relates to each player individually and our team before we start. This is a great way to get Pack players in the right mind set to attack the day and have a good practice. 

An example of Mind Candy we have used with our team…

  • Things that require zero talent: being on time, work ethic, effort, body language, attitude, passion, and being coachable. 

Pack players can think to themselves if they are living by these traits on and off the court and if not, we want this Mind Candy to bring it out of them.  

Sunday, 16 September 2018 23:54

Pack Players and Staff Support Nevada Football

Nevada Basketball players and staff went to support the football team as they took on Oregon State this Saturday. Pack players gathered on campus to have a tailgate while socializing with family and friends of the program. Pack players were excited to attend the game and cheer on Nevada Football who put on a huge performance their last game at Mackay Stadium vs Portland State. It was great for our players to have the chance to meet and iteract with our fans. 

Pack football proved themselves by defeating PAC-12 opponent Oregon State 37-35 in a thrilling game.  The game came down to the final seconds and the Pack got a stop on an Oregon State field goal attempt to seal the victory. The crowd at the game was energetic throughout and we loved to see the support from Northern Nevada for our football team. 

Nevada Football improved to 2-1 on the season with the victory. We are looking forward for when they return to Mackay after a couple road games and wish them the best of luck next at Toledo!

Saturday, 15 September 2018 17:13

Position-More Basketball

At Nevada, we want our players to be POSITION-MORE, not position-less. Last year we used the term "Position-Less Basketball" and had 6 guys that could play every 1-5. As our summer skill development progressed, we started using the term "Position-More Basketball". Pack players will be able to efficiently play multiple positions, which is something our skill development focused on this summer. Versatility is becoming more and more important in today's game and you need to be able to play the game at all 3 levels (at the rim, in the mid-range, and behind the 3pt line). 

We have a deep roster this year and want each Pack player to know every position on the floor. This not only helps them remember the plays and know our offense, but it will prepare them to play every position. They should be able to execute our sets no matter what position they are playing. In situations where injuries or foul trouble occur, we want to have confidence in Pack players to go out and get the job done.

Be ready for the Pack to play POSITION-MORE basketball this season!

Friday, 14 September 2018 23:58

Get on the Muss Bus!

Basketball is almost upon us! The Pack is headed into the 2018-19 season and expected to be a Preseason Top 10 team in the country. Season tickets are already sold out. Now we have to get the Muss Bus Student Section rocking like never before! 

Free Muss Bus shirts are available for students to pick up Monday-Friday (8am-2pm), in the Basketball Office on the first floor of Legacy Hall. 

While there are high expectations in Reno for this year’s Nevada team, there are also high expectations for the Muss Bus to be the best student section in the country! Every game there are approximately 1,200 seats reserved for the Muss Bus Student Section. We expect to have all 1,200 seats filled for every game in Lawlor! 

Last season there were free giveaways for the Muss Busers throughout the season, such as free Canes at the UNLV game and free energy drinks during finals week. This year we will continue to have giveaways for the Muss Bus! So students, come by the basketball office in Legacy Hall when you have some free time, say hi to Coach Musselman, and sign up for the Muss Bus alerts this season. 

Non-students can email graduate assistant, Christian Murphy, for details on how to pick up a Muss Bus shirt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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