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.

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..

Nevada Basketball’s new #HoopTalk series will consist of in-depth breakdowns and interviews with coaches and players on different aspects of the game. What better way to kick off this series than with Rex Walters, the newest member of our coaching staff.

Walters brings a wealth of coaching and playing experience with him in college and the NBA. He spent 10 years as a Division 1 head coach at USF and FAU and also as a head coach in the NBA G-League for the Grand Rapids Drive. This past season, he served as an Assistant Coach for the Detroit Pistons. During his playing days, he was a member of the 1993 Kansas Final Four team and continued to play at the professional level in the NBA and overseas. 

We sat Rex down and had him breakdown how to effectively guard the ball screen. 

Q: How important is communication when guarding the ball screen and where should the communication come from?  

RW: Communication eliminates confusion, as Bob Beyer always says.  It is very important that the Pick and Roll defender is talking on the FIRST movement of the offensive picker (screener).  Whatever coverage we are in, the Pick Defender must tell the on-ball defender where the help is:

Rex gave examples of this… 

  • Example:  Side Pick and Roll Show = Pick Defender makes a “Middle” call (early, loud and repeated 3 times) to let on-ball defender know to adjust his stance and force ball to the middle.  
  • The communication or “Call” gets the defense on the same page and is the starting point of putting together a good defensive possession.   

Q: How should the On-Ball Defender react when a screen is coming?

RW: The on-ball defender’s job is first and foremost to guard the ball.  He or she should be squared up to the ball.  You want to pressure and contain the ball.  Good pressure and containment is keeping the offense at an arm length.  There is no looking around to see where the screen is coming from.  Once the on-ball defender hears the "call", he or she should adjust his or her stance, if possible, get into the ball handler’s body with a leveraged stance and force the ball to his or her help.  Forcing the ball to the help will also stop a team from changing or flipping the screen.  The on-ball defender and pick defender are working together to force the ball where the Defense is loaded. 

Q: How Important is it for a team to have multiple ball screen coverages?

RW: I think it is very important to have multiple coverages. Here are some Coverages that most NBA Teams have in their Side Pick and Roll Defense Package.

Rex expanded into detail on these coverages and his notes are below…

  • Drops for Pick and Rim Runners or Hard Rollers - Calls:
        • “Baseline” or “White” - Forcing Side Pick and Rolls to the Baseline
        • “Middle” - Forcing Side Pick and Rolls to Middle of Floor
        • “Veer” Backs - occur when On Ball Defender can not get back in front of ball and Pick Defender calls out a Veer (Usually a call when in Drops) to late switch.
    • Shows for Pick and Short Roll or Pop Players - Calls would remain:
        • “Baseline” or “White” - Forcing Side Pick and Rolls to the Baseline
        • “Middle” - Forcing Side Pick and Rolls to Middle of Floor
        • “Veer” Backs - occur when On Ball Defender can not get back in front of ball and Pick Defender calls out a Veer (Usually a call when in Drops) to late switch.
    • “Switch” for Great Shooters that you don’t want to stretch out with a Show.  I only like switches on contact...but that is just me. 
    • Blitzes (or doubling the ball handler) if you want to speed up the game, have a speed and quickness advantage, don’t want a great ball handler to beat you (or get the ball out of his hands).
        • Calls would remain either “Baseline or White” or “Middle”
    • “Squeeze” when a particular ball handler is more of a driver than a shooter.  I still believe it's important to make a "Baseline, White or Middle call. 

RW: The game is getting more and more Pick and Roll oriented.  I didn’t talk about Middle or High Pick and Rolls.  I also didn’t get into Hand Offs and Dribble Hand Offs.  It may seem like a lot, there is so much more that needs to be covered, but I think it is important that coaches have a plan for all of these Pick and Roll situations.  I worked for Stan Van Gundy and his preparation for all Offensive Actions really opened my eyes defensively!  I learned an awful lot in 2 years working for him.  Hope this helps you and I am always available to talk about it and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RW: Thanks for reading. Coach Musselman would love to have you come out and watch our practices.  It’s been great for me to see the great pace of practice that Coach Muss has this team practicing at here at the University of Nevada!  I know he would love to have you come to a practice and definitely a game.  Thanks for reading and Go Pack!

We want to thank Rex for taking time out of his busy day to talk about the defensive side of the ball screen. Stay tuned for our next #HoopTalk blog coming out next week!

Tuesday, 11 September 2018 01:00

Armon Johnson Returns to Reno

In the words of Armon Johnson, "I have reached my dream of playing professional basketball... I have traveled to many different countries, but I'm not satisfied. I am back to finish my degree and help the current Wolf Pack players reach their goals"

The former Wolf Pack star and 34th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft is back at the University Nevada to complete his bachelors degree and serve as an undergraduate assistant for the Men's Basketball program. Johnson left school after three years in silver and blue to declare fro the NBA Draft. He was taken in the second round by the Portland Trail Blazers where he spent a season and a half before being shipped to the New Jersey Nets in 2012.  Johnson spent several years playing professionally in the states and overseas.

"Playing in the NBA was a dream. What young basketball player doesn't grow up with aspirations of playing in the league," Armon stated. "It was an experience I will never forget. The NBA, the D-League, playing overseas, it was all great. I think I can now say I'm a world traveler."

Well, Johnson won't have to travel too far for his next journey. The Chicago, Illinois native who played high school basketball in Reno is and taking a full 15 hour course load in order to complete his degree in Human Development and Family Studies. 

"Having Armon Johnson back on campus is a home run for our program," Eric Musselman said. "Not only is he a great player that will be a role model to our guys, but he's also a tremendous person with the type of character and work ethic that we try to instill in our players. With this being said we are extremely excited to get Armon back in our program as an undergraduate assistant. With his background and playing career at Nevada, he will serve a very important role in practice and will be another vehicle for our players to use as guidance." 

In three seasons at Nevada, Johnson totaled 1,441 points, 370 rebounds, 445 assists and 83 steals.  He ranks 11th in scoring and fifth in assists on the Wolf Pack's career lists. Appearing in 101 games he made 99 starts which ranks 10th in school history.  The Pack won 21 games each of his three seasons and made postseason appearances every year.  As a freshman he was a member of the team that tied for first in the Western Athletic Conference, his sophomore squad placed second and as junior the Pack tied for second.

Johnson was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and to the WAC Newcomer Team in 2008.  In his second season he was selected to the WAC first team and earned second-team honors as a junior.

Armon Johnson Photos from practice:
http://www.mediafire.com/folder/q6zig2p4v7bve/Armon_Johnson 

Armon Johnson playing career photos:
http://www.mediafire.com/folder/oh9md57aa7m9f/Armon_Johnson_NBA

 

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Monday, 10 September 2018 17:35

Nevada Basketball Drills: Maverick Close Out

Nevada Basketball's Maverick Close Out drill is a drill that we use every week. Here we are simulating a skip pass and the rotations out of the skip.

Key components of the drill:

  • Close out in a stance with a high hand
  • Help side defense to stop baseline drive
  • Rotation out of the skip
  • Constant communication on rotations
  • Staying in stance for the drill duration
  • Jumping to ball 
  • Being in the gap
  • High energy

There is a heavy emphasis on communication, as we do not want 2 players both closing out to the ball. We also will add a live component after a few rotations. This is a great drill to teach help side rotations and the importance of communication on the defensive end. 

 

Sunday, 09 September 2018 18:43

The Pack Welcomes Guest Speaker Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell, one of the Pack’s biggest supporters, spoke to our program last week. Paul works in the Journalism Department at the University and has been a mentor to our players over the years. 

Paul’s message to our team was regarding their “Personal Brand”. He challenged our guys to think about their own personal brands and how they can make good impressions through them. There will be a lot of spotlight on the Pack as a program and on our players individually. How they conduct themselves on and off the court will impact them in the future if they have hopes to play in the NBA or pursue a job in their field of study. Their body language during games, how they react to calls and how they communicate to their teammates will all impact their personal brand and how future employers view them. As we tell our players, the logo is always on for our program. Paul emphasized that and added how it is always on for their personal brand as well.

We want to thank Paul for taking time out of his day to speak to Pack players and giving them great advice on their personal brand.  

 

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