Eric Mussleman

Eric Mussleman

We sat down with Nevada Assistant Coach Anthony Ruta to discuss how to effectively scout your opponents. 

Ruta has been with the Wolf Pack since 2015 serving as the Director of Basketball Operations before being elevated to Assistant Coach. Prior to Nevada, Ruta spent time in the NBA G-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants as an Assistant Coach. His first step in his coaching career was at Arizona State as a Graduate Assistant, which was where he first worked with Coach Musselman. 

We sat Ruta down and discussed the importance of scouting preparation and how he approaches it…

Q: When you find out you have a scout, what is your first step in starting your preparation?

AR: The first thing I do when scouting a team is I go on their website and print out of their players bios. I'll read their bio and highlight key information. Along those same lines, I will then search the team and pull as many articles as I can on a given team trying to learn as much as possible.

Q: Is it more important to know and review every set a team runs or review the general actions from their sets?

AR: It's really important as a coach to know as many actions as possible that an opposing team runs and what the team will do in special situations (I.E. low shot clock or end of game). However, when presenting to the team, it's important to zone in on a select amount of the team's high volume actions. There's a science to scouting where you want to be extremely prepared, but you also have to toe the line and not overload the team with information.

Q: As far as personnel goes, what tendencies do you look for in the opposing players?

AR: From a personnel perspective, it's important to focus on a player's 3-4 top strengths and 1-2 weaknesses. We play against a lot of high level players that we as coaches could pinpoint 8-10 strengths on a given player, but as coaches we have to realize what their top strengths are and try to contain those, while knowing there are other ways they could potentially beat us. It's also important to know a player's weakness whether it be on the offensive end of the floor or defensive end of the floor.

We want to thank Ruta for sitting down and discussing his thoughts of scouting with us. 

Friday, 28 September 2018 21:47

Criswell and Pinkney visit Reno

We at Nevada believe we have the greatest fans and support system in the country.  It's not just the fans though. It's also the former Pack players that laid down the ground work for what Nevada basketball is today.  Pack players have been blessed with appearances from several former players including Ramon Sessions, Luke Babbitt, Marcelus Kemp and even current Pack staff members Armon Johnson and Todd Okeson. This week former Pack players Tyron Criswell and Kevinn Pinkney graced us with their presence. Both former players spoke to the current team about their time at the University of Nevada, their career paths after Nevada Hoops and how proud they are of the team and give all their support. Criswell and Pinkney did not leave out the fact that every day and every game is goin to be a challenge for the Pack and all players should give max effort daily and leave it all on the floor. 

"The former players are always welcome and will always be a part of the family," Eric Musselman stated. "Each player has their individual stories and unique journeys that led them to Nevada. It's great for our players to hear these things and hear how hard life is after basketball but it can be extremely rewarding if you put in the time and effort to work hard and also build relationships along the way. Our doors will always be open for these guys!"

Tyron Criswell was part of the 2015-16 CBI Championship team from coach Musselman's first season at Nevada. The Omaha, Nebrask native played two seasons at Nevada after transferring from junior college. Criswell was named MVP of the College Basketball Invitational after averaging 21.3 points, eight rebounds and 3.3 assists in the finals series. He helped the Pack become the first Mountain West and Nevada team to win a postseason championship as the Wolf Pack captured the CBI. In six CBI games Tyron averaged 19.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. The Mountain West media also selected him as the Sixth Man of the Year in 2016. After completing his eligibility, Tyron had opportunities in the NBA Development league and overseas. 

Kevinn Pinkney was a member of the Wolf Pack's 2004 Sweet 16 berth and has embarked on a impressive 13 year professional career since. His 13 year professional playing career has consisted of a stint with the Boston Celtics in 2007, the same year he was named an NBA D-League All-Statr. He has played overseas in numerous countries making a name for himself. In 2017 he played in the TBT for Team ALS and helped lead them to the championship game in which the winner took home $2 million prize. On top of his basketball career, Kevinn has established himself as a prominent business man in Reno specializing in real estate. 

We want to thank both Tyron and Kevinn for stoppig by and sharing their stories with Pack players. 

Friday, 28 September 2018 14:49

Exhibition games set for the Pack

The Wolf Pack will host two exhibition games prior to the start of the 2018-19 season. These games will give fans and students an opportunity to see the potential Top 10 program in action. 

Nevada will play host to Washington on Sunday, Oct. 21 at Lawlor Events Center in an exhibition game with all proceeds donated to wildfire victims. The game is set for 3 p.m. and all seating will be general admission at Lawlor. Tickets prices are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and children eighth grade and younger.
The Wolf Pack will also bring back its popular Throwback at Virginia Street Gym that debuted last season. On Oct. 26, Nevada will take on San Francisco State at the VSG with tip-off at 7 p.m. The Wolf Pack will wear special retro uniforms for the event. Last year's event sold out and this year's is expected to as well. Tickets are $25 per person.  To purchase tickets got to or call 775-348-PACK (7225).

“We are extremely excited to play a top 25 opponent in our Charity Game on October 21st and for such a great cause," Eric Musselman said. "Washington is a tremendous team with great size and length and is extremely well-coached. They will be a great test for our program.”

The Wolf Pack is also planning an intra-squad scrimmage for University students next month as well. Details will be available in the coming days.
Funds raised from the charity game with Washington will go to the Northern California Wildfire Relief fund through the California Community Foundation and will be directed specifically to victims of the Carr Fire this summer in Northern California.
There is no reserved parking for either exhibition game.

Thursday, 27 September 2018 19:11

Nevada Basketball's First Ever Pro Day

Nevada Basketball will hold the first Pro Day in program history this afternoon. Pro Day is designed for our players to showcase their talents in front of NBA personnel. For the event today, we have 33 NBA Scouts confirmed from 20 different NBA Teams. 

There are some familiar faces attending today’s event who Coach Musselman has a history with who will be attending. Musselman coached Antwan Jamison and Irving Thomas during their professional playing careers, who both will be attending as scouts for the Los Angeles Lakers. Mike Petrie, who worked alongside Coach Musselman with the Sacramento Kings, will be attending as a representative of the Washington Wizards. Greg Stratton worked with Coach Musselman during his time with the Golden State Warriors will be attending for the Sacramento Kings. Also, during his time in the NBA, Coach Musselman coached against Gene Cross and John Treloar, who will be scouting for the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks respectively. During Coach Musselman’s time with the San Diego Padres, he worked with Padres Vice President at the time, David Morway, who will be attending the event with the Utah Jazz. Tony Ronzone of the Dallas Mavericks and Ron Dupree of the Milwaukee Bucks will be returning to Reno to watch Pack players in action. Dupree, was an assistant under Coach Musselman at Nevada and Ronzone played for the Wolf Pack from 1983-1985. 

It is great to see these relationships come for circle and have these names help promote Pack players to the NBA teams they work for. Pack players are excited to get out today and we want to thank all of our NBA guests for attendings. 

Pro Day will be available to watch on the Mountain West Network, Facebook Live and Nevada Sports Network.  The event will consist of live competition and skill work to showcase our players abilities and allow for them to be evaluated by the NBA Scouts. 

Mountain West Network Stadium Link -

Facebook Link -

Re-aired on Nevada Sports Network Tonight 9/27 at 8pm and 10pm.

We are excited about bring an event like this to Reno and to be able to put our players in front of Scouts that can help their careers. Tune in today and watch the Wolf Pack in action!


Wednesday, 26 September 2018 17:11

Toughest Non-Conference Schedule

Making the NCAA Tournament as a mid-major program can be extremely difficult. Most mid-major conferences are one bid leagues and it comes down to whoever wins the conference tournament is the only team that gets in. All in all, scheduling is a huge factor in hopes for a potential at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. 

A lot goes into creating a non-conference schedule. You want to look for solid power five games that will boost your NET, higher NET mid-majors that will be a challenge but won't hurt the resume, games that are attractive to your fan base and of course you want to sprinkle in a few games that you are favored to win. After reading all of the above, one would think scheduling isn't that hard, right? Well here's the hard part: when you're a consensus Top 10 program in the country it's hard to find teams that are willing to play, especially power fives. With that being said, according to our 2018-19 non-conference schedule should be commended.

Mid-Major Madness ranked the top 10 mid-major non-conference schedules and they have Nevada at #1. This is a testament to our hardworking staff for putting together a great schedule, that will not only challenge our team, but also help us to compete for a NCAA Tournament bid.

Check out the complete Top 10 list here:

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 17:54

First Official Day of Practice

The 2018-2019 college basketball season is underway, as today marks the official start date that teams can start practice. The Wolf Pack staff and players are excited to get on the court today to begin this journey with our new team. 

Our team will consist of a returning core with the Martin Twins, Jordan Caroline, and Lindsey Drew, who is recovering from an Achilles injury that cut his season short last year. On top of those who played last year, we have four players who sat out due to redshirting. Nisre Zouzoua, Tre'Shawn Thurman, Jazz Johnson, and Corey Henson are ready to make an immediate impact this year. Graduate transfer Trey Porter and McDonalds All American, Jordan Brown, have been added to the Pack's roster for the 2017-2018 season. Newcomers KJ Hymes, Vincent Lee, Jalen Harris and Jojo Anderson all will get action in their first practice as a member of the Wolf Pack. David Cunningham and Zach Wurm return to the team for another season to round out our roster. 

This team is ready to attack the much-anticipated season knowing that we will be featured on a national stage throughout the year. All 31 games will be picked up by the ESPN family, CBS Sports, FOX Sports, or the PAC-12 Network. 

Pack players are excited for this opportunity to play against some of the best teams in the country on a national stage, but understand the grind that we are about to embark on here during this 30 day stretch. In order for our season to be a success, we must approach every day of practice with a sharp focus and determination to get better as a team. 

We are excited for the season and the Wolf Pack is looking forward to seeing the support of Northern Nevada at Lawlor and across the country come November. 

Monday, 24 September 2018 23:32

Wolf Pack Bell

One thing we want to hear during practice, other than our player's communicating, is our Wolf Pack Bell ringing. We have implemented our Wolf Pack Bell to our practices and ring it when Pack players do something well. 

Things that deserve the bell being rung are taking charges, diving on the floor for a loose ball, defensive deflections, offensive rebounds, boxing out, making an extra pass and an exceptional defensive possession. We want to encourage these types of plays and have the bell ringing throughout practice.

Pack players get excited when they hear the Wolf Pack Bell and this will motivate them to make a play worthy of having it ring. 

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

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