The Nevada men’s basketball team has undergone a few changes since last season, with the transfer portal being a big part.
But Jay Bilas, an ESPN college basketball analyst and announcer, has said the Wolf Pack will once again be one of Mountain West’s best teams this season despite the roster changes.
Bilas competes in the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament at Edgewood Tahoe. He has 15 points after two rounds.
He said the basketball transfer portal is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
“It’s now part of the game, that you’re going to have transfers and the players are going to leave,” Bilas said. It’s not a reflection on the program or the coach or anything, it’s happening everywhere now. “
Bilas said he was a huge fan of Nevada coach Steve Alford and had known him from college.
He said Alford would use the transfer portal to his advantage.
“I know the fans don’t like him. And the coaches don’t like him,” Bilas said of the portal. “But you can’t get too wrapped up in it.”
He said the Wolf Pack will be good this season and should be strong in defense.
“They will keep. They will defend because Steve, even though he’s a great shooter, he was brought up in defense,” Bilas said. “I have no doubts about this program.”
Bilas said coaches should be active in the transfer portal, but should also have a mix of incoming high school players to partner with older players to create a schedule.
“Sometimes it matters why they leave. You want someone who will be there with both feet when they get there,” Bilas said. “But Steve has lived it forever. He’s been a coach for a million years.
“And he has the best hair in America.”
Leaders: John Smoltz finished his round strong on Saturday, with an eagle in 18th place, and retained his place at the top of the standings with 26 points on Saturday and 51 points after two days.
Vinny Del Negro is second with 49 points, having also scored 26 points on Saturday, Jack Wagner is third with 47 and Annika Sorenstam tied her first round with 23 points for fourth place.
Smoltz has stated that he wants to win at Edgewood more than anything, but he tries to keep his mind calm.
His caddy and longtime Atlanta Braves wide receiver Greg Olson is helping.
“The time he was catching me, I would shake him and tell him I want to throw this shot. But he knows how to get me moving in the right direction, ”Smoltz said. “I had to change something, because golf is not an aggression game. You can’t hit it further by hitting harder. So that’s what I did.”
Attendance is somewhat limited this year, but remains huge and full of energy, especially on holes 17 and 18, which border Tahoe beach.
Smoltz feeds on their energy.
“When you turn right onto 17, you just can’t, there’s nothing like it,” Smoltz said. “And that course, with the fans, is everything, because last year was just weird. And we know why. So there’s no doubt you have to play it a few times to go down the stretch to catch your breath, like Jack (Wagner) said, to breathe well, because there’s so much energy on 17 and 18, you have to be able to hit a calm hit. “
Del Negro, who has played and coached in the NBA, said pressure and nerves are part of the game in the ACC.
“There’s always pressure, but that’s what it is. We love competition. We’re competitive junkies. That’s what we love. We want to be in the heat. baseball, football, basketball, whatever, ”Del Negro said. “But golf is a tough sport. We know that. Every game is a little bit different: the weather, the greens, the pin placement, things like that, your swing, your mental approach.”
Sorenstam, 50, has been retired from professional golf for 13 years, but is relying on her experience to pull through this week.
She performed with Tony Romo and Steph Curry on Saturday and said they were just as competitive, but also enjoyed the boisterous atmosphere of Edgewood.
She said Curry was shooting 3 points over her head on No 17 as she was throwing her ball.
“When you see other good throws and you see other good birdies and the other players are doing something good, it’s like, of course, you are going to cheer them on,” Sorenstam said. “That’s what makes this tournament so fun. Everyone is happy to see something good.
“But it’s exciting because you can see in their eyes how competitive they are. Then I try to focus on my game playing my strategy like I would on this course. It’s a little different. of what they play on the course. But after several holes I said, ‘I’ll see you on the green, you can take any road you want but I play that road.’ “
For further proof of her competitiveness, after Saturday’s round, she trained on the driving range.
Barkley bet: Charles Barkley fared better on Saturday and is minus-21 points for the tournament, in 77th place.
A popular bet before the ACC was whether Barkley would finish in the top 70. He played with Sean McDermott and Dylan Dreyer on Saturday.
He said the bet was not on his mind.
“I played well today. I made a few mistakes but had a great time playing with these guys, ”said Barkley. “I wasn’t even thinking about the bet – I was just afraid of getting tired walking four days in a row.”
Romo watch: Two-time winner Tony Romo has 42 points and is in fifth place.
Romo said he started to find his rhythm over the last nine on Saturday.
“I really feel like I played well when I came in. The last nine, I started to understand what I did well when I entered and I started to do it,” he said. declared.
He said it would be important to remain patient, but also aggressive on Sunday.
Curry watch: Golden State Warriors goalie Steph Curry has 39 points and is tied for sixth.
Currie has said he will focus on his short game on Sunday and try to get off to a good start.
“I’m going to check the standings at 6 or 7 and see what happens,” Curry said.
He said it can be inspiring to play with Sorenstam.
“All I did was watch her hit fairway after fairway after fairway,” he said. “For me it’s great just to see the consistency and the confidence. It’s just a question if she’s putting the putts. At that level and what she’s accomplished here, to see it in person, where she’s at. now is that putter is everything because she hits the ball so straight and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. It’s awesome to watch. “
Aaron Rodgers: The quarterback’s future has garnered a lot of interest this offseason as he is believed to want to leave Green Bay and seek a career elsewhere.
He hasn’t shed any light on his future this week.
Rodgers told Golf Channel he plans to enjoy his time in Lake Tahoe, then get back to training and decide his future in a few weeks.
Rodgers scored 9 points on Friday and 10 on Saturday. He is tied for 28th place.
CC Sabathia: The retired New York Yankees pitcher is tied with Reno. His cousin, Demetrius Davis, played for the Nevada football team in the late 1980s.
Davis died in 2012 at the age of 45 from a heart attack. He was selected by the Los Angeles Raiders with the final pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, a slot known as ‘Mr. Off Topic.’
Sabathia paid for the renovation of a basketball court in Vallejo and dedicated the court to Davis in 2013.
Sabathia grew up in Vallejo and used to visit Davis at Wolf Pack football games.
Sabathia scored minus-36 points and sits 84th out of 88 players.
Korbel Hole-In-One Contest: Actor Michael Pena won the annual contest that featured 13 celebrities with two strokes each on the 17th lakeside hole, 155 yards. Pena placed the closest shot at 16 feet, 7 inches.
An ace donated $ 250,000, split between the celebrity and Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, a local nonprofit organization. A shot under 2 feet split $ 25,000 and outside 2 feet resulted in a donation of $ 5,000. Competitors included Patrick Mahomes, Rob Riggle, Michael Strahan, Ray Romano, Travis Kelce, Larry the Cable Guy, Canelo, Roger Clemens, CC Sabathia, Alfonso Ribeiro and Brian Baumgartner.
Jim Krajewski covers high school and youth sports for the Reno Gazette Journal. Follow him on twitter @RGJPreps. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com.