Nevada Sports Net's G.O.A.T bracket challenge will unveil the greatest sports figure in Northern Nevada's history piece by piece over the next several weeks. Here is a description of the entire project, which is an NCAA Tournament-style bracket of the 64 greatest athletes and coaches from Northern Nevada. Readers will get to vote on one matchup every day with a 24-hour voting period until we crown a champion. You can vote on today's matchup on the Twitter poll linked at the bottom of this article.
Round of 32 matchup: No. 4 Edgar Jones vs. No. 12: Joel Bitonio
Edgar Jones' bio: Jones came to Nevada from Newark, N.J., and put Wolf Pack basketball on the map as the first true NBA-level star the program had. ... He averaged a double-double in all four of his seasons in Reno, including 17.6 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman. ... During his sophomore season, he guided Nevada to its first winning season at the Division I level as the Wolf Pack went 15-12 and Jones tallied career highs in points per game (23.7) and rebounds per game (13.1). ... Nevada improved to 19-8 in Jones' junior year and went 21-7 with its first NIT appearance in his senior season. ... He averaged 18.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in his career and was a three-time All-West Coast Athletic Conference all-league pick. ... He left Nevada first in school history in points and blocks and second in rebounds. ... He was the first player to have his number retired by the program. ... “He could jump with the best of them," former Nevada coach Sonny Allen once said of Jones. "He was as quick as they came. He could have done anything. He could have been a sprinter or track star.” ... Jones was the 31st pick of the 1979 NBA draft and spent his first pro season in the Continental Basketball Association where he won the league's rookie of the year. ... The following season, he became the second Wolf Pack player to appear in an NBA game (his former teammate, Johnny High, was the first). ... Jones played six NBA seasons with four teams, averaging 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 19.2 minutes per game. ... The best game of his career came Dec. 17, 1981 when he recorded 25 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks in his only NBA triple-double. ... He was one of nine players to participate in the NBA's first slam dunk contest in 1984 and remains one of two Wolf Pack alums to do so (JaVale McGee was in the 2011 contest). ... Jones' pro career was completed when he went overseas to play in Greece for Panathinaikos from 1988-90 and for Aris BC from 1991-92 where he won the Greek Cup. He played for the CBA's Yakima Sun Kings from 1994-95. ... Jones was inducted into the Wolf Pack's Hall of Fame in 1989.
Joel Bitonio's bio: Born and raised in Southern California, Bitonio was a three-spot star at Long Beach Wilson High and was named to the Long Beach Press Telegram's Dream Team for football and basketball during his senior season while leading his league in the shot put as a track and field standout. ... Under-recruited, Bitonio was originally committed to FCS school UC Davis before the Wolf Pack offered him a scholarship shortly before signing day. ... Bitonio became a starter at tackle as a sophomore and started 39 straight games to end his Nevada career. ... As a senior, Bitonio was named All-Mountain West first team and drew rave reviews for his coaches and teammates. ... “He’s been our best offensive lineman for quite some time,” then-Nevada tight ends coach James Spady said of Bitonio. “He does the right thing every day. He prepares like a champion. He’s a good student. He’s a good citizen. That’s who you want to model your players after. This is who we want our young kids to be.” ... The 6-foot-4 and 320-pound Bitonio became the No. 35 pick of the 2014 NFL draft (second round) to the Cleveland Browns. ... After a stellar rookie season (he was named to the Pro Football Writers Associations All-Rookie team in 2014), Bitonio had injury shortened campaigns in his second and third year in the league but has been healthy since then and has established himself as one of the NFL's top offensive guards. ... Bitonio made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and 2019 and was named second-team All-Pro in those same seasons. ... Bitonio and Charles Mann are the only Wolf Pack alums to be two-time NFL All-Pros.
You can vote via the Twitter poll below.