Nevada Sports Net’s Chris Murray will break down each of Nevada’s 12 eligible scholarship players prior to the Wolf Pack basketball team’s season opener Nov. 6 versus BYU. We will count the players down in alphabetical order using their last names. Today’s player: K.J. Hymes.
Position: Power forward
2017-18 stats: 12.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 1.1 apg, 49 FG%, 38 FT% 77 FT% (at Hillcrest Prep)
Likely role: Hymes isn’t going to play much this season. The team is just too deep for that to be a reality. But this will still be a valuable season for his development. For starters, he gets to go up against a grown man in Trey Porter and a McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown every day in practice. That can only help his development. Hymes could redshirt this season to save a year of eligibility, or Nevada could play him to prepare him for next year, when he could play a sizable role as Porter, Jordan Caroline and potentially even Brown move on to the next stage of their careers. At 6-foot-11 and 210 pounds (he looks even thinner than that), Hymes needs to add some weight to battle down low in college. But he was a high-level prep prospect – he’s the sixth-best recruit Nevada has signed, per 247Sports – who would have gotten a lot of playing time this season under different circumstances.
Key stat: 38/77 — Hymes shot 38 percent from three and 77 percent from the free throw line last season at Hillcrest Prep, which was one of the top teams in Arizona. He’s an excellent shooter for his size and can be developed into a good stretch power forward down the line. His shooting ability is his main strength, and if he can become a consistent 3-point shooter in college he’d be tough to stop given his length and developing post game. He's also a good athlete in terms of sprinting and should be able to do well in transition beating his defender down the court.
In his words: “I’m really excited. We’ve been going hard all summer and I just think we’re ready to get out and play some other guys and show what we can do. … This year I just want to take in the experience and help develop my body and just polish up and I’m always going to be ready to play. … My strengths right now are my ability to stretch the floor, shoot the ball some and attacking the glass. … I’m about 210 (pounds) right now. I want to gain about 15 pounds for my upcoming playing. I think that would be a solid weight for me. … I think we’ll be fine because not once have we played into the hype. We practice every day like we’re the worst team in the country, with the intensity and how hard we go. There’s no soft stuff. It’s all tough.”
Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MurrayNSN.