Like a few other Nevada Wolf Pack alums, Cameron Oliver is headed to the Land Down Under.
Oliver has signed a contract with Cairns Taipans, an Australian team that plays in the country's top association, the National Basketball League. Oliver is the Cairns Taipans' first import of the 2019-20 season.
“He is a powerful player that can do a lot at both the 4 and the 5 position,” Taipans head coach, Mike Kelly, said in a news release. "He’s a great athlete and possesses a really impressive skill set for someone so big and strong. His combination of strength and size, athleticism, skills and finesse will give us a lot of different looks and gives our team a chance to be versatile up front.”
Fellow Wolf Pack alums Kendall Stephens, who was born in Australia, Jerry Evans Jr., Deonte Burton and Marqueze Coleman played in Australia last season. Stephens is currently on South East Melbourne Phoenix's roster. Burton is on the Bendigo Braves, who plays in the lower-level NBL1, which is semi-professional. Evans and Coleman played last season for the Hotondo Homes Ballarat Miners, also in the NBL1.
Oliver has spent the last two seasons in the NBA G League after going unselected in the 2017 draft after turning pro following his sophomore season at Nevada. A 6-foot-8 combo forward, Oliver signed an undrafted free-agent deal with the Houston Rockets but was waived following training camp after breaking his hand.
In his first season in the G League, Oliver averaged 10.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Last season, playing for the Delaware Blue Coats, he upped those numbers to 15.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game and was likely nearing an NBA call up before a suffering a significant ankle injury that required surgery.
Playing overseas is more financial lucrative than playing in the G League, but it usually lowers a player's chances of being picked up by an NBA team. Kelly, Taipans' head coach, visited Las Vegas this summer to watch the NBA summer league, which is where he met Oliver.
“He wants to make it to the NBA and he knows this is a great chance to take a step in his professional development,” Kelly told Fox Sports Australia. “This will be his first season overseas and he’s excited. He and his family loved the idea of coming to Cairns, joining a welcoming community with passionate fans where he could play in front of a great crowd.”
In two seasons at Nevada, Oliver averaged 14.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.3 assists per game. He led Nevada to a CBI title in his freshman season and to two Mountain West titles as a sophomore in 2017 as Nevada reached its first NCAA Tournament since 2007. Oliver was in Portland Trail Blazers training camp last season.