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Murray's Mailbag: How much will Addison Patterson, Will Baker raise Pack's ceiling?

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EUGENE, OREGON - JANUARY 11: Addison Patterson #22 of the Oregon Ducks is called for a charging foul as he drives to the basket on Mickey Mitchell #00 of the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 11, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

This week's Monday Mailbag has a theme: best song you've heard in concert. I went with Weezer's The Good Life as the chorus in the final 45 seconds is about as sing-a-long-able (not a real word) as it gets. Plus, Weezer is awesome. It was great to see them play in Reno before the pandemic struck. God, I miss concerts. We had a number of nominees for "best live song" with this week's questions, so I'll give each of those a rating (out of 10) in addition to answering your questions. Thanks, as always, for the inquiries.

(Note: If you're not seeing the tweets, it's probably because you're not using Google Chrome. Use Google Chrome.)

I asked Nevada basketball coach Steve Alford about the status of Oregon transfer Addison Patterson recently and he said, "Addison's in a waiver process, so I have no idea if Addison will get a waiver or not. But he's just an athletic guard who can really score the basketball and he works defensively. But he's got a scoring mindset."

There really isn't any deadline for when the waiver request lapses. The deadline is basically the end of the season, which isn't too far away. It remains a long shot that he'd be approved to play this season, so I wouldn't plan on it, although he'd be a nice late addition, specifically for Nevada's offense, which has looked better of late. I'll have more on Texas transfer Will Baker later this week, but here's the general gist for both players.

Patterson is a 6-foot-6 wing player who enrolled at Oregon a year early, so he technically should be a college freshman this year. He's a young and talent scorer who is more of a slasher than shooter, although he did make 35.7 percent of his 3-pointers (on 28 attempts) for the Ducks last season. He's a plus-athlete who should be able to get to the basket and finish around the rim against Mountain West competition. A decent comp for Patterson would be a Caleb Martin-type player, although I wouldn't project him being the MW player of the year like Martin was. That's too much to ask. But he should be an all-conference player and has a similar skillset coming to Nevada. Patterson's offense is more developed than his defense, but he's long athlete, so he could become a good defender.

Baker is a 7-foot big man who is left handed and likes to shoot threes. He's an excellent passer who you can run the offense through in the post. Despite being 7 feet, he's a good athlete who will be able to get up and down the floor well. He might not be as good an athlete as Warren Washington (to compare him to another 7-footer), but he's certainly not a guy who is going to lumber up and down the court. He moves well for his size. Coach Alford compared Baker to a larger version of the Weir twins, whom he coached at UCLA, or a more athletic version of Thomas Welsh, whom he also coached at UCLA. Baker didn't have as much success at Texas as Patterson did at Oregon (he shot 27.5 percent from the field, including 15.4 percent from three), so he might take a little longer to develop. But both are former top-50 national recruits who when paired with Grant Sherfield, Desmond Cambridge, Warren Washington, et. al at Nevada next season should make for a dynamic group of transfers now calling Reno home.

In terms of a stat line in 2021-22, I'll go:

Patterson: 13 ppg, 4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 46 FG%, 35 3PT%, 70 FT%

Baker: 8 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg, 42 FG%, 32 3PT%, 70 FT%

The good news for Nevada is they both have two more seasons of eligibility after next year, so they should only get better.

Building off the first question, here's what Nevada's rotation looks like next season:

Grant Sherfield, Desmond Cambridge, Addison Patterson, Zane Meeks, Warren Washington, Will Baker, K.J. Hymes, Tre Coleman, Daniel Foster. And then you have Jalen Weaver, Nick Davidson, DeAndre Henry, Robby Robinson, Kane Milling and Alem Huseinovic on top of that (two of those players will have to go to get under the scholarship limit).

That's an awful lot of talent. The first eight players on that list are future pros. I'm not saying they're NBA players, but those are guys who will make money playing basketball. And all but Cambridge has at least two seasons of eligibility remaining at Nevada. So while I think 2022-23 will be the Wolf Pack's huge season, assuming Sherfield stays until his senior season, next year should be pretty good, too. The floor is a 20-win season and NIT berth. I don't see how Nevada doesn't win 20 games next year if a full campaign is played post-COVID. The ceiling is winning at least one NCAA Tournament game. I don't want to put Sweet 16 expectations on this team as Coach Alford's New Mexico teams, which were great, never got that far. But in his third season at New Mexico, Alford took the Lobos to the NCAA Tournament for the first time and reached the round of 32. Next year will be Alford's third season at Nevada. This program seems like it's on the same trajectory.

Per NCAA rules, this season basically doesn't count. Whether Addison Patterson plays this season or not, he has three years of eligibility remaining at Nevada starting in 2021-22. So, if you can get him eligible to play five games, you still use him. All winter sport athletes in college have been granted an additional year of eligibility, so there's no reason not to play Patterson if he gets NCAA clearance.

Honestly? Have Boise State, Utah State, Colorado State and San Diego State drop out of the tournament. Or fall into some kind of path where it only has to play one of those teams in the conference tournament. The Wolf Pack's odds of winning the tournament have decreased to 1.77 percent, so Nevada has a better chance than Lloyd Christmas ending up with Mary Swanson, but not by much.

(All The Small Things gets a 5 out of 10, and I'm a huge Blink 182 fan, but that's not a great live song. Give me Man Overboard.)

Answered above, but Nevada is 1-12 under Coach Alford the last two seasons in Quad 1 and 2 games (the win was in overtime over UNLV, which went 12-of-25 from the free throw line). In order to win the Mountain West Tournament, Nevada will likely need to win three Quad 1 games in a row. So, it basically has to play at a level we haven't seen the last two seasons for three straight games. That's not impossible, but it's highly unlikely. The Wolf Pack needs to play its three potential games in the MW Tournament like it played Sunday against UNLV when it was flawless. The odds of that aren't great, but at least it showed a peak performance level Sunday that would beat teams like Boise State, Utah State and Colorado State in a conference tournament. Beating those teams at least once in the regular season would be a good sign that it could do the same in the postseason, but the task will be large.

Daniel Foster for sure, and given the fact the coaches put him in the starting lineup against UNLV on Sunday, they are clearly on the same page. I wrote about it after the Wyoming series, but Foster, the freshman from Australia, deserves a good chunk of minutes. He's a solid player who adds versatility to the roster. He can score it, shoot it, initiate offense and rebound. He's obviously going to have some learning curve games, but I'd give him 20-plus minutes a night and see what he can do with them.

I have Nevada going 4-5 to close the regular season and UNLV going 6-7, which would give the Wolf Pack the No. 5 seed in the Mountain West Tournament and a first-round bye by one game over the Rebels.

(Spirit of '76 gets a 3 out of 10. I've honestly never heard of that song before.)

I've been asked this questions several times and believe it's not fair for the media to be kicking players off the team during a season in which they are playing, so I'll wait until it plays out, but there are three obvious candidates to move to a level that's more suitable to their talent level. Those conversations obviously won't be easy, and it's the major downside of over-recruiting, which happens often across the nation, but Nevada is two over the scholarship limit for 2021-22, so the other shoe will have to drop in the next couple of months.

Nevada did extend an offer to Isaac Hymes (younger brother to K.J.) last week, so it's not completely out of the realm of possibility. The Wolf Pack doesn't have a lot of scholarship capital moving forward, though. Nevada will probably only have one scholarship available in the 2022 recruiting class, and depending on whether anybody takes an additional year of eligibility from this year's sophomore class, the Wolf Pack could only have two or three scholarships available in the 2023 recruiting class. It seems more likely Isaac takes K.J.'s scholarship in 2023-24 than them playing together, but we could see brothers on the same Wolf Pack team again (ala the Martin twins).

Colin Kaepernick wasn't really on NFL draft radars after his junior season (he still had a long way to go throwing the ball), so I don't see that as an apples-to-apples comparison. Carson Strong as a sophomore has a higher draft profile and is a more advanced passer than Kaepernick was after his junior season. He's also a year away from getting a degree, so he should be graduated after next season. And all of his top pass catchers (Romeo Doubs, Cole Turner, Elijah Cooks) not to mention running backs Toa Taua and Devonte Lee are going into their senior seasons in 2021, which could make 2022 a rebuild at the skill positions. This is all to say I would not bank on Nevada having Strong for more than one additional season if I'm a Wolf Pack fan/the coaching staff trying to prepare for life after Strong at the quarterback position. I'm not saying there's a zero percent chance Strong is still at Nevada in 2022, but I would not plan as such. Not playing in the Mountain West championship game next year could give added incentive for a 2022 return from Strong, but I would not base my decision on that. It's a business, after all. Kaepernick didn't return to Nevada in 2010 because he had not won a WAC title. That also was a business decision on raising his stock, which he obviously did in his senior season.

(Free Bird gets a 9 out of 10. This is definitely a contender for best live song ever.)

Make it two for Free Bird.

Nevada would be somewhere around 15-3 overall and 10-1 in the Mountain West (maybe 14-4 and 9-2) and in the same tier as conference foes Boise State, Colorado State, Utah State and San Diego State as fringe NCAA Tournament at-large teams. But what happens if Grant Sherfield doesn't get immediate eligibility by the NCAA as a transfer from Wichita State? You can play that game both ways, but adding a player of Jalen Harris' caliber would clearly make a huge impact. He was an awesome college player who is showing how hard it is to make the jump to the NBA. That's the toughest league in the world to crack.

Warren Washington's ability to get to the free throw line (79.8 free throw rate; second on the team is K.J. Hymes at 51.9).

Desmond Cambridge's ability to finish close to the rim (he's shooting 72.7 percent on close twos, which is I why I've asked for him to drive more).

K.J. Hymes' defense (his 94.6 defensive rating is second on the team after placing second in defensive rating for Nevada last year, too).

Zane Meeks' offensive rebounding ability (10.7 percent offensive rebounding rate, best on the team and well above the national average for bigs).

Grant Sherfield's ability to pass without turning it over (his 2.36 assist-to-turnover rate ranks seventh in the nation among players with at least 80 assists out of 34 players).

(Home Sweet Home gets a 5 out of 10. When it comes to hair metal, I prefer Guns N' Roses, or at minimum Steel Panther.)

If we discount Jacob Hollister, who walked on at Nevada as a true freshman but never played for the team, there are only four active Wolf Pack alums in the NFL. They are Joel Bitonio (Cleveland Browns), Austin Corbett (Los Angeles Rams), Malik Reed (Denver Broncos) and Virgil Green (free agent). Depending on where Green signs, I would agree with you Corbett is the closest to winning a Super Bowl. Small edge over Bitonio and the Browns. The Broncos are dysfunctional, so it's between the two offensive linemen on this one, and I trust Sean McVay to get the most out of Matthew Stafford.

In terms of your second question, here is the list of Nevada alums to play in and win a Super Bowl: Charles Mann (three), Brock Marion (two), Derek Kennard, Brandon Marshall, Virgil Green and Frank Hawkins. Kyle Roberts and Christian Barker (two) also won Super Bowls while on the practice squad.

Nevada's five best NFL players ever, per Pro Football Reference's career value metric, all played in the Super Bowl (Charles Mann, Brock Marion, Derek Kennard, Doug Betters, Terry Hermeling). The best Wolf Pack alum in that metric to not play in the Super Bowl is cornerback Patrick Hunter, who played in the NFL from 1986-95 (and isn't in the Wolf Pack Hall of Fame). Second would be Nate Burleson. Third would be Joel Bitonio. Fourth is Harvey Dahl. And fifth is Tony Zendejas. I'd pick Bitonio as the best Nevada player to not play in a Super Bowl. I believe he'll end up the best football player in Nevada's modern-day history (post-Motley).

(Won't Get Fooled Again gets an 7 out of 10. Solid addition.)

No. That's not happening. Too expensive. UNR has a club hockey team, and they could use the Reno Ice facility. But the Wolf Pack administration has been approached about adding a hockey team and there's no interest there.

(Friends in Low Places gets a 6 out of 10 because it's singable, although I've never listened to a Garth Brooks song all the way through before. I prefer Chris Gaines.)

Both of those trades were largely about getting off the players' contract rather than what they received in return. At least the Lions got a capable quarterback in Matthew Stafford. I'm interested to see how he performs in a functional organization. Unlike Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, both driven into retirement by the Lions' ineptitude at age 30, Stafford will get a post-Detroit career. And the Rams have shown, to a degree, how overrated mid- to late-first-round draft picks can be. They've traded their last three first-round picks, which have ended up being Corey Davis (not good), Isaiah Wynn (injury prone) and Kaleb McGary (blah). The Rams have traded first-round picks for premium talents (Jalen Ramsey, Matthew Stafford, Brandin Cooks). Whether it works out or not, at least there's a plan in place. The Rockies do not have a plan and have wasted the primes of Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. Rockies fans got more hosed by their front office's incompetency than the Rams.

(We Want the Airwaves gets a 6 out of 10.)

I touched on the Martin twins' situation in a story last week, but Cody and Caleb are basically fighting for the same rotation spot following the addition of high-priced free agent Gordon Hayward, who is having a nice rebound season with the Hornets. Neither Martin twin is injured. It's just a battle to stay in the rotation. Cody was getting more minutes early on. Then Caleb was getting more minutes. Between them, Malik Monk and Jalen McDaniels, there's not a ton of playing time to go around. The Martins have played well at times, but they've surpassed 20 minutes in a game on only three occasions this season (twice for Caleb and once for Cody), which makes it difficult to be a constant source of production.

“Our role is to adjust to the situation, regardless of whether that is one of us playing a lot, and one of us not, or we’re both playing,” Caleb Martin said recently. "I think that’s why they like us — because we adjust to the situation. I’m not going to complain. I’m always going to work, and prove to whoever (is coaching) that I belong on the court. But if I’m not, I’m going to root as hard as I can (for teammates)."

(Never There gets an 8 out of 10. Solid selection. Bonus points because the song starts with somebody playing a metal taco.)

(Sultans of Swing gets a 10 out of 10. Great nomination.)

The old records simply get bumped down a spot, which doesn't seem all that fair, but I don't see the NCAA or individual schools adjusting record books to account for some players getting an additional year of eligibility (it shouldn't impact Nevada's record books too much, however). While I supported last year's decision by the NCAA to grant an additional year of eligibility to spring sport athletes since they only played for a month, I don't understand football and basketball players from this season getting an additional year. Nevada football played nine games this season; they usually get 12. Nevada basketball is playing 27 games; they usually get 30. And they both had/will have postseasons. Those are basically full seasons. Why are they getting an additional year on top of that? It's going to cost the 2021-22 high school class in the long run. And some record books will certainly be impacted by the additional season, but I don't expect to see any asterisks added to the mix.

(Margaritaville gets an 8 out of 10. Solid jam, depending upon how many margaritas you've consumed. These submissions also have told me I have an older readership on Twitter than I previously believed.)

I personally do not care much about the clothes Nevada coaches wear on the sideline as long as it is professional, and a polo and slacks work well enough. Some people had issues with Eric Musselman's business casual attire on the sidelines, so you're not alone in your desire to see suit and tie, but it seems like a trivial thing to worry about. Coach Alford's staff has gone more polo/pullover this season than last year (probably because there aren't any fans in attendance), but I don't see why it's necessary to wear a suit to coach a game. They're literally just playing a game.

Because "deer" is cognate of the German "tier," which means "beast." "Deer" originally stood for wild animals in the English countryside while "cattle" stood for domesticated animals. Deer was a broad term that didn't require a singular or plural. That'd be like asking why there isn't a plural for "they." "Beer," on the other hand, hails from the same origin language but specifically meant "one drink" when it was created. It came from Latin's "to drink" before evolving to "a drink." For most of the world's history, "beer" has signified "one drink" whereas "deer" has been assumed to be plural for a group of wild animals for most of the world's history. Thus, it does not get an "s" to pluralize because it's assumed plural. Anyway, that's what the Internet told me.

(For Those About to Rock gets an 8 out of 10. So much gravel in Brian Johnson's voice.)

Pretty sure it's impossible to lift up mountains and move them unless you're Atlas.

(Alive gets a 10 out of 10. You can't go wrong with Pearl Jam live, although I think the band's best live song is Porch or Black.)

The steep ones. Definitely the steeps ones. You're more likely to slip down the steep ones and crash. So I'd say Geiger Grade if we're considering that to be in Reno. Although I live in south Reno about 2 miles from Damonte Ranch High School, and we barely got any snow from this last storm. As a result, Geiger Grade might have been fine to drive down last week. But that's not a road I'd like to drive down when it's icy. I think that'd be ill-advised.

How about I just give you a list of the 10 best books I've read because drawing comparisons to Wolf Pack athletic teams would be a stretch? My list:

10. Uncle Tom's Cabin

9. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

8. Emma

7. Cold Comfort Farm

6. Scoop

5. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

4. The Road

3. To Kill a Mockingbird

2. A Confederacy of Dunces

1. The Master and Margarita

And I plan on reading Don Quixote before I die (it's on my bookshelf), but it's just so damn long.

Winter high school sports are not canceled as other news outlets have reported. Here is where high school sports currently stand. And all high school sports outside of the three high-contact sports (football, basketball, wrestling) are moving forward without restrictions, and have been for months. So baseball, softball, tennis, golf, cross county, track and field, swimming, etc. will have their regular six-week seasons. For football to be played and start on time, Governor Sisolak will have to take it off the "no play" list by the start of practice (Feb. 13). Games are scheduled to begin March 5. My gut feel is he will take it off the "no play" list, but he didn't do so for basketball and wrestling and Clark County isn't playing football, so that's just a guess. It seems like a 50-50 proposition. The fact Las Vegas has ditched high school sports and isn't applying pressure on Gov. Sisolak makes it easier for him to not take those contact sports off the no-play list.

(Beautiful Things gets a 1 out of 10. If we're doing electronica/trance, give me The Glitch Mob, although this is very clearly not my genre.)

Two-part question from Miles here, and all I can really say is I wish at some point in my life I have multiple parties to pick from when choosing political representation because to date in my voting history that has not been the case. I want at least two parties (preferably more) that believe in science, that believe in facts, that believe in equal rights, that believe in moral and ethical values, that believe in putting country over party and that don't promote conspiracy theories. Right now, I barely have one political party that does that. We deserve better. We deserve multiple good options to choose between when voting. I've never had that chance, which has made voting easy but also depressing.

(Ted Nugent gets a 0 out of 10.)

I still have my Christmas wreaths up, although the plan was to take them down last weekend and I forgot. And I am still alive, so I guess I must be lazy as a result. It's past time to take down Christmas decorations, so stop reading this and take them down immediately if you haven't done so. I'll go take my wreath down now! See y'all next week!

(And Neck gets a 5 out of 10.)

Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. He writes a weekly Monday Mailbag despite it giving him a headache and it taking several hours to write. But people seem to like it, so he does it anyway. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @ByChrisMurray.

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