It was a lively week for Nevada basketball alums.
Cameron Oliver destroyed two human beings in the National Basketball League, JaVale McGee showed off his "point god" stylings and the Martin twins were featured in an article on Yahoo! Sports. We'll briefly hit upon all three developments, starting with Oliver.
The fourth-year pro is in his second season with the Cairns Taipans and was a revelation in year one. He's only three games into his second season in Australia's NBL, but just threw down what might already be 2021's dunk of the year.
Oliver took a feed off a pick-and-roll by Scott Machado and dunked over two players, sending one to the ground. Wolf Pack fans are accustomed to those kinds of dunks out of Oliver, who wowed during his two seasons at Nevada. Oliver is averaging 18.3 points, 11 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. He's shooting 46 percent from the field and is one of the league's top big men. It's hard to believe, but Oliver is only 24 year old, roughly 15 months younger than the Martin twins despite playing at Nevada before those two.
For me, Oliver is the best NBA prospect Eric Musselman recruited to Nevada. While he's yet to make his NBA debut — he was undrafted in 2017 and cut in training camp by the Houston Rockets after breaking his hand early in camp — he's definitely an NBA player. Whether he gets to the NBA, I don't know. You need a lot of breaks to get into the league once you head overseas, but he has an NBA game.
This dunk attempt by Oliver in the same game was almost as spectacular.
As for McGee, he's in the NBA. And he's taking a rebound, dribbling the length of the court and dunking on teams. Even better, he threw a behind-the-back dribble through his legs at halfcourt before slamming it home. You don't see a lot of 7-footers taking the ball the length of the court. A lot of times in the past McGee has tried something like that and it's been a disaster and he ended up on Shaqtin' a Fool. This time, it was a thing of beauty.
In his 13th season in the NBA, McGee is averaging 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. He's shooting 44.7 percent from the field, down from 63.7 percent last season with the Lakers. McGee, who has won three NBA titles in the last four seasons, is toiling away with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he was traded in the offseason (to be fair, the Cavs are currently 8-8 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference). Reports surfaced over the weekend that Brooklyn, the NBA's newest superteam, is a potential trading partner for McGee, who seems like an ideal piece to move before the NBA trade deadline. McGee seems likely to land on a playoff team before the postseason begins.
Our third topic is the Martin twins, who were recently featured by Yahoo! Sports via a Charlotte Observer story by Rock Bonnell titled, "Martin twins’ mantra: Adapt to whatever Charlotte Hornets need, not other way around." It's an unsurprising story because the Martin twins have always been team first and are focused on sticking in the NBA, which means doing whatever possible to please the staff.
“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. "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)."
In a twist, the Martin twins are basically battling for the same spot in the rotation with Cody filling that role early and Caleb more of late. It has to be odd battling your brother for a rotation spot, but that's where the Martin twins are, and if anybody can make it work, these two can.