Nisré Zouzoua will have another year to make good at Nevada.
The Wolf Pack shooting guard, who put his name in the transfer portal amid Nevada's coaching change, told Nevada Sports Net on Monday he will return to Reno for his senior season.
“I just believe in the team that we have," Zouzoua said. "I love our team. I love the guys. I like Coach Steve Alford. I've been talking to him and I like his style and I think we have a chance to do something really special. I know there are people who doubt us because of the pieces we lost but we have a lot of good pieces coming back and will add a lot of good pieces, too."
Zouzoua, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound had two stellar seasons at Bryant to start his college career before transferring to Nevada. After a redshirt season, Zouzoua was unable to crack the rotation for the Wolf Pack last season.
As a sophomore at Bryant, Zouzoua averaged 20.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 40.0 percent from the field, including 36.7 percent from three. A change in coaching staffs could give Zouzoua a second chance to make an impact at Nevada. New Wolf Pack coach Steve Alford praised Zouzoua's shooting ability in a recent podcast appearance with the NCAA's Andy Katz, and Zouzoua said he likes his fit in Alford's offense.
“He told me going through the workouts that he loves the way I’ve been shooting the ball and he still believes I have the ability to score the ball," Zouzoua said. "I feel like this is the right opportunity and right fit with Coach Alford. His style of play suits me, its really up tempo. You look at his UCLA teams with Lonzo (Ball) and they have multiple guards on the floor at the same time.”
Zouzoua struggled to get on the floor at Nevada last season, playing 20 games and averaging 1.4 points and 1.0 rebounds per game on 6.3 minutes per game. He shot 22 percent from the field, including 10.3 percent from three (3-of-29). But a new staff and an offseason to reset will give him a fresh start.
“My dad has always preached to me to you sometimes have to sacrifice for the betterment of the team," said Zouzoua, who will be a senior in 2019-20. "I took a lesser role than I had wanted because Coach (Eric Musselman) thought that was best for the team. I had two options and talked to my dad about it. I could pout or make the best of my situation and be the best teammate I could be and do whatever I could to help the team win. That’s just what I did last year.
"This is a whole new year, my senior year and I want to go out with a bang for my senior year. Last year was last year and this year is this year. We want to go out and compete and shock everybody."
Zouzoua is the fifth player to recommit to the Wolf Pack following Nevada's coaching change, joining Jazz Johnson, Jalen Harris, Eric Parrish and K.J. Hymes. He said his teammates' love for each other was a big selling point in staying at Nevada.
“The bond we have is really special, it’s really amazing," Zouzoua said. "Our freshmen click really well with our seniors. We all hang out together and shoot together. Just to be around it you can see how much we genuinely enjoy playing with each and genuinely enjoy being around each other. It’s more than basketball. We treat each other as brothers.”
That leaves Nevada with three players in the transfer portal in Lindsey Drew, Jordan Brown and Shamiel Stevenson. Zouzoua said he's been actively trying to keep those guys on the roster.
“I've been trying to talk to those guys," Zouzoua said. "I’m always big on everybody making the best decision for themselves, but I’ve been telling guys with the people we have here, you know the team coming into it. I've been talking to them and if you go to a different spot you can get over-recruited. Here, you know who’s here. I've been in their ear telling them they have a great spot here. Whether they leave or stay, those guys will be my brothers regardless, but I absolutely want those guys to stay.”