Nevada men’s basketball fans hope for better season

Jaedyn Young reports on an easy exhibition win ahead of a new season with lots of turnover in terms of players, and optimism that seats will get filled.

One of the UNR mascots, Wolfie Jr., leads Pack fans to cheer on the basketball team as they get the ball back. Photo by Jaedyn Young.

Going for a rebound season

What started off as a pretty tight exhibition game against Cal State East Bay on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center turned into a complete blowout by the Nevada men’s basketball team, with hopes of a turnaround season.

Last year, the UNR team struggled, finishing the season with a wins-to-losses record of 6–12 in Mountain West conference play and 13–18 overall. That marked the worst record in Steve Alford’s 27 years as a head coach at the Division I level.

This season begins with three key starting high scoring players from last campaign now gone, Grant Sherfield, Warren Washington and Desmond Cambridge Jr., all lost to the transfer portal, making it hard to predict how Nevada’s fortunes will turn.

A small crowd came to cheer the men’s basketball team during their win against Cal State East Bay on UNR’s home court. Photo by Jaedyn Young.

How the fans are feeling

In previous seasons, when the wins haven’t come consistently, the fan base has dwindled.

“I feel like it could go either way, definitely depending on the team,” Peyton Cromer, a student at the university said. “We might have a huge increase for at least the first game, but if the fans find it just a drag, then it’ll just slowly peter out.”

One of the newest developments there seems to be for all sports across the Wolf Pack realm is the Nevada Blue Crew, which is the student section that stands at the front of the fan section of a game and tries to get students yelling and cheering for the team.

The president and vice president of the club, Colby Thomas and Dominic Motter, agreed that there would be some hope this season, at least initially.

“It’s pretty unknown [still], but I feel like we’ll get a great turn out for the fans,” Motter, the vice president said. “I hope they make the NCAA tournament.”

“It should actually be a pretty fun season,” Thomas, the president added. “We [hope] to get as many people out to these games as possible and get them pretty excited.”

“We had like nobody last year, so we can only go up from here,” Thomas added with a smile. Him and his vice president think Blue Crew will substantially help the student engagement.

The two also agreed they’ll probably see an increase in fans as the games no longer require COVID-19 vaccines for the season.

Colby Thomas and Dominic Motter, the president and vice president of the Nevada Blue Crew, smile for a picture as they watch and cheer on the UNR men’s basketball team for their first home game of the pre-season. Photo by Jaedyn Young.

What the season will look like moving forward

It will also take some adjusting for the fans to get to know new players as well.

There are eight new members of the team, with only five returning from last year. A notable one is the brand new starter, Jarod Lucas who scored a game high of 20 for Nevada in this first exhibition.

“Well we have a lot of new players so I think it’ll be a good switch up for the team,” said Allie Pickett, a supporter of the Wolf Pack. “I also think we might [see a fan increase]. I think there’s a lot of people that want to show their support, especially for the new players.

However, with such a new team and not too much time for bonding, the question that lingers is how well will this team continue to work together throughout the long season that extends through March.

“I feel like they’re definitely cohesive as a team, but I feel like they’re nervous,” Cromer said. “When they stepped out on the court, it was just a different energy than what they have now when they were playing.”

Fans stay engaged and cheer the UNR men’s basketball team on through their victory against East Bay on Oct 21. Photo by Jaedyn Young.

What the fans are looking for

The fans and Blue Crew agree that regardless of what happens with the season, the biggest goal is to see people actually give the men’s basketball team home support.

“I hope we have more student energy and pride, like more people showing up and cheering and stuff,” Pickett said. “It’s hard to tell [the fan expectancy] now because it’s only the first game, but of those that show up it’s still very energetic from some people but it’s not a lot of students.”

However, of course in order to get good numbers there has to be something in return for the fans. They want to be able to cheer for a winning team and watch games worthy of their attendance.

“My biggest hope for this season as a fan is just like a really exciting game,” Cromer laughed. “This has been pretty exciting, but now we’re getting pretty close to a blow out. I like close games.”

A notable upcoming game, which could determine this season’s tide, will be against last year’s Mountain West Conference champions Boise State on Dec. 28 at home.

Reynolds Sandbox reporting by Jaedyn Young



The Reynolds Sandbox showcases innovative and engaging storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab.

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Reynolds Sandbox

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.