Nevada’s basketball coach compared his latest transfer to star player Jordan Caroline.
Shamiel Stevenson, a sophomore power forward, has left the Pittsburgh basketball program and will enroll this spring at the University of Nevada, Reno. He will be eligible to suit up with the Wolf Pack after the 2019 fall semester.
“We are extremely excited to add a player like Shamiel to our program,” fourth-year coach Eric Musselman said in a press statement. “At 6-6, 245-pounds, and with his skill set, he will fit right in as a Jordan Caroline type player. He was one of the best players in the ACC in fouls drawn as a freshman, which is something that has always been a big part of our program, and shot a great percentage from inside and outside of the arc.
“He is the type of player we can put in multiple mismatch situations offensively because of his size and ability with the ball. We look forward to coaching a player like Shamiel.”
Recent comments from Pittsburgh’s coach Jeff Capel are not as flattering. He was critical of Stevenson’s “energy,” and only played him for 32 minutes the entire year.
In his freshman season, Stevenson led his team in rebounds and field goal percentage (50.5 percent). He started 13 games and played in 32. He averaged 8.5 points, shot 60.7 percent from the free throw line and 37.3 from the three-point arch.
It is unlikely grades were a factor in Stevenson’s exit from Pitt, which is 8-3 on the season. Last year, he was an academic All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. Playing time and the relationship with first-year coach Capel is the probable cause.
In a story posted Monday by CardiacHill.com, Capel addressed Stevenson’s lack of playing time, saying he “needs players to play with energy every day.” When Stevenson’s decision to leave was announced, the coach and former Duke player said, “We support Shamiel’s decision to continue his academic and athletic career somewhere else. We appreciate his efforts with the Pitt Basketball program and wish him well.”
Musselman’s roster-building philosophy is to acquire transfers. He has a penchant for getting the most out of them when they arrive on campus. Musselman’s Nevada teams have a 92-29 record and have won 40 of 53 home games. The Wolf Pack won the Mountain West the last two seasons, and last year reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Of the nine players who have had significant playing time for the sixth-ranked Wolf Pack, only freshman Jordan Brown was recruited out of high school. All five starters are fifth-year seniors, including Caroline, who averages 18.8 points and 10.1 rebounds.
Stevenson is from Toronto, Ontario, Canada and he finished his high school basketball career at Hillcrest Prep in Arizona. He was rated the No. 34 small forward in the 2017 recruiting class by 247 Sports. Stevenson averaged 14.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 blocks in his one season at Hillcrest Prep.
NCAA transfers are ineligible to play for one year, but they can practice with the team. This season, junior guards Jalen Harris (Louisiana Tech) and JoJo Anderson (Northern Arizona) are on the practice squad. Former Akron guard/forward Eric Parrish is playing at a junior college in Louisiana. Harris, Anderson and Parrish all will have two years of eligibility starting with the 2019-2020 season.
Freshman forwards K.J. Hymes and Jalen Townsell are practicing with the team and redshirting the season. Former starting point guard Lindsey Drew is out for the season with achilles and hip injuries. He has one season of eligibility remaining.
Coincidentally, the undefeated Wolf Pack (11-0) host Parrish’s former school, Akron (7-4) of the Mid America Conference, on Saturday. The 4 p.m. game at Lawlor Events Center has sold out.
— Tim Parsons