Tre’Shawn Thurman cements Nevada’s march to madness

Tahoe Onstage

Tre’Shawn Thurman stands tall with the Nevada Wolf Pack.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage

His teammates often dominate the headlines, but Tre’Shawn Thurman is the glue that keeps the Nevada basketball team bonded throughout a record-setting season.

“The rest of the team calls me the glue guy,” Thurman chuckled. “I think I do a good job of that, I don’t want anything else. I’m comfortable where I’m at with my role.”

In the midst of an arduous 31-game regular season, one thing certain is that Thurman will impact every game in some type of way — whether it’s leading the Pack in scoring during a rare off-the- bench role, guarding the opposing team’s best offensive player or simply taking flight and slamming home a thunderous dunk.

Whenever Thurman is etched into the starting lineup or checked into the game, he stays for in as long as head coach Eric Musselman can keep him on the floor.

“He’s a guy who puts winning above all else,” Musselman said. “He’s just a winner. He practices hard every day, he talks and tries to do the right thing. You don’t want to take him off when he gets into these modes… and some of these games we don’t win without Tre.”

Tahoe Onstage

After a win over Utah in December, Nevada’s men’s basketball team is as tight knit as a Christmas sweater.
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Before fouling out Saturday night, Thurman scored 21 points, blocked two shots, had three steals and hauled down a team-high 10 rebounds in Nevada’s loss at Utah State. It was the fifth-year senior’s third double-double in the last five games.

The power forward averages 8.2 points and 5.5 rebounds. He’s third on the team with 38 steals.

On Dec. 15, Thurman and center Trey Porter held South Dakota State’s center Mike Daum to 1 of 10 shooting from the floor. It was the career-worst offensive game for the Summit League’s all-time leading scorer.

Coming off Nevada’s first loss of the year to the New Mexico, Thurman shot just 2 of 6 from the floor and had two turnovers in 30 minutes. The season-high 27-point defeat to the Lobos prompted Musselman to make a change, substituting senior Corey Henson in place for Thurman in the Wolf Pack’s starting five.

Twenty years from now, I want look back and say I had a blast with these guys and (we) won a bunch of games.”

Henson started a total of four games before Thurman was re-inserted into the starting lineup. He had a firm grasp of the job for the next six games, averaging 7.3 points and 6.1 rebounds during that span before an 0 for 4 outing in a 65-57 loss to San Diego State gave junior guard Jazz Johnson his first start of the season against a guard-oriented Fresno State squad. The move placed Thurman back on the pine for the second time this season.

“I thought Jazz has done a great job for us all season,” Musselman said. “I wanted to reward him since that was his first start. We did feel Fresno plays a lot on the perimeter with a lot of guards and Jazz seemed like a nice fit.”

Thurman’s dominant performance off the bench stole the show and helped propel the Wolf Pack past a fiesty, physical Fresno State team, 74-68. He tallied 14 points, collected 10 rebounds and dished out four assists in 34 minutes. For Thurman, his all-around game can be used in any situation, as long as the outcome of the contest ultimately ends up in Nevada’s favor.

“I’m just trying to help this team win no matter what,” he said. “Whether I play five minutes or 25 minutes, I can try to get a steal get a rebound or a block or just do something. It doesn’t matter who starts. What matters is if you bring it once you get on the court.”

Fellow teammate and shooting guard Caleb Martin sees Thurman’s impact on both ends of the floor as well.

“He’s one of those guys that just finds a way to stay on the court,” Martin added. “He’s had a couple of bad games but he’s bounced back and has helped us on both ends.”

It’s not just one single game that explains Thurman’s mindset — he bought into the bigger picture of the program. The 6-foot-8 power forward transferred to Nevada from the University of Omaha, sacrificing his own personal stats for a winning team and a potential postseason run.

Thurman averaged nearly 14 points and eight rebounds per game during his junior season with the Mavericks and was named as a Summit League Player of the Week. Thurman has put those numbers aside in order to become a seamless fit and lead by example on the court. He is first on the team in defensive rating this season.

“I don’t want to look back at my career and think I didn’t have it mentally,” Thurman said. “Twenty years from now, I want look back and say I had a blast with these guys and (we) won a bunch of games.”

As Thurman adjusted to his new team, so did the rest of his game. He’s nailed 16 3-point attempts and his 51 assists rank fourth on the team. Thurman’s game has grown to new heights and it may have earned him the starting spot for good.

“I can’t say enough about how he’s responded,” Musselman said. “He puts in so much work before and after practice and he’s getting more confident in the different areas of his game. He shares the basketball, shoots open shots and just makes the right play consistently.”

Thurman’s numbers aren’t mind-boggling, but his importance to the team is immeasurable as the Pack head into the home stretch of the season. Nevada is a better team with the senior forward on the floor and his impact can take the Pack to a long journey through March.

— Isaiah Burrows

Related story: Jazz Johnson hits his mark — repeatedly.

Nevada opens NCAA Tournment vs. Florida on Thursday

Notes:  Nevada (29-4) will play Florida (19-15)  in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday at 3:50 p.m. PT.  It will be the first meeting between the two schools. … Nevada is 6-8 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and Musselman 2-2.  Twice the Pack has reached the Sweet 16 with the most recent coming last season. … The Pack’s 29 wins is tied for the school record with the 2006-07 and 2017-18 teams for the most in school history. … The 58 wins the last two seasons is the best two-year win total in school history. … The Pack’s 29-4 record is the best after 33 games in school history.  … A veteran group, Nevada has six redshirt seniors in Jordan Caroline, Caleb Martin, Cody Martin, Tre’Shawn Thurman, Trey Porter and Corey Henson.  A redshirt senior has made 163 of a possible 165 starts.  Jazz Johnson and Nisré Zouzoua are both fourth-year juniors. … Johnson has two 20-point games in the last four, 27 at Air Force and 20 in the MW quarterfinal win over BSU  … At AF he made 7-of-10 3-pointers. … Caleb Martin has scored 20 or more points in nine of the last 13 games which includes 30 in the home win over Boise State.  …  He scores 60.8 percent (386-of-635) of his points in the second half. … He averages 11.7 points in the second half and 7.5 in the first half.  …  Currently he ranks 17th at Nevada in career scoring with 1,315 points and has scored 1866  in his college career.  …  He is two  points from 16th at Nevada.  … Caroline is one of four active Division I players with 2000 points and 1100 rebounds.  …  Currently he has 2038 points and 1,153 rebounds in 137 college games.  …  Currently he is second in MW history with 948 rebounds, just two back of CSU center Nico Carvacho’s 950 for first.  …  At Nevada his 1,735 points is fifth at Nevada and his 948 rebounds ranks fift.h …  He has 18 double-doubles this season and 45 in his Nevada career that is fourth in school history.  …  The 45 double-doubles is the MW record that was held by Kawhi Leonard (SDSU, 2009-11) and Andrew Bogut (Utah, 2003-05).  …  The Pack is 43-2 when he posts a double-double. … Cody Martin leads the MW averaging 5.1 assists per game as does his 2.7 assist/turnover ratio.  …  Nationally, he is 24th in assist/turnover ratio and 63rd in assists per game. … Caleb (30) and Cody (21) Martin combined for 51 points in the home win over BSU, two off their combined high of 53 last season at Utah State. …  Tre’Shawn Thurman has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, seven-of-10 and nine-of-14.  He has four double-doubles in the last nine games.

TNT
• Kevin Harlan (Play-By-Play) • Reggie Miller (Analyst)
• Dan Bonner  (Analyst) • Dana Jacobson (Sideline)

ON RADIO
Wolf Pack Radio Network – 94.5 FM, 630 AM
Pregame starts 30 minutes prior to tip-off
• John Ramey (Play-By-Play) • Len Stevens (Analyst)

Westwood One
• Kevin Kugler • Robbie Hummel

ONLINE AUDIO/LIVESTATS
• NevadaWolfPack.com/Audio
• Sirius: 135 • XM: 201 • Internet: 971 • TuneIn
• Live statistics – www.NevadaWolfPack.com/mbballls

Tahoe Onstage

Tre’Shawn Thurman soars above San Jose State in a Mountain West came in Reno.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Tre’Shawn Thurman slams home a shot in Nevada’s hard-fought win over Fresno State.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Michael Smyth

About Isaiah Burrows

Tahoe Onstage sportswriter Isaiah Burrows also is a general assignment reporter for CarsonNow.org, an online news source in Carson City. He is a journalism major at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he writes sports for the Sagebrush student newspaper. He is the Reno Aces beat writer for Tahoe Onstage.

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