When Nevada’s Eric Musselman became the first coach to offer Jordan Brown a scholarship in April 2015, the Wolf Pack were one month removed from a dismal 9-22 season that ended with a coaching change.
Three years later, Musselman has built Nevada into a program worthy of a player of Brown’s pedigree and upside.
Brown committed to Nevada on Friday morning, choosing the Wolf Pack over a host of other suitors including fellow finalists Arizona and Cal. The 6-foot-10 forward is Rivals.com’s 11th-ranked recruit in the 2018 class and will become only the second McDonald’s All-American to play for Nevada, joining Luke Babbitt.
“It just felt right,” Brown told Rivals.com. “They’ve been there the entire time. They were the first school to offer me and the relationship has grown since then.
“After looking into the program and seeing the success they had this year, I feel like I can go in and make an impact and we can be right back to being a top 15 or top 10 type team.”
Who is Jordan Brown?
A native of Roseville, Calif. who finished his decorated high school career at Napa’s Prolific Prep, Brown is a skilled low-post scorer with the bounce, skill and knack for rebounding to impact a game in multiple ways. He averaged 21.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks as a high school senior.
Almost every Pac-12 team made a run at Brown and national powers Kansas, North Carolina and Louisville eventually showed interest, but Musselman’s persistence eventually paid off in a big way for Nevada. Musselman developed a strong rapport with Brown over the past three years while taking the Wolf Pack to back-to-back NCAA tournaments including a Sweet 16 appearance this past March.
How good can Nevada be next season with Brown?
The addition of Brown solidifies Nevada as a preseason top 10 team if twins Caleb and Cody Martin withdraw from the NBA draft and ensures that the Wolf Pack will still be nationally relevant next year even if they don’t.
Brown will likely start at power forward for Nevada as a freshman alongside all-league forward Jordan Caroline and 6-foot-10 Old Dominion transfer Trey Porter. The Martin twins could fill out the lineup if they return, giving Nevada one of the most accomplished starting fives in all of college basketball. If not, the Wolf Pack will hope that three-year starting point guard Lindsay Drew can bounce back from a torn Achilles while also leaning more heavily on transfers Jazz Johnson (Portland), Nisre Zouzoua (Bryant) and Corey Henson (Wagner).
How does Brown impact the likelihood of the Martins returning?
While Nevada is currently two players over the scholarship limit with the addition of Brown, that does not necessarily mean the Martin twins have played their last games in a Wolf Pack jersey. Nevada is preparing for the possibility that both will remain in the draft, but Musselman would obviously find a way to make room on his roster should either decide to return for their senior seasons.
Caleb led Nevada in scoring at 18.3 points per game and shot 40.3 percent from behind the arc. Cody averaged 14.0 points and 4.7 assists and filled in admirably at point guard last season after Drew went down with his Achilles tear. Both received invitations to the NBA draft combine later this month, but neither are projected as first-round picks.
What does Brown’s commitment say about Nevada’s future?
Whereas Musselman built Nevada into the Mountain West’s premier team with a collection of transfers and under-the-radar recruits, the addition of Brown shows that he can now compete for a higher caliber of prospect. That doesn’t mean Nevada can consistently go toe-to-toe with the UCLAs and Arizonas of the world, but it does show that prospects are paying attention to what he has built in Reno.
To understand the impact of Brown’s commitment at Nevada, check out Musselman’s reaction.
Musselman is excited, and he has good reason to be.
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