The Nevada Wolf Pack went 24-12 in their 2015-16 campaign after winning just nine games the season before. Two reasons for the program's magical turnaround was head coach Eric Musselman and the play of Wolf Pack forward Cameron Oliver.
The 6-foot-8 sensation from Oakland, California provided a much-needed boost to the Wolf Pack program that was at the bottom of the Mountain West standings before he and Musselman arrived on campus last year. As a freshman, Oliver was plugged into the starting lineup ten games into the season after starting center AJ West left the team. All Oliver did as a freshman was average 13 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 32 percent from the three-point line.
In the postseason (Mountain West and CBI tournaments), Oliver's numbers improved. He averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks per game as he shot 64 percent from the field and was the key contributor to the Wolf Pack winning the CBI Tournament championship.
On the court, Oliver is such an explosive athlete and leaper who does not need a lot of space to jump and finish above the rim. Just look at some of his highlight dunks he made during the season for proof of his dynamic athleticism.
However, Oliver is more than just an amazing leaper and finisher; he can also catch and shoot as well. Oliver has a good shooting form on his jumper and can hit the three-ball solidly. He does have a bit of a dip in his shooting stroke that he needs to change soon as he will face defenders who are just as athletic and long as Oliver.
Another weapon that Cam Oliver has in his arsenal is his ability to score out of the post. He uses his quick foot work and spin moves to take defenders off the dribble and score in the paint and uses those moves to hit mid-range jumpers as well. On the defensive end, Oliver uses his athletic ability to control the boards and block or alter an opponent's shot. Hence why Oliver led the Mountain West in blocks last season and won the Mountain West Freshman of the year award.
His freshman season was so outstanding that Oliver decided to declare for the 2016 NBA Draft. However, Oliver was not invited the NBA Combine and he only got one offer of a workout with the Boston Celtics. That lack of interest allowed Oliver to return to Nevada for his sophomore season.
Oliver said his reason for returning to Nevada was he "wanted to develop more of a better motor, be a more consistent shooter, work on my mid-range game and three-point game." Oliver went on to say that "teams can definitely see me being a stretch four and a Draymond Green type, so I want to get my ball-handling better and be a more consistent shooter and go from there."
With Oliver's return to the Wolf Pack, Nevada are one of the favorites to win the Mountain West regular season championship. If Oliver can improve on his performance from his freshman year, not only will Nevada rise in the rankings but Oliver's stock will rise in the eyes of the NBA as well.