Lawlor Events Center erupted when Lindsey Drew’s name was announced in the starting lineup. The warm welcome came as the Nevada men’s basketball team met Cal State East Bay in an exhibition contest.
The fifth-year senior had missed the last 20 months recovering from a ruptured Achilles and surgery on both hips.
“I almost shed a tear when I heard the crowd chanting, even for an exhibition game,” he said. “It was something I’ll always remember, (helped) me get that aggressiveness.”
On Monday, Drew was named Mountain West Player of the Week after averaging 27 points, 7.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game against Utah and Loyola Marymount.
[pullquote]Coach has been pushing us this past week, but I’m feeling good. It’s great to be back on the court and ready for these games.”[/pullquote]The 6-foot-5 guard scored a career-high 30 points in the regular season opener — and 100th career game — against Utah.
“I’ve said it since being hired, he has the chance to be the best point guard in the Mountain West,” coach Steve Alford said. “I still believe that. He’s gotten off to a great start.”
Drew has made sure to become a vocal leader. He’s joined by Jazz Johnson and Nisré Zouzoua as the only returning players. There are four freshman on the squad.
“I noticed the gap between our youth and experience on this team so it’s definitely something I’ve worked on,” Drew said. “I’ve been trying to communicate with the guys on the floor and just help out any way I can.”
In addition to his offense, he has 15 rebounds and two steals in the two games. Junior guard Jalen Harris’ injury has left a scoring void in the starting lineup. Drew has absorbed the offensive load with an efficient attack from 3-point range and finishing through contact.
Drew and Johnson are a potent backcourt for the Wolf Pack.
“He’s been impressive — to say the least,” Johnson said. “He’s efficient, passing the ball well and rebounding. … He’s done his part and has played a huge role.”
Drew is back to 100 percent, and his impact on the floor has paid dividends for Nevada.
“Honestly I’m feeling good,” he said. “Coach has been pushing us this past week, but I’m feeling good. It’s great to be back on the court and ready for these games.”
— Isaiah Burrows