2022-23 Winter Preview: Nevada Boys Basketball

By Brennan Stebbins (for OzarksSportsZone.com)

Last season’s Nevada boys basketball team was perhaps the most inexperienced group Sean Gray has coached in his eight seasons at the school, and it shows in the win column.

After averaging 21 wins the previous five seasons, the Tigers had just one returning player with varsity experience last season and finished with an 8-19 record.

“It was a tough start not winning a game before Christmas, but the guys we had were team guys and the record probably didn’t reflect the type of energy, effort and attitude we were getting,” Gray said.

“The growth that last year’s group had, in my opinion, made them one of the most successful groups we’ve had,” he said. “We’ve had groups that have won a lot of games that maybe didn’t see improvement over the year like this group did.”

This year, Nevada returns two starters and a third baseman who saw significant varsity minutes. All three are guards. The starters are senior Cade Beshore, an honorable mention Big 8 West selection who was also named to the conference All-Defensive team, and junior Brice Budd. The 5-foot-11 Beshore averaged nine points, 2.5 rebounds, two assists and two steals, and the 5-10 Budd averaged eight points, two rebounds and more than an assist and a steal per game.

“Cade started all 27 games last year and showed a lot of growth,” Gray said. “He’s gotten a lot better and a lot more confident shooting the ball. Brees is another who gained a lot of confidence and really started to get a better feel for the game in the second half. Having two guards who started every game for you the year before is a big benefit, a big luxury.

And 6-1 sophomore Jack Cheney was a shooting threat off the bench, shooting 29 percent from three-point range.

“As a freshman last year, he was our sixth or seventh player depending on the game,” Gray said. “He has a lot of upside and is a really good athlete who can do a lot on offense, so we’re looking for him to take on a bigger role for us this year.”


One relative newcomer to the team will be 6-6 senior Drew Beechler, a state medalist in track and football tight end who played basketball as a junior but not last season while he got his legs fixed for the track season.

“I think with the returning guards that we have paired with Drew’s size and athleticism, we have a chance to maybe surprise a few people and hopefully take another step forward from where we were last year,” Gray said.

Other players in the mix are junior Riddick Shook, who Gray described as a good shooter who impressed over the summer; junior Drake Ketterman, who led the JV team in three-pointers; junior Ude Mba, a talented athlete who is strong offensively and in transition; and junior Kellan Ast, a really physical player with high motor skills.

Additionally, 6-3 junior Talan Chandler will play after transferring to Nevada from St. Charles Lutheran, where he was a Class 2 All-State offensive lineman as a sophomore.

“I think it’s a really tough defensive group,” Gray said. “They guard the ball really well, they fly around on the defensive end of the floor. I think with Drew’s ability to block shots and alter shots at the rim and the ability of the guards to pressure the ball and guard it, I really think we’re going to be a pretty stingy defensive group. We’re really going to try to let our defense help us create some offense for us, put us in a position to get out and run and hopefully use turnovers and a lot of stops to look good on the other end.”

Nevada will travel to Joplin for a four-team jamboree on Nov. 17 along with Lamar and East Newton. The Tigers open a new game on the schedule, at Neosho, in what could be the schools’ first regular-season meeting since the old Southwest Conference. They also replaced Joplin’s Kaminsky Classic with the Mustang Classic in McDonald County.

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