The Scorer's Table: An Early Look at the 2013-14 MW Men's Basketball Season
This is the ninth in a series of MW men's basketball blogs detailing developments surrounding the league's hoops programs since the conclusion of the 2012-13 season. We continue today with UNLV.
Last Season's Record: 25-10, 10-6 MW (3rd)
Key Losses: G Anthony Marshall; F Mike Moser; F Anthony Bennett; G Katin Reinhardt; G Justin Hawkins; F Quintrell Thomas.
Key Returners: G Bryce Dejean-Jones; F Khem Birch; F Savon Goodman; F Carlos Lopez-Sosa.
2013-14 Signees: G DeVille Smith; G Kendall Smith; F Jelan Kendrick; F Chris Wood; G Dantley Walker.
Sizing Up The Recruits: The well-traveled Kendrick, a 6-7 wing and former McDonald's All-American, made previous stops at Memphis and Ole Miss before committing to UNLV in October. He spent last season at Indian Hills Junior College in Ottumwa, Iowa, and will arrive in Las Vegas as a redshirt junior. DeVille Smith, a 5-11 point guard, will enter UNLV as a junior. A product of Callaway High School in Jackson, Miss., he was a four-star recruit, ranked by Rivals as the 17th-best point guard in the class of 2011 and the 14th-best by ESPN. He played in 26 games at Mississippi State as a freshman before transferring to Southwest Mississippi Community College, where he averaged 16.7 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals last season. Kendall Smith, a 6-2 point guard from Deer Valley High in Antoich, Calif., averaged 27.5 points, 6.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals during his senior season. The 6-11 Wood, the nation's No. 36 overall recruit according to Rivals.com, averaged 16 points and seven rebounds last season at renowned Findlay Prep in Las Vegas. Walker, the state's all-time leader in points (3,304) and assists (887), will be a freshman this fall after finishing a two-year LDS mission. He attended Lincoln County High School in Panaca, Nev.
Overview: While there is unarguably a wealth of talent coming into the program (UConn transfer Roscoe Smith will be eligible this season), one must also consider that the Rebels lost Marshall, Hawkins and Thomas to graduation; Moser (Oregon) and Reinhardt (USC) to transfer; and Bennett, last season's MW Freshman of the Year, to the NBA. The foursome of Marshall, Moser, Reinhardt and Bennett combined to average 43.7 points, 20.3 rebounds and 28 minutes per game last season. Birch, who was named to the All-MW defensive team last season, returns having averaged 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. No player in the MW blocked more shots (68) last season than Birch, who did so despite making only 15 starts. Dejean-Jones, who ranked third on the squad in scoring at 10.3 points per game, was also UNLV's fourth-leading rebounder (4.4).
Changes At The Top: Justin Hutson, a former San Diego State assistant who spent the past two seasons as UNLV's associate head coach, rejoined the Aztecs' staff in April. Rebels head coach Dave Rice has yet to fill the vacancy.