In an effort to get his team ready for this week’s exhibition basketball tour of Canada, UNLV head coach Dave Rice organized a series of short games for his team to play Saturday at the Mendenhall Center.
The opponent? A squad made up of former Runnin’ Rebel stars including assistant coach Stacey Augmon, two-time all-Mountain West first team pick Kaspars Kambala at center, and high-scoring guards like Wink Adams, Romel Beck, Sunshine Smith and Lou Kelly.
As you’ll see in the 10 minutes of highlights, the “old folks” didn’t take it easy on the current Rebels with guard Bryce Dejean-Jones pretty much getting tackled on one drive to the basket and Mike Moser and Kambala, who now stars in Europe, exchanging stares after one hard foul.
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Nine four-minute games were played along with one eight-minute finale. The Black team of Rebel alumni won four of the contests, including three in a row at one point, and lost another by two points, 8-6. But the current Rebel squad, missing big men Khem Birch, Roscoe Smith and Anthony Bennett, finished with a 120-99 edge in points, including a 25-12 victory in the eight-minute contest.
* This was the first time I’ve seen freshman point guard Daquan Cook in game-like conditions and boy was he impressive, playing tenacious on-ball defense, smoothly running the offense at the point and also draining several jumpers. It’s easy to see why Rice was so excited to land his commitment last summer.
* After a slow start, freshman Katin Reinhardt couldn’t seem to miss on his 3-point tries, including one you’ll see that he launched almost from the Alumni bench. He also had several nice drives to the basket.
* Let me be the first (I think) to make the Joel Anthony comparison to 6-foot-9 freshman Demetris Morant of Bishop Gorman, who swatted away a handful of shots in impressive fashion.
* It will be pick your poison for opposing teams trying to decide whether to shade their defense to Moser, Dejean-Jones or point guard Anthony Marshall, who all had stretches of brilliance. Hard to fathom how good this unit could be when Bennett and Birch come on board.
* Quintrell Thomas looked much improved in the post.
* Those who wonder how many minutes Justin Hawkins will garner will all the newcomers shouldn’t worry. The 6-foot-4 senior was arguably the best player on the floor.