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UNLV REPORT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

by Ryan Brinks (Aug 13, 2002)

 

The 2002-2003 UNLV Rebels have a strong chance to win their first NCAA Tournament game since 1991.  Ever since the 1991 Tourney loss to Duke, Nevada-Las Vegas has never been the same.  A slew of coaches, paying of players, scandals, and the infamous hot tub incident have scared the program, almost without repair. 

 

Well, this years Rebel team is the flashy pick to win the Mountain West Conference.  And why not?  They have some players with some serious game, and for the first time in a long time, they seem to have the focus to turn all that talent into wins on the court. 

 
Three year starter, Dalron Johnson, has been producing for the Rebels for some time now, and made a very smart decision on returning for his senior season.  DJ averaged just under 18 pts/game and snatched 7 rebounds per game.  He will look upon his senior running mate in the backcourt, Marcus Banks for help. 

Banks came in from the JUCO ranks last year with a lot of hype, and lived up to nearly every bit of it in his first season at Vegas.  Marcus averaged just under 16 pts/game and had 3 assists per game as well.  Coach, Charlie Spoonhour feels Marcus, the MWC Defensive Player of the Year, could do more, and be electrifying for the Runnin' Rebs this year. 

 Another key for the Rebels this year will be the addition of Georgetown transfer, Demetrius "Nuke" Hunter.  Hunter was a guy who could get up and down the court with ease at Georgetown.  He decided to come home to Las Vegas, where he feels more comfortable.  He averaged just under 10 pts/game in his sophomore season with the Hoyas.  He and Banks give the Rebels one of the best backcourts in the country. 

The addition of two JUCO guys, J.K. Edwards and James Peters gives the Rebs more depth in the frontcourt.  Edwards (6'8'' 250) will be counted on to start this year, and he is tenacious on the glass.  Junior Omari Pearson (6'8'' 220) will be spelling Edwards off the bench.  Likewise goes for Earnest Turner, spelling Banks and Hunter.  Nevada-Las Vegas must replace to double digit scorers in Lou Kelly and Chris Richardson, and fill the holes of Lafonte Johnson, who decided to transfer.

 
The University of Nevada-Las Vegas could make some serious noise this year, and bring back the excitement of UNLV basketball back to the desert.  Hopefully, this time the excitement will just stay on the court.
 

RYAN BRINKS

 

 

 

 

 

 
       
 

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