Beginning Monday, June 21st,
2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the
nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the
opening day of the 2004-05 Season.
144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back
each day to see which team is previewed next.
#32 UNLV Rebels
2003-04: 18-13, 7-7, 4th
2003-04 postseason: NIT
New head coach Lon Kruger stepped
into a good situation at UNLV. Thanks to Charlie Spoonhour, this Rebels
squad is talented and ready to become a force again in the Mountain West.
Spoonhour, however, is out due to health reasons and Kruger is the lucky
candidate to take over the Rebels. With a trio of explosive seniors
returning led by Odartey Blankson, UNLV should improve on their 7-7
conference record of a year ago. A supporting cast of Romel Beck and Jerel
Blassingame should get the Rebels thinking much bigger.
Who’s Out: Forwards J.K.
Edwards and James Peters will leave an open spot next to Blankson in the
frontcourt. Edwards and Peters combined for nearly 18 points and ten
rebounds during their senior campaigns. Returnee Louis Amundson and a few
newcomers will compete for those minutes. Guard Demetrius Hunter played in
all 31 games as a senior, scoring 7.1 points, 1.7 boards and 1.1 assists per
Who’s In: There are six
solid players returning, but don’t be surprised if a couple of the seven
newcomers get some starting time throughout the year. The five junior
college transfers will use their experience to see some quality minutes.
The frontcourt will see some help with power forward Dustin Villepigue and
center Joel Anthony. Both are 6-9 and tilt the scales around 235 pounds and
will provide some big bodies and depth for Coach Kruger’s squad. Juniors
Robert Berkey, Ricky Morgan and Wilbur Williams step into the backcourt and
will look to make an immediate impact. The one to watch is point guard
Ricky Morgan. Morgan signed with Iowa State two years ago, but then
transferred to Schoolcraft College in Michigan. Morgan might challenge
Blassingame for the starting job at point guard. Either way, Morgan will
get his chance to run the team, at least off the bench. A couple freshmen
are headed to UNLV but aren’t expected to make an immediate impact with a
roster full of talented upperclassmen, but swingman Curtis Terry and guard
Rene Rougeau will have some gifted players to watch and learn from until
they get their opportunity.
Who to Watch: UNLV has one
more year of Odartey Blankson. The 6-7 forward flirted with the NBA, but
he’s back for bigger things. Blankson can dominate the Mountain West and
has consistently done just that. Blankson scored under ten points just
three times in 31 games last year, averaging 17.6 points per game. His
rebounding is even more impressive, averaging a conference high 10.2 boards
a season ago. Blankson will led this team again and if he has a great year,
so will the Rebels.
Projected Conference Rank:
A team with this much talent should be able to get 2nd place in
the Mountain West. Some newcomers will have to step up, but even the proven
talent can carry UNLV to the upper echelon of the conference.
Team #33 ,
Email Joel Welser:
Chat About CHN's Top #144
Return to the
144 Teams in 144 Days home page