UNLV Basketball Is Making A Comeback

It’s been a good offseason for Runnin’ Rebels fans after a difficult season. UNLV finished 11-21 and missed the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year.

However, the Runnin’ Rebels look to get the program back on top, starting with a good recruiting class for next year.

The class is highlighted by recent commit Brandon McCoy, who is the No. 4 ranked center and No. 15 overall ranked player in ESPN’s top 100 recruits. He committed to UNLV over Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon and San Diego State. He was also a McDonald’s All-American and played in the Jordan Classic earlier this year.

UNLV

Brandon McCoy committes to UNLV via twitter (Photo via Bleacher Report)

“I felt very comfortable with the coaching staff and loved the campus,” McCoy told ESPN. “I want to get UNLV back the way it was in the 1990s.”

Getting the program back to what it was in the 90s seems like a tall task. It is even tougher considering that a lot of people believe that the 1989-90 UNLV squad was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, college basketball team of all time.

If one thing is for certain in college basketball, it’s that anything is possible.

On top of McCoy, the Runnin’ Rebels added five more recruits, including former Oklahoma State commit Amauri Hardy, who committed to UNLV just a day after McCoy. Hardy, who is the No. 23 ranked point guard and No. 82 ranked player in ESPN’s top 100, will also look to get UNLV back to where it once was.

UNLV has a top 25 recruiting class, which shouldn’t be surprising. Despite their lack of performance the past couple of years, they have had top 25 recruiting classes. Their recruiting class ranked 11th in the country in 2014 and 16th in 2015. They went 18-15 both years.

Former coach Dave Rice was usually able to get a consistent recruiting class that usually fell within ESPN’s top 25. The problem wasn’t recruiting, but execution. UNLV had the players. They just didn’t use them to their full potential.

UNLV

2nd year head coach Marvin Menzies looks to revamp UNLV, starting this year (AP Photo).

That could have very well attributed to the departure of three UNLV players. Late in March, Troy Baxter Jr., Zion Morgan, and Jalen Poyser all said that they were leaving UNLV. It might have seemed like an issue at the time, but it helped open up six scholarship spots for next season.

Now the question is: will this year be different?

Under second-year head coach Marvin Menzies, UNLV looks to finally capitalize on their prime time talent, and it starts with McCoy. Landing the big man is a statement by UNLV, making sure that college basketball still knows the Runnin’ Rebels are there to compete.

Accompanied by an already talented roster, McCoy and Hardy are joined by incoming freshmen Jay Greene, Cheikh Mbacke Diong, Tervell Beck and Shakur Juiston. So don’t count out the Runnin’ Rebels just yet, because we could see them winning games once again, just like they did in the old days.

 

Featured Image by CSNbbs

 

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