Without Anthony Bennett, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels would have been a top-25 team next season. With him, UNLV could be a top-10 squad and a legitimate threat to make the Final Four.
What a difference a prized recruit can make.
A power forward and the last remaining top-10 recruit on the board, Bennett immediately makes the Runnin' Rebels a talented, dangerous and well-rounded squad.
He'll join top-50 recruit Katin Reinhardt in an impressive recruiting haul for Dave Rice, along with Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch. And with Mike Moser, Anthony Marshall (12.2 points per game last season), defensive stopper Justin Hawkins and USC transfer Bryce Jones already in tow, the UNLV roster looks solid.
But the team's success will begin and end with the trio of Bennett, Moser and Birch—three studs that could find their way to the NBA someday.
Moser was good for a double-double a game last year (14.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game), and Birch showed serious promise before deciding to transfer from Pitt after only 10 games. They'll pair with Bennett to create one of the nastiest frontcourts in college basketball next season. And, in the process, perhaps they'll help UNLV advance past the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1991.
They should be a fun team to watch next season.
Michael Peck, Bennett's head coach from Findlay Prep, noted that the Rebs should have a multi-faceted team with players that can handle any number of roles (via ESPN):
"Look at Mike Moser," Peck said. "They're going to play up-tempo and they allow guys to play multiple positions and do multiple things. They let players be players. If the guys have skills that can do certain things, he lets them utilize their skills."
UNLV will be a very good team next year. Landing a player of Bennett's caliber has ensured that.
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