UNLV Basketball Preview

Jack ChristianContributor IOctober 12, 2009

After a season that began with a lot of promise the Rebels did not play well at the end of the season.  The high points of last season was when UNLV beat Louisville on the road and also sweeping BYU during conference play.  The low point was losing to San Diego St. three times (twice at the Thomas and Mack). 

UNLV loses some key contributors in Wink Adams, Rene Rougeau, and Joe Darger.  The biggest loss surprisingly is Rene Rougeau.  He was UNLV's most consistent performer last season and to be honest Wink Adams and Joe Darger had disappointing senior campaigns.

UNLV had a very nice recruiting class with Justin Hawkins, Anthony Marshall, and Carlos Lopez.  The two players I expect to get some playing time are Anthony Marshall because of his overall skill level and Carlos Lopez because he will provide some size off the bench.  I would not be suprised if Justin Hawkings red-shirted this year because there simply won't be any minutes available.

UNLV also has a pair of extremely talented transfers in Derrick Jasper(via Kentucky) and Chace Stanback(via UCLA).  Jasper is a 6 ft. 6 in. point guard who started for Kentucky and seems to have fully recovered from micro-fracture surgery.  Stanback is 6 ft. 8 in. tall and should be UNLV's leading scorer for the upcoming season as he possesses a potent mid-range game and can score in a variety of ways. 

The key returning players from last years team are Trevon Willis(transferred from Memphis), Oscar Bellfield, Darris Santee, Brice Massamba, Kendall Wallace and Matt Shaw.  Only Bellfield and Wallace lived up to expectations last season. 

Projected Lineup

Derrick Jasper 6' 6" - Started as a Freshmen for Kentucky.  Will be UNLV's best player if he stays healthy.

Trevon Willis 6' 4" - Should be better now the can focus on scoring instead of playing the point guard position.

Oscar Bellfield 6' 3" -Will be the backup pg and fill in when Jasper needs a rest.

Chace Stanback 6'8" - Can score in a variety of ways and should be the teams no. 1 option on offense.

Brice Massamba 6'10" - Brice Massamba  will be playing at around 245 lbs. this season because he has dropped roughly 35 lbs. from his playing weight last season.

Key contributors off the bench

Matt Shaw 6' 8" - Could start over Massamba.  Provides some size down low and may end up being the teams most lethal 3 point shooter.  Sat out last season due to an injury.

Kendall Wallace 6' 4" - Has one job and that is make open 3's, which he did a good job of last year.

Anthony Marshall 6' 3" - Athletic guard that doesn't have a specific strength but should be solid in all aspects of the game.

Carlos Lopez 6' 9" - Tall but needs to bulk up from the 200 lbs he played at in high school at Findlay Prep(#1 nationally ranked).

Darris Santee 6' 8" - Has the best post game of any UNLV player.  He will need to rebound a lot better than last year if he wants playing time.

Justin Hawkins 6' 2" - Very good on defense but may end up red-shirting this year.

Next page I take a look at the schedule and make some predictions for the upcoming year.

I project UNLV to lose to 2 games out of conference and 4 in conference play.  I project UNLV to go 24-6 during the regular season and finisht tied for 1st with BYU.  After the regular season I also project UNLV to win the conference tournament on their home floor so that will bring the win total to 27. 

A lot depends on the seed and match-up for UNLV in the NCAA tourney, I think they will be good enough to win a game in the tournament but will lose in the second round.  So I project UNLV to  finish with 28 wins and 7 losses.

A scary thought for opponents in the season after 09-10 is that UNLV should have 5 returning starters, 4 key contributors returning and UNLV will be able to utilize transfer Quintrell Thomas(transfer from Kansas sitting out this year).  That team in the following year has the potential to make it to the sweet 16 and beyond.

Nov. 14, 2009PITTSBURG ST8:00 pm MT |  W
Nov. 18, 2009Nevada8:30 pm MT |  W
Nov. 21, 2009Southern Illinois8:00 pm MT |  W
Nov. 25, 2009Holy Cross8:00 pm MT |  W
Nov. 28, 2009Louisville2:00 pm MT |  L
Dec. 2, 2009at ArizonaTBA |  L
Dec. 5, 2009at Santa Clara8:00 pm MT |  W
Dec. 12, 2009Kansas State5:00 pm MT |  W
Dec. 15, 2009at Southern Utah7:00 pm MT |  W
Dec. 17, 2009Weber State8:00 pm MT |  W
Dec. 19, 2009South Carolina Upstate8:00 pm MT |  W
Dec. 22, 2009

SMU 1st game of diamond head classic - 8 teams

8:30 pm MT |  WWW
Jan. 6, 2010at BYU8:00 pm MT |  L
Jan. 9, 2010at New Mexico2:00 pm MT |  L
Jan. 12, 2010San Diego St.TBA |  
Jan. 13, 2010San Diego St.8:00 pm MT |  W
Jan. 16, 2010Utah8:00 pm MT |  W
Jan. 20, 2010at Colorado State8:00 pm MT |  W
Jan. 23, 2010at TCU4:05 pm MT |  W
Jan. 26, 2010Air Force8:30 pm MT |  W
Feb. 3, 2010at Wyoming8:00 pm MT |  W
Feb. 6, 2010BYU2:00 pm MT |  W
Feb. 9, 2010New Mexico9:00 pm MT |  W
Feb. 13, 2010at San Diego St.2:00 pm MT |  L
Feb. 17, 2010at Utah8:00 pm MT |  L
Feb. 20, 2010Colorado State4:00 pm MT |  W
Feb. 24, 2010TCU9:00 pm MT |  W
Feb. 27, 2010at Air Force1:30 pm MT |  W
Mar. 6, 2010Wyoming2:00 pm MT |  W