UNLV Basketball Season Preview: Roster Breakdown
A look at the players and projected rotation for the 2017-2018 Runnin’ Rebels.
Marvin Menzies first season at the helm of the Runnin’ Rebels went about as bad as it could have, with the Rebels finishing a program worst 11-21, and last place in the MWC. But shortly after the season concluded, Menzies pulled off a recruiting coup that breathed instant excitement back into the program and had the fan base believing the 2017-2018 Runnin’ Rebels can compete for a Mountain West Championship. With practices underway, and the Scarlet & Gray set for Wednesday evening, lets take a look at the new and returning players that fans will be seeing.
Jordan Johnson (Senior – Point Guard): Johnson is a transfer from Milwaukee where he played under current Rebels assistant head coach Rob Jeter. While not a dynamic scorer, Johnson will provide a seasoned veteran presence at the point, and he’s extremely talented at setting up the teammates around him, as he averaged 8.1 assists per game during his Junior year.
Jovan Mooring (Senior – Guard): Mooring could be in a for huge year, as he will be moved off the ball, after being forced into the point guard roll last season. Mooring is a dynamic scorer who should see his efficiency increase with Johnson manning the point and finding Mooring for open shots.
Kris Clyburn (Junior – Guard): Clyburn came out of the the junior college ranks with the reputation as defensive ace and a lights out 3-pt shooter. He didn’t live up to the 3-pt shooter reputation in his first year, but he’s an excellent defender who can use is length and athleticism to defend multiple positions.
Shakur Juiston (Junior – Forward): Juiston was part of that coup mentioned above. He was the top junior college recruit this off-season, and fills a massive need for the Rebels, rebounding. After finishing 10th in the conference last year, Juiston’s innate ability to secure offensive and defensive rebounds will be greatly welcomed and should help ensure the Rebels finish well above 10th this season.
Brandon McCoy (Freshman – Center): McCoy was the crown jewel of this years recruiting class. One of the top ranked players in the nation in the class of 2017, no one thought it possible for Menzies to land a recruit of this calibre so shortly after taking over a program in turmoil. McCoy is a fantastic scorer in the post, and will be likely be the best player on the court on a nightly basis.
Amauri Hardy (Freshman – Guard): Hardy committed to the Rebels shortly after McCoy and was another huge pick up. Hardy is a dynamic, athletic, fast scorer, who was originally committed to play for Oklahoma State before Bran Underwood left. He could see major minutes off the bench subbing for both Johnson and Mooring.
Cheickna Dembele (Sophomore – Forward): Dembele showed flashes of his freakish athleticism during his freshman campaign, and projects to be a top rim defender, but he’s not nearly as polished as McCoy. Dembele will long major minutes as he has the ability to back up both McCoy and Juiston.
Tervelle Beck (Freshman – Forward): The talented scoring forward played one year of post-grad high school ball, and figured to compete for starters minutes before McCoy and Juiston committed. Beck should still push for big minutes off the bench as he’s a polished scorer from just about anywhere on the floor, and comes in more developed than some of the other first year big men.
Cheikh Mbacke Diong (Freshman – Forward): Diong gives Menzies something the Rebels haven’t had in a long time, talented depth at the forward spot. Diong is only a freshman, but he is an incredible athlete, and could give Menzies the option of putting three players on the court at one time that are 6’10” or taller.
Anthony Smith (Junior – Forward): The junior college transfer is raw, but was incredibly productive at the juco level and is an elite athlete. If he can use his athleticism to finish around the rim, he could carve out minutes for himself on this team.
Djordjije Sljivancanin (Sophomore – Forward): Not much is known outside the program about the big man, but with the depth that Menzies brought in this offseason, it’ll be hard for Sljivancanin to see major minutes this year.
Ben Coupet Jr (Sophomore – Forward): At this point in his career the sophomore projects as more of a defensive prospect, who will need to prove he’s an elite defender to get minutes.
Jay Green (Freshman – Guard): The Australia native projects as a long term point guard project for the Rebels coaching staff to develop. He’s a potential red shirt candidate for this season as it could be tough for his to see meaningful minutes in the guard rotation.
Nick Blair (Junior – Guard): Transfer from Idaho who must sit out this season.
Noah Robotham (Senior – Guard): Transfer from Akron who must sit out this season.
Enjoy the Showcase everyone and keep checking back as we will continue previewing the upcoming season for the Rebels.