UNLV's future looks extremely bright with loaded 2014 class

Ethan Miller

UNLV took a step back in 2013-14, but the group coming in next year should bring the Rebels back to the top of the Mountain West.

The 2013-14 UNLV basketball season did not go as planned and a lot of that had to do with losing Anthony Bennett to the NBA, and multiple others who graduated. This current squad was missing something this year and it showed as the team finished the season 19-12. That is a record a lot of teams would like to have but not UNLV, plus it does not help that they were swept by in-state rival Nevada.

Well, luckily for UNLV there are a trio of reinforcements from the 2014 class who have a chance to make UNLV not just the best team in the Mountain West, but possibly make a run at deep NCAA tournament runs. The Rebels currently have the No. 6 rated class, according to ESPN, with a pair of five-star recruits and a four-star player.

UNLV is bringing in five-star small forward Dwayne Morgan, five-star guard Rashad Vaughn and four-star center Goodluck Okonoboh. This trio is the best class in the Mountain West with San Diego State in a reasonably close second place with three four-star players and one three-star player.

UNLV is not losing all that much from this year's 19-win team with just Kevin Olekaibe and Carlos Lopez graduating, and that should be it barring any surprise jumps to the NBA. Roscoe Smith could be an option to jump to the NBA as he is projected to be a second round pick by various mock drafts.

Coaching plays into a part of UNLV's success because there are plenty of detractors of Dave Rice who say he is not coaching up to the level of talent on this team, especially this year. However, Rice has somewhat of an excuse since he lost the key core of players form last year's team.

Next season there will be no excuse for UNLV and Rice to not have a great year and be in the thick of things within the Mountain West and beyond. Rice's job is not in jeopardy by any means but he will have a very talented team next season and he needs to prove that he can coach them to their potential; also just possibly make a deep NCAA tournament run in the next few years with this group.

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