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UNLV Hoops Preseason: Scrimmage, Recruiting and Exhibitions

UNLV held a public scrimmage over the weekend. Plus the Runnin’ Rebels will play an exhibition game this week, and Dave Rice picked up a big recruit.

Ethan Miller

LAS VEGAS – UNLV played a second public scrimmage on Saturday, a follow up to the Scarlet and Gray Showcase. Instead of dividing the teams equally, Dave Rice gave us a view of a potential first team.

The black team starters consisted of Cody Doolin, Kendall Smith, Jelan Kendrick, Rashad Vaughn and Christian Wood. Goodluck Okonoboh and Patrick McCaw came off the bench.

The red team was more of the practice squad as redshirt transfers Ben Carter and Jerome Seagears led the way. But Jordan Cornish, Dantley Walker and Dwayne Morgan will likely see playing time this year rounded out the starting red unit.

Morgan and Cornish ended up playing with the black team after the first 10-minute session of the scrimmage.


After the two open scrimmages, it seems clear that getting the ball to Wood on the perimeter is going to be a key part of the offense. Wood shot four three pointers, but also took his man off the dribble from the three-point arc. Wood finished with 19 points on 7 of 15 shooting.

Defenses will not be able to leave Dantley Walker. Walker was 5 of 8 on threes in the scrimmage. Those were the only shots he took, but all of his openings came off of his defender leaving him to help on defense. A combination of Walker in the corner and Wood driving to the basket could be a lethal threat for the UNLV offense.

UNLV is going to play zone defense this season. Rice said that man-to-man defense is still the top option, but the Rebels will mix it up with a 1-2-2 zone. The Rebels practiced that zone for six straight minutes in the scrimmage. The biggest flaw came from the corners, as the Rebels had trouble covering out to the corners.

With just 10 players going to be in the rotation, UNLV has had some peculiar lineups in these scrimmages. Patrick McCaw, who is likely the fourth option for point guard, ran about three possessions as the one. Kendrick also played point, and UNLV ran a play that got Kendrick isolated in the post. More than likely UNLV will use that when the 6-foot-6 Kendrick is being defended by a diminutive guard.

First 2015 commit

UNLV also picked up a recruit over the weekend, as 2015 guard Jalen Poyser committed to UNLV.

Poyser is a 6-foot-4 guard from Ontario, Canada. Although, he currently plays at Findlay Prep in nearby Henderson, Nevada. Poyser is the first commit for UNLV in the class of 2015. Rivals lists Poyser as a four star, 247 has him as a three star.

Upcoming exhibitions

The Rebels have two exhibitions against other teams this week. UNLV will host the Florida National Conquistadors on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Florida National plays in the USCAA and the basketball program is entering its second season.

In a more challenging exhibition, UNLV will head to Los Angeles to take on UCLA this Saturday, according to Jeff Goodman. It is one of college basketball’s "secret scrimmages."

UCLA received votes in the preseason AP poll, coming in at 29th; UNLV got two votes, which would be a tie for 47th. The Bruins also played a scrimmage against Azusa Pacific, winning 80-53. Norman Powell had 21 points on 11 shots to lead UCLA.