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UNLV to Highlight High Flyers in Dunk Contest

Come fly with them in Vegas. Rebel fans will come together in downtown Las Vegas Thursday night to watch some of their team fly high in the night at UNLV's dunk contest.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It's UNLV Runnin' Rebels Madness, literally.  An event that recaptures the previous Runnin' Rebel Experience for the UNLV basketball program, Runnin' Rebel Madness features the UNLV basketball team and prepares fans for the upcoming season.  It is boasted as a family friendly event in downtown Las Vegas, an area that has been recently revived by an influx of new condominiums, restaurants, and retail.

This downtown revival is fitting for UNLV, because since the Dave Rice era began in 2011, there has been hope that the UNLV basketball program could experience its own revival.  UNLV fans are now entering into the 2015-16 season, and hope is still just on the horizon but never has come to fruition. Runnin' Rebel Madness represents another promising start to another season of unknown results.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. PT at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center and the event starts at 7 p.m. The entire team will be introduced so that UNLV fans can meet each one of their new and returning players.  Of course, the nationally recognized Rebel Girls will be there as well as the UNLV Cheer team.  Players will be signing autographs and taking photos with fans.

However, the biggest draw of the night will be the dunk contest that Rebel players can participate in.  There's a part of me that always cringes a bit when I hear pre-season dunk contest, because of the potential for injuries with just one misplaced foot on a landing.  But, for fans, nothing is better than seeing some of the Rebels that they are most excited to watch during the season throw down when there is no opponent to block them in pre-season festivities.

Lots of Rebel fans are looking forward to seeing Stephen Zimmerman or even Jalen Poser, but I'd be hoping to seeing Derrick Jones.  He recently suffered a sprained ankle, so it will be intriguing to see if he participates in the night's festivities or not. Starting last year, Jones garnished national attention for some of his high flying antics (one of which included a jam over four people).

Whoever throws down for UNLV, fans will gobble it up.  Vegas loves excitement and wants to see their team have some fun before the grind of the season begins.  Runnin' Rebel Madness is about to get under way, and it all begins downtown on Thursday night.