UNLV Scores Out East

Did Lon Kruger's UNLV Runnin' Rebels steal one from out East? They just might have with the commitment of a small forward from Jersey.

The UNLV Runnin' Rebels beat the posse. Deshawn Mitchell, a 6-foot-5 small forward out of Howell (N.J.) Monmouth Academy, picked the Rebels over Iona and late surging interest from a slew of bigger programs.

According to Mike Rogers, Mitchell's high school coach, his player "blew up" at some recent events and tons of big programs moved quickly to get involved. UNLV's Lew Hill caught wind of Mitchell and the Rebels went east for a big commitment.

"He's made his commitment and he's totally happy with it," Rogers said. "I've told the big timers that he's in love with Lon Kruger and he's excited about going to UNLV.

"Now he's got to make us better and lead us to the promised land. We've got good players but nobody has a schedule like us."

Mitchell's story is an interesting one. He came to Monmouth as a post player but Rogers realized he's straight perimeter. Mitchell played on Oak Hill's Red Team last season before transferring to Monmouth.

"He didn't have the skills to play with the big team but he was athletic enough," Rogers said. "He averaged 25 (on the red team) with a lot of bask to the basket stuff. Now he's pure perimeter."

Mitchell will start at the small forward slot but the plan is to continue expanding his game. "Above anything else what is going to make him into a great basketball player is that he's a tremendous instinctive passer. They have hopes of maybe turning him into the consummate big point guard. That's a stretch but he's a tremendous passer with vision and instincts."

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