Spoonball Arrives at UNLV

<p>Three months as UNLV's head basketball coach have passed and Charlie Spoonhour seems to be fitting right in. The native Missourian has brought some much needed stability and guidance to the basketball program that has been on a roller coaster ride since the firing of then head coach Bill Bayno on December 12th.<p>

Three months as UNLV's head basketball coach have passed and Charlie Spoonhour seems to be fitting right in. The native Missourian has brought some much needed stability and guidance to the basketball program that has been on a roller coaster ride since the firing of then head coach Bill Bayno on December 12th. Coming into a tough situation following UNLV's administration foul up of the hiring of Rick Pitino, the NCAA sanctions, and the mass fan support to hire interim head coach Max Good that boosters had laid out for them, Spoonhour and his staff have none-the-less hit the ground running.

Upon the announcement of Spoonhour taking the job, there was immediate talk that all 3 signed Rebel recruits for the upcoming season would not honor their signed commitments, as well as rumors that a few current Rebel players wouldn't stick around to see what Spoonball was all about. Now that the dust has settled, Spoonhour and his staff have managed to retain all returning players from last season and all but one recruit. That being 6-11 center Simplice Njoya, which was virtually impossible since Njoya and former Rebel assistant Charles Cunningham are a package deal wherever they would end up (Duquesne). Spoon talking JC All American Marcus Banks and Sterling HS scoring sensation Ernest Turner into honoring their commitments to become Rebels says a lot about he and his staff. Current Rebels like Dalron Johnson and Lafonte Johnson that were said to be pondering the decision to stay or not, appear to have bought in to what Spoonhour is selling as well. They, along with all the other returning players can currently be found on campus.

Along with Spoonhour comes his son Jay Spoonhour, who last season led Wabash Valley (Ill.) College to a 37-1 record and the National Junior College Championship. Jay is known as a good coach, a good recruiter, and has many ties in the JC and high school ranks. Spoonhour also kept UNLV assistant coach Dave Rice on staff as Director of Basketball Operations, which was a wise move in the opinion of many. Dave truly bleeds Rebel red, playing on the 1990 National Championship team and being a part of the UNLV coaching staff for the past 8 years. In March, Spoonhour said: "I have only known Dave a short time. I talked to a lot of people about Dave, and everyone is extremely complimentary of him and his potential as a coach." Derrick Thomas, coming from the Atlanta Hawks where he was a scout, was also hired as an assistant, and is primarily known for his recruiting skills. Deane Martin, who worked for Spoonhour at St. Louis from 1997 to 1999 and more recently was the associate head coach at Tennessee-Martin, was also named assistant coach rounding out the staff.

Spoonhour has proven in the past that he can rebuild a program and rebuild it fast. Starting with Moberly JC in 1972, then to SW Missouri State, and finishing up with St. Louis 1999 he compiled an impressive overall record of 367-189. An impressive record to say the least, especially considering all three programs were in shambles when he arrived., and it didn't take him long to get it turned around. Spoon is also known for getting the absolute most out of his players, challenging them to play at levels above what they thought they were capable of. Many believe this was a skill that former UNLV coach Bill Bayno simply did not have, and some even claim he got very little from his players in regard to heart, hustle, and teamwork. These are essential components of any quality team, and this Rebel team is no exception. So right now for fans it's wait and see, but if Spoonhour can get this Rebel team to play at or above its potential, it should be a very exciting year for UNLV fans. Welcome Spoonball.


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