News and Notes – Mid-December

UNLV somehow managed to play its worst half and it's best half of basketball in the same game. Thank goodness, the best half came in the second half when the Rebels outscored LMU by 18 points, resulting the Rebels first road win of the season to bump their record to 4-3 with the next 5 games in the Thomas & Mack Center.

UNLV somehow managed to play its worst half and it's best half of basketball in the same game. Thank goodness, the best half came in the second half when the Rebels outscored LMU by 18 points, resulting the Rebels first road win of the season to bump their record to 4-3 with the next 5 games in the Thomas & Mack Center.

It's funny how big one win can be, but we believe this might just be the win to get this previously underachieving Rebel team turned around. The emergence of Marcus Banks and Dalron Johnson was huge, and hopefully will continue into this home stretch. More importantly, the Rebels need to play with a higher basketball IQ, like they showed in the 2nd half of the LMU game, and not turn the ball over.

After 7 games into the season, here is our breakdown/grade of each player and the coaching staff.

Marcus Banks - As Marcus goes, so go the Rebels. Hopefully his JC to D1 level of adjustment period is coming to an end, and if Saturday's performance is any indication, it is. UNLV fans are just starting to see what Mr. Banks is capable of. His ability to break defenders down and get into the paint is amazing and clearly needs to be use MUCH more often. First 6 games = C-, last game = A-.

Jevon Banks - Not very good, below average back-up. Wouldn't mind not seeing him on the floor at all. D

Lafonte Johnson - Great little shooter, but lacks the quickness most 5-6 guards possess at this level. He simply can penetrate or create his own shot, so his effectiveness is very limited. C-

Vince Booker - Spoon absolutely loves this kid for his hustle, experience, and composure. But, it's still a mystery why he is playing SO MANY minutes when you have so many other talented options at the two guard. Vince is a great kid, and a good shooter, but he also can't create or penetrate. C-

Ernest Turner - Has been too slow-a-foot on defense, which is why he isn't getting many minutes at all. Turner however, has way too much scoring/shooting ability to leave him on the bench. UNLV fans should hope and pray he doesn't get frustrated with the lack of minutes and leave the program at year's end. It's unfair to grade him at this point.

Lamar Bigby - His 8 minute outburst at UAB was good and bad, because now Spoon appears to be giving him minutes. He has well below average talent at the D1 level (see his attempted layup at Cincy), and should be deep on the bench. D

Lou Kelly - Best pure shooter on the team, and needs more looks. The key is trying to get Lou not to force his game. He's also been playing his tail off on D, finally. Should probably be starting, but definitely needs more minutes than he's currently getting if Spoon wants to keep him on the bench for more firepower. His overall game, might be the best on the team. B

Chris Richardson - Great athlete, not a very good basketball player. Chris does play hard though, and his jumping ability and rebounding is very much needed on this team. When he plays his game (not shooting J's or handling the ball) he can continue to help the Rebels win. B

Dalron Johnson - It's become clear than 80% of DJ's shot attempts need to come from the interior (8 feet and in), rather than trying to show off his perimeter game (which isn't that good). Dalron needs to keep playing hard and stay consistent night in and night out as the Rebels go-to-guy on the offensive end. When he catches the ball in the post, makes his move in rhythm, he's very tough to stop. B+

Jamal Holden - Missed practice again, and who knows how much longer he'll be a Rebel. Jamal's horrible attitude along with very very little basketball ability add up to a problem for Spoonhour. His work ethic is bad and he doesn't want to go to class. Need we say more? F

Omari Pearson - First class kid that plays hard, but doesn't have a ton of ability. He's probably best suited to be a back-up PF instead of a starter at the center spot. You have to like this kid and hopefully he'll continue to bulk up and improve. C+

Louis Amundson - How can you not love Mr. Foul? 5 fouls in 7 minutes at LMU! But man you have love the intensity he brings to the floor every minute he's out there. Should get more minutes as the season goes on, and you can see the improvement as he gets more comfortable at this level. He'll end up being a big fan favorite when his time is up at UNLV. B

Coaching Staff - Until the 2nd half of the LMU game, we haven't been real impressed with the offense or the substitution patterns from Spoonhour so far. He prides his teams on defense, and many times the pressure D just isn't there. Hopefully he finally has a good feel for the team and will get the Rebs to continue to improve. C


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