Crittenton poses big problem for Rebels

CHICAGO -- If UNLV is to win its first NCAA Tournament game in 16 years on Friday morning at the United Center, the Runnin' Rebels will likely have to find a way to contain Georgia Tech's outstanding freshman point guard, Javaris Crittenton.

The 6-foot-5 Crittenton earned third team all-ACC honors as a freshman after leading the Yellow Jackets in both scoring (14.6 ppg) and assists (5.7 ppg). He is a dynamic athlete who is considered a potential NBA lottery pick if/when he decides to turn pro, which could be as early as this summer.

"He's a big, strong point guard," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "He can get into the paint and post you. He can shoot the three. … He's just a really talented guy who can hurt you in a number of ways.

"He's attacking all the time," Kruger continued. "You've got to get him under control and slow him down a little bit."

Sophomore Wink Adams, who gives away five inches to the lanky Crittenton, is considered UNLV's best on-ball defender and will spend the majority of the time guarding Crittenton along with senior Michael Umeh.

Adams knows all about Crittenton, having played against him in high school at both the ABCD Camp in Teaneck, N.J., as well as in some AAU Tournaments as a member of the Houston Elite.

"I hung out a little bit with him and Gerald (Green)," he said referring to the recent NBA slam dunk champ who was his AAU teammate before heading to the Boston Celtics of the NBA. "He's a good guy."

And an even better player.

"He's strong. He's fast. He's athletic," Adams said. "He can post you up. He can shoot. He can handle the ball. And he plays hard for all 40 minutes. We've got to contain him and hopefully get him off the ball."

How did Adams fair against Crittenton in high school?

"I only guarded him a little bit because I played more two guard on our team," Adams said. "We were on and off. He was scoring and I was scoring. In AAU, everybody scores and there isn't a lot of defense. But now there's a lot more at stake. I just have to go out there and play a solid defensive game."

Adams said he is looking forward to the challenge.

"I like taking on players who play at such a high level," Adams said. "We've got to defend him like we did Brandon Heath and Johnnie Bryant. He's a person who always has the ball and who run and make things happen."

If Adams and company can contain Crittenton, the Rebels may finally end their NCAA Tournament drought.

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