Report: Hamga to UNLV

It looks like UNLV head coach Lon Kruger may have landed another talented big man to his program. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported today on its website that 6-11 Beas Hamga of Decatur (Ill.) Christian School had picked UNLV over Kentucky which still remains in the hunt for Top 10 national recruit Patrick Patterson.

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Center Hamga chooses UNLV over UK

By Jerry Tipton
A visit to Kentucky last weekend did not change prospect Beas Hamga's intention to play for UNLV. He announced his commitment to the Runnin' Rebels on Monday.

His coach at Decatur (Ill.) Christian School, Alan Huss, noted the "very solid personal relationship" Hamga, had developed with UNLV Coach Lon Kruger and assistant Greg Grensing.

"Also, he has a very close friend that just finished up an outstanding career there," Huss wrote in an e-mail. "He really feels that if he develops the same way that Gaston Essengue (the friend at UNLV) then he will play in the NBA."

Essengue, like Hamga a native of Cameroon, finished his UNLV career this past season.

Hamga, an athletic 6-foot-11 1/2-inch center, originally committed to Iowa. When Coach Steve Alford moved to New Mexico after this past season, Hamga re-opened his recruitment.

Hamga visited Kentucky last weekend. Earlier this spring, he visited UNLV. He also was considering New Mexico and Indiana.

Former UK Coach Tubby Smith had been recruiting Hamga, whose first name is pronounced "Bee-Az." Billy Gillispie picked up the recruiting trail when he became UK coach.

With a 7 foot, 3 inch wingspan, Hamga plays like a 7-footer, Huss said. Recruiting analysts considered Hamga as raw offensively, but a player who could defend and rebound relatively quickly.

The recruiting interest moved Hamga to seek to have his academic status changed. He had been considered a high school junior. But because he had fulfilled NCAA requirements for college eligibility, the player has asked to be considered a member of the high school senior class of 2007.

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