Las Vegas Sun

September 1, 2014

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On the road to Long Beach, UNLV hoops style

UNLV’s basketball team left for its first road trip today. In fact, it’s on a bus right now to Long Beach, Calif., to play Long Beach State in a private scrimmage late Saturday morning.

Friday afternoon on the I-15 between Las Vegas and Los Angeles?

Ugh.

At least the contingent of Rebels is heading west, against the grain of what usually is a disaster of a Friday afternoon journey heading this way.

Still, coach Lon Kruger and his squad likely could fly to New York to get to a closed-door scrimmage against St. John’s quicker than it will arrive in Long Beach.

(Coach, if you’re reading this … time isn’t exactly of the essence, so may I recommend El Tarasco, at the corner of Rosecrans and Highland, in Manhattan Beach for a late dinner? Three chicken tacos. Extra mole sauce.)

(You’re welcome.)

The private run marks the de facto start of the season, since UNLV plays host to Division-II Washburn in a Tuesday exhibition and goes up against Pittsburg State next Saturday.

New point guard Derrick Jasper, the transfer from Kentucky, salivated about finally getting his UNLV career underway against other competition.

And he said his right knee, which has taken so long to mend from surgery, is doing fine.

The right knee of guard Tre’Von Willis didn’t look so fine after Friday morning’s practice, but he said there’s nothing to worry about.

Late in the session inside the Cox Pavilion practice gym, Willis left the barn with trainer Dave Tomchek and returned wearing an ice wrap around his right knee.

Just a little sore, Willis said, a little precaution to make sure he feels good for Saturday.

Assistant coaches Greg Grensing and Steve Henson ran most of Friday’s practice, as Kruger bolted early to check out a couple of high school practices. Afterward, the squad boarded a bus.

Hopefully by now they’ve passed the Peggy Sue’s diner that is out there in the middle of the desert, stuck in the 1950s. If not, it’s gonna be a long trip.

Coach, if you do stop at Tarasco on the way back …

Follow Rob Miech on Twitter at twitter.com/RobMiech.

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