Published Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008 | 1:27 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008 | 10:15 a.m.
Chace Stanback made a verbal commitment to UNLV basketball coach Lon Kruger on Saturday night en route to McCarran International Airport.
“They’re interested in me and I’m interested in the program,” Stanback said late Sunday morning from his home in Los Angeles. “There was nothing else to talk about.”
The 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward averaged less than six minutes in 25 appearances at UCLA last season, when he was a freshman. The Bruins advanced to the Final Four in San Antonio, where they lost to Memphis in a national semifinal game.
Stanback figured it would be in his best interest to explore other opportunities, and UNLV beat Washington, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State for his services.
He will be part of a 2009 UNLV class that will include Findlay Prep center Carlos Lopez, guard Justin Hawkins and Kentucky transfer Derrick Jasper.
Kruger, who cannot comment about a prospect until he signs a letter of intent, has one scholarship remaining for that class.
Stanback, 19, visited UNLV the previous weekend and played pick-up ball with several Rebels.
This weekend he did not play basketball with some of his future teammates. Instead, he played dominoes with ex-Los Angeles Fairfax High teammate and UNLV power forward Matt Shaw.
“I say I’m better at dominoes than Matt,” Stanback said. “But he’ll probably tell you he’s better.”
Stanback also played video games with Shaw and Tre’Von Willis, who left Memphis for UNLV and will start at the point for the Rebels this season.
Stanback and several players ate at the ESPN Zone at New York-New York on Friday. Saturday, he had a buffet breakfast at Green Valley Ranch with Kruger and other members of the program.
“I really like the program and the coaching staff, and I enjoy the way they play,” Stanback said. “Coach Kruger likes to get up and down the court. He’s a good dude. He’s straightforward. I know what he wants, and he’s all about his players getting better.”
At Fairfax, Stanback won two state titles for coach Harvey Kitani. In 2007, he earned California’s Division-I player of the year honors after averaging 25.8 points and 11.9 rebounds.
Kruger has no scholarships available for 2008-09. But Stanback’s mother, Sarah Quick, a personal trainer in the Beverly Hills area, has earmarked a $25,000 Internet lottery that she won a month ago for her son’s education this season.
Stanback will sit out the 2008-09 season, according to NCAA rules, and will be eligible in 2009-10.
“Scoring, rebounding and passing,” he said when asked what he will bring to the program. “I like to get other players involved.”
He mentioned the triple-digit summer heat in Las Vegas and revealed how he’ll handle that.
“I’ll just stay in the pool,” Stanback said.