Published Monday, July 20, 2009 | 6:57 a.m.
Updated Monday, July 20, 2009 | noon
UNLV’s basketball team is ranked 40th by Lindy’s preseason basketball annual.
The magazine still has some editing left before it gets printed, but the Rebels can only rise in Lindy’s rankings by the time it hits the newsstands in early fall.
BYU is rated above UNLV and is the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference regular season. Junior guard Jimmer Fredette and senior shooter Jonathan Tavernari will lead the Cougars.
Kansas, Texas and Michigan State are the current first, second and third teams in the Lindy’s rankings, followed by Villanova, North Carolina and Purdue. Butler checks in at No. 7.
Kentucky is eighth, Washington is 17th, UCLA is 24th, BYU is 29th and Notre Dame is No. 37.
UNLV was 17-4 last season when it sputtered, finishing 4-7 and losing an NIT first-round game at Kentucky.
The 2009-10 season for the Rebels will be boosted by the scarlet-and-gray debuts of guard Derrick Jasper and Chace Stanback.
Jasper left Kentucky to play two seasons at UNLV. He has been recovering from micro-fracture knee surgery for about two years, but all reports from closed pick-up games in recent weeks are solid.
Stanback, from UCLA, has three seasons of eligibility left and often dominated, inside and out, in practice when the slick forward redshirted last season.
Returning guard Tre’Von Willis sustained a cut above an eye that bled profusely in a collision with Jasper and ensuing fall a few weeks ago, but it didn’t sideline his training schedule.