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UNLV hoops notebook: Darger’s cameo as Paris Hilton’s BFF

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UNLV's Joe Darger dribbles past the Washburn defense.

Next game

  • Opponent: San Diego
  • Where: Thomas & Mack Center
  • When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
  • TV: The Mtn.

UNLV senior Joe Darger’s cell phone started buzzing with text messages during Tuesday night’s exhibition victory over Washburn.

Is that you on TV? You’re on Paris Hilton’s show!

Indeed, Darger acknowledged after Thursday afternoon’s practice at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Usually cool, calm and reserved, the 6-foot-7 forward tossed his head back and laughed. His gum nearly fell out of his mouth.

“Oh yeah,” said Darger. “I was just out to dinner one night. It was my buddy’s birthday. And they happened to come in there and interview people.

“They asked me if they could have some girl talk to me. Something to do with, how do I like Las Vegas?”

Darger was dining with his friend at Dos Caminos in The Palazzo in June.

“Paris Hilton’s My New BFF” airs on MTV. Apparently, the Darger interview clip was finally shown this week.

“I answered a few questions,” he said. “I didn’t think anything of it. Someone said something, ‘You on that show?’

“I got a text message Tuesday night, ‘Did I just see you on that Paris Hilton show?’ I was just out eating dinner. It was a while ago. I didn’t even think of it until someone said something.”

Is Hollywood his new calling? Again, Darger laughed.

“I’m not worried about that,” he said, glancing at the Mack court. “I’m more focused on this. Whatever.”

Is it the water?

Players raved about the new, ultra-pure, super-special water they ingested during breaks Thursday.

Well, not really. Some didn’t even know about the water or note a difference.

Junior guard Scott Hoffman noticed. “More energy,” he said, smiling, as he emptied a plastic cup and ran back onto the court.

Apparently someone representing a water company pitched it to the UNLV hierarchy on Wednesday.

Jason Kabo, UNLV’s assistant director of strength and conditioning, dumped a few bottles of it in a cooler for Thursday’s practice.

It’s super-ionized, Kabo said, with high alkalinity. Miracle water, he said.

Players went about their business. Darger didn’t know about it and didn’t feel much different than past practices.

Some commented about the blue Gatorade, but nothing about feeling super energy from the plain water in the other cooler.

“It was not as good today,” said junior power forward Darris Santee. He was talking about the Gatorade. “It wasn’t as sweet as usual. I like it sweet.”

Man in the middle

Santee went 1-for-5 from the field Tuesday night in his debut as a Rebel. He had four points, six rebounds, an assist, a steal and a turnover in 24 minutes.

It might have been an exhibition, but it was his first competitive game at the Thomas & Mack Center.

He was happy to get it out of the way, and happy that it didn’t count.

“Yeah, I was a little excited,” Santee said. “I rushed a couple of shots. I could have taken my time and scored easily. I have to take my time. I know I can score down low.

“It felt good getting it out of the way.”

Unselfish

Sophomore guard Tre’Von Willis continued to show no distaste or discomfort about backing up freshman Oscar Bellfield at the point.

Bellfield started Tuesday and that will continue Saturday. Willis even cheered on Bellfield on Thursday.

“Good pass, boy!” Willis yelled as Bellfield fed Rene Rougeau down low for a nifty reverse layin.

“He’s handled it very well,” coach Lon Kruger said. “I think they’ve both done a nice job in a healthy, productive way. Challenging each other every day has made both better.”

Karaoke, anyone?

Freshman center Brice Massamba is one of the more happy-go-lucky Rebels. He always has a smile. Always ready to laugh.

As he walked to the cooler Thursday, he started singing “Super Sexy,” a line from a song by rapper T-Pain.

“Brice, quit singing,” said senior forward Mo Rutledge. “Spare me.”

“Aw, don’t hate,” said Massamba, smiling.

Injury update

Senior guard Wink Adams, with a red sleeve around his right calf, took part in all drills Thursday.

He took a knee in the calf toward the end of Tuesday’s game and, because of swelling, sat out most of Wednesday’s practice.

Expect him to start Saturday afternoon and not show any hint of the injury.

Kruger, however, nearly had no voice Thursday. He has been feeling the effects of a cold and was hoarse, and coughing, Wednesday.

Thursday, he struggled to be heard and the cough was prevalent. Assistants did most of the heavy talking. Don’t expect to hear Kruger yelling Saturday.

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