Monday, March 9, 2009 | midnight
Few players in UNLV history could shoot like Freddie Banks. His smooth jumper and sharp-shooting accuracy led the Runnin’ Rebels to a 1987 Final Four appearance during his senior season.
“Fearless Freddie” would pull up and shoot from nearly anywhere on the floor, and he made those shots—lots of them.
Banks holds the record for most three-pointers made in a season (152) and is second on the list for career threes (229). He also ranks in the top-five for UNLV career scorers (2,007 points).
Banks never shied away from taking the big shot, and with the game on the line the coaches wanted the ball in his hands.
“He was the most clutch shooter I ever coached,” former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian said.
Banks was a streaky shooter who could get hot in a hurry. When he found his groove, Banks was money from anywhere in the gym, and teams could do little to stop him.
During the 1987 Final Four loss to the eventual champion Indiana Hosiers, Banks knocked down a tournament record 10 three-pointers.
The 1987 team finished with an overall record of 37-2 and was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. The ’87 Rebels only regular season defeat came as a one-point loss to Oklahoma, and the Rebels became the first UNLV team to finish the regular season ranked first in the country.
In the NCAA tournament, UNLV’s dreams of a Final Four were in jeopardy as the Rebels trailed Iowa by 18-points in the regional final. Banks and the Rebels fought back, becoming the first UNLV team in the Final Four since the “Hardway Eight” in 1977.
Banks, a graduate of Valley High School, went on to get picked in the second round of the 1987 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons.