Monday, March 9, 2009 | midnight
Glen Gondrezick never wowed people with his raw athletic ability. He lacked some of the flare that personified UNLV basketball and was just as comfortable staying in the background rather than taking center stage.
“I was the ultimate role player,” Gondrezick said. “I never got the respect because I played that style.”
“Gondo’s” gritty mentality provided the perfect balance to the high paced, flashy style of UNLV basketball, and he had a key part in turning the Rebels into a national power.
During his senior year in 1977, the veteran helped the Rebels make their first Final Four run in school history, leading the team in rebounding (347) and averaging 14.6 points per game.
Much of Gondo’s contribution never showed up in the box score. Rarely did he lead the team in scoring, but everybody praised his value. Gondo set screens, took charges and fought for rebounds. Few could match his intensity and work ethic.
“I would do whatever it took to help my team win,” Gondo said.
With Gondo underneath grabbing rebounds, and lighting fast players on the edge to run the break, no teams could contain the Rebels offensive firepower. To this day, few teams—if any—rival the offense of the “Hardway Eight.”
The team went 29-3, averaged 107 points per game, and scored more than 100 points in 23 games, including 12 straight. All of that came without the three-point line and shot clock.
“There has never been a team in college basketball—before or after—that accomplished what we did,” Gondo said. “Nobody scored like we did.”
He earned a spot as an honorable mention All-American in 1977 and ranks 15th on the Rebels all-time scoring list with 1,311 points. Gondrezick went on to get drafted in the second round by the New York Knicks and UNLV retired his jersey in 1997 in a joint ceremony with his teammate Reggie Theus.
Gondo’s has remained a close friend of UNLV after leaving school. He currently works as the team’s radio color analyst, and at times can’t help but think about how the ’77 squad elevated Rebels basketball to a national level.
“Everything we did was a first for Las Vegas and a first for the university,” Gondrezick said. “We certainly put UNLV on the map.”