Monday, March 9, 2009 | midnight
Things were starting to fall into place for the 1990 UNLV basketball team. Then starting point guard Greg Anthony took a fall.
In a game against Fresno State, Anthony fell hard to the court, landing on his chin and breaking his jaw in two places.
He thought his season—and maybe his career—was over.
“That was miserable,” Anthony said. “It was pretty traumatic.”
Even a broken jaw couldn’t sideline Anthony. He practiced the next day and played against New Mexico two days later.
At the time Rebels coach Jerry Tarkanian called Anthony, “the most fearless player in the country.”
Anthony played the rest of the season with his jaw wired shut, refusing to miss out on the Rebels chance at a national title.
“I just kept thinking about the future,” Anthony said. “As a team we had a goal to win a national championship, so I had that light at the end of the tunnel.”
UNLV’s success numbed the pain, as Anthony and his teammates cut down the Final Four nets after beating Duke by 30-points to bring Vegas its first national title.
“We kind of redefined major division one basketball because we weren’t from a major conference,” Anthony said.
During his four years with UNLV, the tough point guard ran the Rebels fast paced offense to perfection.
The Rancho High School grad is one of the best to ever take the court for UNLV, as he holds the school record for career assists (838), and is one of eight Rebels to have his jersey retired.
Anthony not only contributed by putting up points, but also played some of the best defense in the country. Anthony’s high-pressure defense kept opponents in check, and he holds the school records for career steals (275) and steals in a season (106).
Anthony grew up watching UNLV hoops, and he relished the chance to play for his hometown team. With players like Anthony, Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmon, the late 80s and early 90s UNLV teams are regarded as some of the best in NCAA history.
“The success was there under Coach Tark, but for us it was being able to finally win a title,” Anthony said. “We were ultimately able to take it to another level.”
During that 1989-90 season, Anthony averaged 11.2 points per game and dished out 7.4 assists.
The next season, the Rebels rolled through the regular season undefeated, and looked like a lock for a second NCAA title. But Duke got the best of UNLV the second time around, delivering one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history.
For his college career Anthony averaged 12.6 points, 6.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
After leaving UNLV, Anthony went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA before retiring in 2002 and moving into an NBA and college basketball analyst role. He currently works as a studio analyst for college basketball broadcasts on CBS.