REBELS BASKETBALL:

UNLV signs Houston forward Buckley

6-foot-10 big man will spend next year at prep school before joining Rebels for 2010-11 campaign

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Wheatley High senior forward Henry Buckley

The UNLV men's basketball program signed a big man on Tuesday, but Henry Buckley will not be pressing Darris Santee, Brice Massamba or Carlos Lopez for playing time in the 2009-10 season.

Buckley, a 6-foot-10, 200-pound senior at Wheatley High in Houston, signed a national letter of intent with the Rebels, but will spend next season at a prep school -- most likely The Patterson School in North Carolina.

"We've been following him throughout his high school career not really thinking about signing him to a letter because we knew he was headed to a prep school," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "The idea was kind of on the table, and it was something he felt great about, so we said 'Great, no problem at all.'"

Buckley's signing will not count toward the two open scholarships the Rebels have for next season. In terms of filling those, the UNLV staff is still awaiting word from Kansas transfer Quintrell Thomas, who is scheduled to announce his decision following the upcoming holiday weekend.

The staff is not believed to be pursuing anyone else at the moment for those spots in terms of unsigned high school seniors or transfers, which means those scholarships would roll over into the 2010 class.

As for Buckley, his year in prep school will be spent adding weight to his frame that can visibly support more than the 200 pounds he currently carries, plus developing his offensive game.

"He's very thin, and he's got a ton of upside," Kruger said. "He's a very good worker with a great attitude. He runs the floor and he's very lean. He's got good, broad shoulders, and will definitely add a lot of weight over the next couple of years.

"Right now, he's more of a shot-blocker, rebounder. Offensively, he's developing every day."

As a senior at Wheatley, Buckley averaged 6.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.9 blocks per game.

He also becomes yet another prospect to join the Rebels program from the Houston area under Kruger -- an area where UNLV has found quite a bit of talent.

"Starting with Mike Umeh, then Wink (Adams), it's been very good," Kruger said. "When you have players attend school and have success, it gives you a little leverage when you go back into those same areas and you can refer to a couple of guys from there who had great careers."

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  1. what the hell?

  2. A little different signing, but I'm intrigued. The staff jumped on Hawkins and Lopez early and those turned out well. Sounds like an opportunity to let him get some more experience and not sit the bench by going to a prep school.

    6-10 and athletic. Sounds like a Joel Anthony-type. Wouldn't mind that. Suddenly, with Shaw, Lopez, Brice and hopefully QT, there will be several options inside in upcoming years. Looks like defensive option here with Buckley. Will be fun to watch him next year in prep school and see where it goes.

  3. Talk about lazy recruiting. Looks like Kruger simply decided to forego any serious efforts to land a highly touted big man in the class of 2010 and settled on this project. We already have three projects down low. Maybe Lopez wows everyone the next couple years, but I'll believe it when I see it.

  4. Hey Ryan. Can you dig up some video of this guy?

  5. lute, you gotta understand most of our scoring the next couple of years is going to come from chase willis and d jaz... they have oscar to manage the ball and all they need down low is people who will have DEFENSIVE presence I.E. 6.9 blocks per game. this guy was an easy choice in my book. he rebounds blocks shots. he can run the floor he has a great attitude and he gets another year to develope without using a scolarship. if he adds some weight he will be just fine....

  6. I agree with you Sportsguy702. However, I still believe there is 7'+ giant lurching around a village somewhere in Eastern Europe or China that Team Kruger should locate. Lol, maybe wishful thinking.

  7. 6 points and 7 rebounds per game? Sure would be nice to find someone who can contribute right away instead of a project. Seems like it was players like Cage, Mitchell, Hamga etc that had this label. We all know how they turned out (UT Chat, Rider and Valpo). Not particularly promising news.

  8. First off Hamga is no longer at valpo..

    Second. This guy is a project, however he gets a YEAR AT A PREP SCHOOL to develope without using a scholarship. and we all know what kruger does with "projects" that COMMIT themselves to the program. anyone remember..... joel anthony, luis amundson, curtis terry, Gaston Essengue, rene rougeau. None of these guys were "highly touted" but they stayed true to the program and had the team in their best intrest. Ask any of these guys how Kruger does developing "projects" and see what kind of response you get.

  9. I like that we get to watch him develop for a year knowing he's coming to UNLV.

    It was very cool seeing UNLV mentioned so much on espn when Carlos Lopez was making plays in the Rise tournament.

    Hopefully Buckley works his but off this year and becomes another early commit that stands out for UNLV.

  10. I'd feel better if he was at Findlay Prep but they stopped taking 5th years.

    Sounds very good defensively. If he can develop offensively and put on some serious weight, he could contribute well to the program.

    Time will tell.

  11. I'd say it's a low-risk get for UNLV. The Patterson School churns out loads of talent year-in and year-out. Plus, don't forget, this guy will be going against those guys every day in practice, plus he'll be facing off against other post-grads the entire season. Considering what this guy could potentially bring, it's a good-looking get for the Rebels at the moment. If the coaching staff doesn't see any unsigned seniors out there who they feel can help the program next season, then this is a good route to take.

  12. I disagree.
    Was this guy recruited by any other school?
    This guy will just be a reserve to a "backup" player at UNLV. I bet he is saying "wow, I can't believe a D-I school actually gave me....a nobody, a full ride."
    He will lucky to see any PT, let alone, is lucky to get a ride. If he is moved to the center position because of his blocking ability, you then look at his weight, 200 pounds. Geez! He is gonna get pushed around all day long. How much weight do you think he will be able to put on, before he gets to UNLV? I seriously doubt he is gonna add 50 pounds of muscle. No way. IMPOSSIBLE. He is just gonna sit on the bench. The coaching staff was looking to sign someone that would not complain aboout their playing time, and is happy about just being at UNLV, and not cause any problems with team chemistry.

    I disagree with this statement by the Staff guy:
    "Plus, don't forget, this guy will be going against those guys every day in practice"

    "We're talking about practice man. We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about practice, we're not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we're talking about practice"
    -Allen Iverson

  13. I don't understand why UNLV is so unsuccessful in recruiting top notch talent.......

    - UNLV is in Vegas! Only the most exciting city to live in the US! 24 hr partying & hot girls......what more could a rockstar ballplayer want? Seriously....they would own this city....if OJ Mayo went to UNLV you don't think he'd own Vegas?

    - The academic workload is relatively easy. Hey, I'm an Alum, so I can vouch for this.

    - They would start or get massive playing time immediately.

    - We have a former NBA coach as our coach.

    - We are in a relatively easy conference.....we should be in the NCAA tournament every year (by winning our conference title) IF we had halfway decent talent on our team.

    - UNLV still gets some respect in basketball circles.

    - Did I mention the hot girls?

    With all these things going for us, why do we need to take risks on Prep School players for the season after next who are not ready for the NCAA? Why do we have 2 scholarships left for this season? I agree with the prior poster....why not go after some Eastern European phenoms? Give them a green card & a shot at the NBA?

    Seriously......WHY?

    S711

  14. Good points, Sinatra and Bob.

    So, why the hell has Kruger signed this guy then? Is he the find of the century, considering not a single school has talked to him or shown interest; or is this just lazy recruiting (as some have suggested)?

  15. I don't know about this signing either, but we'll see.

    Eastern European phenoms? Hey Kaspers worked out pretty well for us, so I'm down. But, in today's recruiting world those phenoms are just as highly recruited (if not more), because they have NCAA teams as well as European pro teams vying for their services (and in some cases NBA teams).