UNLV’s Kendall Wallace brimming with confidence

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Kendall Wallace

Kendall Wallace isn’t about to shave. The beard gets thicker by the day, but the way the UNLV junior guard has been shooting from long range he isn’t about to alter anything.

“My teammates have all got confidence in me, and that gives me confidence,” he said after Wednesday night’s session inside the Cox Pavilion practice gym.

“When I have an open look, I just shoot it. I have been able to knock them down and my confidence is sky high right now.”

As he has lately, Wallace continued hitting his target Wednesday. He hit a 3-pointer on Oscar Bellfield, he sank one against sophomore center Brice Massamba and he drilled another on Bellfield.

The 6-foot-4 shooter started producing last season, when he connected on 41 percent of his 3-point attempts. He scored 15 points twice, and he tallied 14 and 12 in other games.

With two years in UNLV coach Lon Kruger’s system, Wallace is finding his groove.

“It has something to do with that,” Wallace said. “But it’s more that I feel like I have my shot down, my form is down … I feel like I’m just going to knock it down every time I go out there and not even think about it.

“If you think you’ll make it every time, usually you do.”

Actually, though, he admitted that his scruffy mug has nothing to do with being superstitious about his touch from 20 feet.

“I just haven’t gone to the store to get some razors,” Wallace said with a slight smile.

Ringin’ the Bell

Wallace hasn’t been the only Rebel who has been on target from long distance lately.

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Oscar Bellfield

Bellfield, a sophomore guard, has been all over the court. He’s an octopus on defense. He’s driving to the hoop like a fullback. His passes are crisp.

And his jumpers, and 3-pointers, are snapping the net.

He drained one on Wallace and then sank one against Matt Shaw, and when Anthony Marshall gave him the slightest window Bellfield connected from the left corner.

“Yeah, I feel real good,” said Bellfield, who nearly switches from the point to shooting guard, and back to the point, on consecutive possessions.

“I’m getting loose. I’m getting to the basket. Coach says, 'Be aggressive with your offense. Take advantage of it.' That’s what I’ve been doing.”

A year in Division-I basketball has been invaluable to Bellfield.

“Yeah, a lot has to do with last season,” he said. “I was playing a role, getting to know the flow of everything. Now, I’m more advanced. I really have more confidence.”

Inside outside

From point guard Derrick Jasper to forward Chace Stanback to guard Tre'Von Willis, and a quartet of interior players who have popped deft passes back out to the perimeter, the Rebels could be lethal.

“It’s going to be tough for our opponents to stop our guards from driving,” Wallace said. “That will open things on the outside for me to catch and shoot. It’s pretty exciting to think about that.

“Hopefully, we’re able to establish that this season. We’ll see what happens.”

Bellfield was blunt.

“Make them all bothered,” he said of what he and his teammates hope to do to foes when UNLV has the ball. “It’s what we can take advantage of the whole game. We have a lot of people who can create shots for other players. It’ll open opportunities to knock down ‘threes.’

“And, for me, to get good looks.”

Free throws

For the first time since practice started, Kruger had 15 of his 16 players to work with as walk-on forward Mychal Martinez participated Wednesday night. He recently had laser surgery on both eyes to correct a retina issue. The Meadows School graduate had hoped to return to practice Monday, but paperwork delayed his clearance. Stanback (left ankle) started practicing last Saturday. The lone Rebel sidelined Wednesday night was Kansas transfer Quintrell Thomas, who might return from shoulder surgery in late December … Iowa transfer and Faith Lutheran grad Tyler Norman was the star of Wednesday’s run to a host of visitors – Faith Lutheran coach Bret Walter brought his squad by to watch the first half of the practice … as soon as the session ended, Rebels assistant coach Lew Hill zipped to a seat left of Andy Grossman, UNLV’s assistant athletic director in charge of media relations. Grossman had his computer on and wireless up. Hill, a native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., and a lifelong Yankees fan, liked what he saw; the Bronx Bombers held a 7-3 lead in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the World Series. A little while later, at 8:50 p.m., the Yankees clinched their 27th championship by that score.

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  1. It's great to see Kendall have that kind of confidence. If he can continue to come off the bench and hit his shots, play some raw defense, his senior will definitely see him getting more and more playing time. After all, Kruger loves playing his seniors. =)

  2. Correction: senior year. Sorry!

  3. I will be the first to say I am not the biggest Wallace fan but the kid is shooting lights right now. I went to practice this week and he made 10-12 in a row during a scrimmage and drills. He was killing it. If he even shoots half this good we are going to have a great guard coming off the bench right away.

  4. gats, no worries ... he's been looking like a senior! :-)

  5. Kendall is a good player it has taken him a little time to get his feet under him at the college level. You don't accomplish what he did at the high school level in the Phoenix area and not be a baller. Bellfield should have an awesome season for UNLV, what a difference a year makes!! I see the starting 5 like this:
    F- Santee
    F- Stanback
    G- Willis
    G- Bellfield
    G- Jasper
    Wallace should be the 6th man along with all these other players seeing significant minutes as well - Shaw, Massamba, Marshall, Hawkins, & Lopez. Kruger has a lot of lineup's to throw at opposing teams this year.

  6. team is scary how deep it is. hope it doesnt lead to frustration for the good guys on the bench. why aren't one.. ha or both of the freshman guards red shirting?

  7. because they are big time recruits and those never redshirt..it would be a slap in the face to them to redshirt..
    they've been working hard, let them earn their PT.
    remeber last year when we didnt know a word about Bellfield..but Miech was reporting how good he was doin in practice, then he starts in the 1st game!

  8. The thing I like the most about Wallace is he's a game changer. When he comes in off the bench, whether it's knocking down 3's, hustling for loose balls, or making a steal, the kid is a hustler. Hoops fans the world over know the importance of a 6th man. Moses Scurry was maybe the greatest 6th man in Rebel history. Although not nearly the shooter Wallace is, he brought fire and tenacity to the court every time he stepped on it. Here's wishing Kendall and Oscar a great season!

  9. Bet, I agree with your starting five. Santee will likely get an abundance of opportunity to get minutes, but Shaw, Massamba and Lopez are right there waiting in those wings ...
    runrebs, redshirting remains to be seen. No decisions need to be made on that front at this early stage. Through the first five or six games, we'll know what might be on the horizon there.
    rebelsfan, thx ... some things are easy to spot, others ... uh, not so much. :-) Keep checking in here and hit us with what you'd like to see or read anytime...
    southern, I have always liked sixth men ... so important. This likely is before any of your time, but there was a guy for the Philly Sixers, Bobby Jones, who was the prototype. He ALWAYS tore up my Milwaukee Bucks.
    Wallace also moves well without the ball. Best ever, in my opinion? Again, how about dating myself? Jimmy Paxson, Jon's older bro who played for Portland after Dayton -- yes, I saw him play in college. No, don't ask my age! :-)

  10. What is that based on Sufferin? Have you been to a practice this year? I've been to several and Santee is by far our best big man right now.

  11. SufferinSuccotash (Robert?) you really don't know what you're talking about. You think you do - but again, you are your biggest fan. Your posts are laughable at best. It's intriguing watching you spew your frustration, given whatever limitations you personally are dealing with, all over these pages downing a good program, coach and players. Take your limitless imagination to whatever other lonely ilk will welcome you. We are Rebels fans here, not homers like you are to being a "hater". To top it off, you call out the punk they call Iverson and use him for a basic quote - please. Get lost.

  12. touche, fire ... bravo

  13. Robert has been terrorizing UNLV Rebel message boards since the internet got popular 10 years ago. I don't know why you guys just don't do what every other forum has done and just 86 him from the discussion board? Robert dosen't even believe what he says. All Robert cares about is being right. Robert lives for the argument, his true passion isn't talking about the Rebels, he isn't even really a fan. How can he be a fan when the truth is he is secretly hoping that the Rebels do have a horrible year just so he can say "I told you so" at the end of the year. Robert is a sick man with serious mental issues. Please do us all a favor and ban him from the discussion forum. Rob, when you respond to him it only motivates him more. He will play this game all year long, he has nothing better to do. If you don't ban him the best thing to do is just ignore him and do not respond to his posts.

  14. The best starting 5 in my opinion would be:
    F-Santee
    F-Shaw
    F-Stanback
    G-Willis
    G-Jasper

    In my opinion this gives us both size and offensive versatility; with plenty of talent and size to come in off the bench.

  15. alum,
    i just think having O in there and takin shaw out is a better move..cause shaw/wallace will be the 6-7 man all year long..
    with O
    Jasp, O, Tre, Stanback, and whatever center is playing the best..UNLV has size and more athleticism than probably any team they will play all season (yes, probably up there with Pitino's boys)

  16. Willis and Bellfield both played point last year and it seems that Jasper has been penciled in as the starter at point this year. Why have our three most experienced point guards on the floor at the same time? Bellfield and Marshall can spell Jasper while Wallace and Hawkins give Willis a break. Obviously there will times when different mixes are out there but why not have one of our talented point guards, with some college game experience, coming off the bench?

  17. alum and fan11, it's a great discussion for this time of year. I am leaning with 11. Bellfield has looked so slick, so far. Not just shooting, but driving, dishing and being a sticky defender. I do believe that the combo of Santee and Shaw, spelling each other, etc., will be important, but replacing each other. Massamba, while looking much better than a year ago, is coming along but not too ready to have an abundance placed on his shoulders. Remember, he is young. And it hit me today that Lopez might be a good redshirt candidate. Unfortunately, losing those 30 lbs in France over the summer was a big hit. He is regaining his strength but has struggled a bit.
    alum, having three guards out there who can handle the ball will make UNLV that much more dangerous to defend. That's pretty good. J-Hawk is getting great work in bringing it up against Jasper in scrimmages, and Marshall is honing his handles, too. AM and JH will earn minutes. Wallace is having an incredible preseason. Those are mucho options in the backcourt.
    withacause, I hear ya. It's being seriously considered and appropriate actions will definitely be taken. thanks!

  18. It seems to me that Santee has become the player he was recruited to be. If he can knock down the midrange jumper this year that gives us so many scoring options on the court.

    The way Bellfield is playing you have to start him, he creates problems for any other guard playing him in a 3 guard lineup. You cannot guard Bellfield with a 2 guard because of his quickness and passing ability & if you switch the other teams pg on to him then Jasper has a huge mismatch. Besides other teams are not going to be looking for Bellfield as a scorer so he might surprise a lot of teams.

    Great guard play is what gets you into to the tourney, I will take great guards over big men anyday..

  19. I still believe that Kruger is going to start these 5 guys - Santee, Stanback, Willis, Bellfield, Jasper. By starting this 5 you are making other teams adjust to your speed, ball handlers, and scorers at every position. That is going to be a hard 5 to match.

    This is also the best defensive starting 5 IMO. Imagine the ball pressure and length we will have with Bellfield, Willis, Jasper & Stanback trapping teams all game. Then bring in Wallace, Marshall, & Hawkins off the bench it is going to be operation lockdown!!

  20. beton, I agree with you ... look for Shaw backing up Santee, as Massamba and Lopez are still young and have lots to learn. Lopez might even be a wise redshirt choice. Losing all that weight after picking up that bug in France in July really affected him.
    The backcourt rotation might keep foes' heads spinning ...