unlv BASKETBALL:

UNLV’s Kendall Wallace is riding a hot streak

Junior’s career-best 16 points in opener no surprise

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Justin M. Bowen

UNLV junior Kendall Wallace hits one of four 3-pointers Nov. 14 against Pittsburg State in the season opener for both teams at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Rebels blew it open in the second half to get a 91-52 victory.

The Rebel Room

Sanford out, and what's on deck for Kruger's club

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Ryan Greene and Rob Miech dive into the issue of Mike Sanford's firing from UNLV, plus what went down at his Monday press conference. Also, a look at a big week ahead for the Rebels hoops squad, as it hosts UNR and Southern Illinois.

UNLV junior shooter Kendall Wallace should either write a self-help book, a surefire bestseller, or get an advanced degree and create his own daytime talk show.

Dr. Kendall.

“I don’t know about that,” he said with a laugh after practice Monday afternoon. “You just have to block out the negative things and think positive, have confidence, step up and knock down shots.”

Wallace would be a fan of the 1970 movie “Kelly’s Heroes,” which made its debut 18 years before he was born and contained the famous line, "Enough with the negative waves, Moriarty."

“That’s really what it’s about,” Wallace said. “I try to go through it that way and try not to let things bother me.”

It’s a trait that has served the 6-foot-4 guard well as he struggled to find his way as a freshman and enjoyed some success when he rediscovered his high school shooting form last season.

During the past month in practice he torched the nets nearly on a daily basis, and that carried over to the Rebels’ season opener Saturday night against Pittsburg State.

Wallace pelted the Gorillas for a career-high 16 points, on 4-for-5 shooting from 3-point range, in UNLV’s 91-52 drubbing.

Loren Wallace, Kendall’s grandfather who had a celebrated high school coaching career in Illinois, attended Monday’s practice at the Thomas & Mack Center and summed up the secret to Kendall’s success.

“He’s a positive person, always has been,” Loren said. “Junior high, high school, AAU ball, college … I’ve never heard him say one negative thing about a coach or someone he played with. Never, ever.

“That’s unusual.”

What’s become usual, if not expected, is Kendall Wallace sinking 3-pointers from all over the court.

Monday, he did miss from the left side. A scrimmage teammate wearing white yanked down the rebound. The ball was crisply rotated around the perimeter and seemed destined to land back in his hands.

Fourteen seconds after the misfire, Wallace, just right of the top of the key, took a feed from Anthony Marshall and drilled it from 21 feet.

“You just can’t let a miss bother you too much,” Wallace said. “You just have to block out those negative thoughts. If I miss a shot, I’m thinking the next one is going in.”

There was plenty of negativity aimed at Wallace when he arrived at UNLV after helping Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View High win three consecutive 5A state championships, the first Arizona team to accomplish that feat since 1961.

UNLV coaches adjusted his shooting style, coaxing him to release his long jumpers more above his head than in front. He made only 21 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman.

Critics voiced and wrote their displeasure, but Wallace tried not to pay heed to anything outside the team circle.

“When it comes to that kind of stuff, I try not to let it bother me,” he said. “I try to block that stuff out and not worry about what others are saying.”

Easier said than done?

“Definitely,” Wallace said. “I think, you know, if you start reading some stuff, it’ll be positive and negative. You can’t take the negative very personal. I just try to avoid all that.”

During preseason practice a year ago he vowed to return to his Mountain View style. It clicked.

In the third game of the season, Wallace scored 14 points against Northern Arizona. He hit double figures in three other games and shot 41 percent from 3-point territory on the season.

Wallace’s father, Jeffery, coached high school ball in Illinois for 17 years. His specialty? Shooting.

“It’s meant a lot,” Loren Wallace said of his grandson returning to his prep shooting style. “His father always had him working on his shot for two to three hours a day. He’s also stronger and more confident. You can just tell he’s a lot more relaxed and a lot more knowledgeable.”

If Loren and Jeffery aren’t around, Kendall will surely get some advice from great uncle Riley Wallace, who coached Hawaii for 20 years and lives in Las Vegas.

UNLV coach Lon Kruger agreed that Wallace’s accuracy from long distance over the past month has been remarkable, but Kruger applauded other areas of Wallace’s game.

“He’s not only making shots, which is his one objective and role, but he’s doing a good job defensively and he’s rebounding the ball,” Kruger said.

And Wallace is fighting back, giving a licking after taking one.

Monday, junior guard Tre'Von Willis smacked an elbow into Wallace when Wallace darted into the lane. A minute or two later, Wallace hounded Willis when he tried cutting across the baseline.

Later, when Wallace secured a ball out of a scrum on defense, Willis walked up to him, smiled widely and patted Wallace on his head.

“Tre is a more physical player, and that’s a good thing,” Wallace said. “It brings another aspect to my game. If he’s making me work hard in practice and being physical with me, I feel it’s going to help me in the games.”

Did anyone think Kendall Wallace, for the first time ever, was going to knock someone, especially a teammate? Not even close.

“That comes from my parents and grandparents, my family and the way I was raised,” he said. “It instilled some good morals in me. There are things I should be doing and things I shouldn’t be doing.”

Ideas for that book and TV show, he said without pause, belong in that latter category.

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  1. Keep it going, Squirrel!

  2. Its kendall dead on wallace or simply; sniper

  3. Touche, gents. I'll run those by him at practice today! :-)

  4. Hopefully Kendall's shooting touch will rub off on his teammates. Critical that this team shoots it well. Do not have the inside scoring to overcome poor perimeter shooting. Runnin' Rebels!

  5. gumby, agreed. We'll take a closer look at those woes very, very soon. It's also critical for Squirrel to can a bunch of 3s against Louisville and at Arizona. Then he will have truly arrived as a big-time weapon on this squad. But it is very difficult to be critical about any aspect of Wallace's game because his attitude is exactly what you want on a ball team. Plus, he's the team's best free-throw shooter. Not bad at all. Thx

  6. Dude's come a long way since his arrival at UNLV. He definitely has become a bit more versatile, with more weapons other than the long ball. I remember seeing him take it to the hole last year. I was pretty much shocked, in a good way. Look forward to him lighting up teams, kinda like that McConnell guy of SMC did to San Diego State last night lol

  7. i remember last year being mad whenever seeing him get off the bench to go in..now when the team gets into a slump i always say put in Kendall!!

    he should go in at the first sign of a shooting slump..one or two made 3s, a loud crowd can get your teammates shooting well in no time..

    also seems like Chace has the same mentality that he just concentrates on the next shot and doesnt think about what happened last possesion. i love it.

  8. fan11, there should be plenty of opportunities for Kendall this season, because UNLV should be so much more dangerous penetrating this season. Help defense should free KW on the perimeter. The test will be zones. That's when his zone-busting skills will be on display. Look for UNR to do some of that tomorrow night. thx

  9. did anyone watch Saint Mary's inside-out game? it was ran to perfection. Jasper and Stanback need to DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE while the shooters line up along the 3 line and get ready to stroke em! if they dont come in on whoever drives, he scores. if they do come in, he kicks it out for an open look and a really high percentage shot.

    rob, if this isnt disrespectful to the coaches or anything, run it by them how well Saint Marys ran the inside-out with a smaller lineup and how they should practice it!!

  10. oh yea, forgot to ask, when is the Rebel Room preview on tomorrows game coming

  11. yes 11, it was perfect ... however, remember, SDSU is one of the dumbest (sorry) programs in the country, year in and year out ... talent all around, yet, some of those turnovers??? GOTTA scratch your head. Gents, that's not a playground. That said 11, that will be a key for UNLV this season when someone is playing man against them ... drive, penetration, kick out ... I got a feeling the Rebels will see a few zones this season, too, sooooo ... in that scenario, the outside shots better fall. Cuttin' the new Rebel Room podcast in mere minutes 11... will be up just a little bit later today. hang tight
    thanks

  12. you are the man Rob. if it weren't for you, Ryan, and co many fans would have to live with what the RJ gives us, which isnt much. i have to say that you not only are a professional journalist, you are a dedicated Rebels fan. We are proud to have a fellow fan representing us on press row. thanks for everything. and...is Christy gonna be doin her videos anytime soon? i love the videos..there just havent been many so far on the basketball team

  13. Hey, 11 ... uh, thanks ... I think. I'm not really a fan. Not from the area (from Milwaukee ... STILL remember the day Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced he wanted to head west. Not a good day in my world. How's that for some insight into my age? :-) ) Am a fan of the game, no doubt. Am passionate about my biz, but I leave the passion for the team to you and all the fans. That being said, they're not getting paid to play the game. They aren't pros. So it would be pretty unfair to get all over someone for missing a shot or botching a pass. That doesn't jive.
    The videos will be coming, but we've been a tad short-handed. Be patient in that area, we're working on it.
    As for what any other entity does or doesn't do, not my business. Again, mucho thx ... keep readin' and writin', and chimin' in with what you want to see and read ...

  14. thank you. no matter who you are a fan of, you are dedicated in your work. we appreciate it. i understand being shorthanded. some of the others are still covering football and when it is over will be solely covering basketball right?

  15. Short handed Rob? Hire me, I will travel with the team and shoot/edit videos all day long. I love the Sun's coverage, but that would be a dream job of mine.

  16. They're not hiring, are they Rob.

  17. ill work there :)
    i already told him he has my dream job

  18. Players do get paid to play. Scholarship pays their educational costs. Who here is still paying for their college loans?

  19. bored, I figured someone would chime in with that. You know what I meant. They are hardly wined and dined and feted like NBA players or pros in Europe. And if you think the scholarship value is equal to what the university makes off them in home-game revenues over the course of the season ... yeah, that's a whole other discussion.
    rebel08, and others ... we're just riding the tough times like everywhere else. Might not be as many videos this season as last, but they'll be quality! :-) promise. thx

  20. whens that podcast comin? waiting patiently :)

  21. Should have been up by now 11. Don't know what to tell you. We cut it this afternoon. Maybe there's a glitch, but I know nothing ... have been at practice and just finished writing advance stuff for the UNR game...
    I am Sgt. Schultz ... know noth-eeen. (I hope some in the crowd remember the great Hogan's Heroes.)

  22. haha you just give us the high quality material and then someone else is supposed to post it but i guess they are slackin a bit. just let em know :)

    did u bring up the inside-out game?? :) or did they already see how st marys did it so they are now too

  23. Nah 11, wasn't pertinent. Lot going on today. That thing will get posted when it gets posted. I just do what I do. (Good thing I didn't say anything cliche like, it is what is is, eh?) ...

  24. I understand. Can You fill us in on the breaking news or is that moments away?

  25. Wallace is a winner, I knew he would do well here. He won in prep ball, hopefully he can win some meaningful games for the Rebs. Still worried about the inside game. Is Lopez going to redshirt? Go Rebs, beat UNR. What's up with the coaching staff changing his shooting style? If he's more accurate let the kid shoot the way he learned to shoot.

  26. K Dub has come a long way, his D is much improved and he is a surprisingly good rebounder. Its nice to hear a good story about a stand up guy.