REBELS BASKETBALL:

Like everyone else, UNLV will play waiting game with Polee, Joseph

Rebels’ top targets in 2010 class likely won’t make commitment before respective senior seasons end

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Los Angeles Westchester High forward Dwayne Polee Jr. joins the UNLV student section during a Nov. 28, 2009 game against Louisville at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Rebels upset the 16th-ranked Cardinals, 76-71.

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Findlay Prep guard Cory Joseph watches the UNLV-Kansas State game at the Orleans Arena on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, as part of his official visit with the Rebels.

At this point, it would come as a surprise to very few if Findlay Prep guard Cory Joseph woke up one morning and a decision on where to play ball next season just hit him out of nowhere.

"I think he's kind of turned that switch off in terms of thinking about it day-in and day-out," Findlay coach Mike Peck said. "I think he has an idea that once the pressure from our season fades a little bit, it'll become clear to him."

Joseph's status has stayed the same for a while now: The No. 7 rated prospect in the 2010 class according to Rivals.com is considering — in no particular order — UNLV, UConn, Minnesota, Villanova and Texas.

It'll remain a waiting game for those potential suitors in the race. Peck said that unless he straight-up asks about it, Joseph rarely talks about his future.

The 6-foot-3 Toronto native appears content to live in the moment, remaining relatively private when it comes to the next step.

When will he decide?

"Whenever I feel 100 percent sure," Joseph said. "I do think about it a little bit, but I'm still not 100 percent. Right now I'm caught up in school and trying to win basketball games."

In other words, the latest news is, well, no news. There probably won't be any for a while, either.

For reference, Findlay's 2008-09 season didn't end until April 5 with a title in the ESPN RISE National High School Invitational in North Bethesda, Md.

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Los Angeles Westchester High forward Dwayne Polee Jr. is escorted to the UNLV student section during the second half of UNLV's game against Louisville Saturday, November 28, 2009 at the Thomas & Mack.

Coincidentally, for UNLV, the same can be said for its other top target in the 2010 class — Westchester (Calif.) High small forward Dwayne Polee.

Polee has taken just one official visit so far, and it was to UNLV on Nov. 28 to see the Rebels face then-No. 16 Louisville, who UNLV defeated, 76-71.

He said he'd like to take his other four allotted visits before committing anywhere, and those visits won't take place until his season with the Comets is through.

"I'll make my decision around late March, early April," Polee said. "When the whole USC thing kind of fell through, we just wanted to be patient and not rush into another decision. We're just taking our time right now, getting a feel for all the coaches."

Polee got a visit from UNLV coach Lon Kruger, who went to see the Comets play Venice High in Los Angeles to cap off a one-day recruiting trip.

As for Polee's destinations once his season is over, he said his list is still set at UNLV, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Arizona State. Though he can't take another official visit to Las Vegas, Polee said he wants to attend another game at the Mack before the season is done. Polee, whose father, Dwayne Sr., played at UNLV during the 1981-82 season before transferring to Pepperdine, would have plenty of familiar faces to welcome him if he made another stop on campus this spring. He is close friends with UNLV sophomore guard Oscar Bellfield — another Westchester product — and freshman guard Justin Hawkins, who played prep ball nearby at Woodland Hills Taft High.

Like Joseph, Polee said there is no leader out of those five schools.

"I'm just focusing on my season," he said in a comment similar to Joseph's. "I'll probably set up some visits when the season's over."

UNLV certainly is in no kind of crunch to fill its last open scholarship for next season.

From this year's team, which is currently 17-4 overall and 5-2 in Mountain West play, nine members of the Rebels' 11-man rotation will be back, including all five starters. The newcomers so far will be forward Quintrell Thomas, a Kansas transfer, and redshirting freshman forward Carlos Lopez. New to campus, but likely to redshirt in his first season, is 6-foot-11 Henry Buckley, who is playing this season at Central Carolina Sports Academy in Greensboro, N.C.

Landing either Joseph or Polee would almost be looked at as an added bonus on a roster which already projects to be a major threat in the national landscape in the 2010-11 season.

Much of the decision for both, too, could be seeing how things shake out at the end of the season at their prospective schools, be it with transfers coming and going or coaches staying and leaving.

Two examples Peck gave in Joseph's case, specifically, are fellow top prospects Brandon Knight and Josh Selby. Knight, ranked by Rivals as the top prospect in 2010, and Selby, a Baltimore product who earlier was committed to Tennessee, are both still wide open. Both are also, like Joseph, strongly considering UConn.

"Nowadays, I've got to be honest with you, I think it's probably not a bad thing," Peck said. "Every year there'll be one or two kids who will (wait until later to commit). You look at (Kentucky's) John Wall. He's doing fine. He made a choice that was obviously pretty good for him.

"If you're good enough, trust me, things will work out."

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  1. Appreciate the update Ryan. Keep up the good work!

  2. Seems like Polee is feeling UNLV. Wanting to make a trip out here unofficially is pretty big. I would rather see UNLV land Joesph but Polee wouldn't be bad either...

  3. Even though I think Joseph is a great player I think Polee is a better fit simply because he is a long athletic wing. With Wallace, Willis, Bellfield, Hawkins, and Marshall all coming back that is a ton of guards. We definitely need more help on the wing and in the post. Hopefully Lopez and Thomas will upgrade the post. Polee's athleticism would be a great fit. Love Cory Joseph and you never know if any of our guards will have a change of heart and transfer but we need to fill in the holes and Polee fits the bill.

  4. Enjoyed the article Greene.

    Agree with you Gumby. Joseph can see the log jam at guard and the only reason he is considering UNLV is because of living in the area.

  5. Love the quote---
    Two examples Peck gave in Joseph's case, specifically, are fellow top prospects Brandon Knight and Josh Selby. Knight, ranked by Rivals as the top prospect in 2010, and Selby, a Baltimore product who was earlier committed to Tennessee, are both still wide open. Both are also, like Joseph, strongly considering UConn.

  6. Hey Ryan,

    When does the signing period end?

    Also, how is Lopez doing in practice? Is he holding his own in practice, or is he still looking green?

  7. Patticus ... not sure on the specific end, and I don't think either Polee or Joseph are taking that into consideration. They'll wait until they're ready. Neither is in any kind of a rush.

    As for Lopez, I'm writing a story for early this week on his progress, so stay tuned for that.

    Lenny, from gut feel, I'd say Polee is showing a little more favoritism towards UNLV, but that's mostly because Joseph, well, doesn't really say much. Joseph is playing his hand EXTREMELY close to the vest. Even Peck said that anything regarding his recruitment needs to almost be dragged out of him. I wouldn't be shocked if he waits to see what the likes of Knight and Selby do, either.

    With Polee, you sort of have to read between the lines, too. He loved his visit here, and the fact that he wants to see another game here before year's end I think is a good sign. In my mind, it means he wants to have a fresh impression of UNLV while he's taking those other four visits -- if he even takes all four, that is.

    Either would be a great get, but as I said in the story, UNLV is certainly not up against the gun in HAVING to get one of these kids. Worst case scenario, they roll that scholarship over to the 2011 class and are still maybe the most loaded mid-major in the country next season.

  8. Love your articles, Ryan, but please refrain forever from using the words "mid-major" in describing UNLV basketball. It makes me sick to my stomach.

  9. Fair enough, jamoney. Didn't even realize I wrote that. I'm one of those people who doesn't believe there's a difference, so not even sure why that was in there. My bad.

  10. I wouldn't think CJ would be to worried about the 5 guards that UNLV has considering there are 3 spots in the line-up on most occasions. I think he is confident in his ability to get the playing time if he is making a difference. I don't see Wallace getting much more time then this year. He is a pure shooter but defensive liability. Oscar will get his at point, which having the most experience, will be needed. I think AM will be most improved next year and a definite scoring force. Ideally, CJ comes and is eased in as he makes the transition to D1 ball. As we have seen this year by all our freshman, and freshman from other schools. Thats no easy task.

  11. I hope we get even one of the recruits, but if we don't, I don't think it will be the end of the world. Just some icing on the cake so to speak. It's real simple on playing time. If you are good (or better than the next guy), you are gonna play. If these kids are waiting to see where others are going (like UConn), they gonna have to probably sit out awhile or not get too many minutes and no play.

    Thats how we got a few transfers, and I'll take a transfer many times over a new kid with zero college bball experience.

    Ryan, I'm not too keen on recruiting, but is UNLV looking at any other transfers or vice versa?

  12. sofaking ... I'm sure there might be some transfers who catch the eyes of Kruger & Co. ... however, most of them won't leave their current schools until after this season. They either leave mid-season (like Drew Gordon did) or afterwards.

  13. What about the center from Findlay, Godwin Okonji? According to espn he is also still considering UNLV and they say some nice things about him.

  14. How about we go after a 7 foot center with TALENT?

  15. Carlos will never be a "beast" inside. Ever. Keith Gallon is a beast inside. Demarcus Cousins is a beast inside. DeJuan Blair was a beast inside. Carlos is tall and long and thin. Very thin. I think we will be very good inside but won't out muscle anyone inside...at least not until he puts on about 40 pounds. He will be a quick big man down low but will never be the beast inside you want in him. He doesn't have the body.

  16. I agree with Jamal here. Lopez is lanky, and quick, but as far as his beastliness, I'd say it's in question until he puts on some weight.

  17. Looking forward to the piece on Lopez. Definitely doesn't seem like a banger, but how many of those do you find in college hoops anymore?

    A tall and quick kid that defends the defensive glass well, wrangles some extra offensive boards, has soft hands and can finish shots close to the basket is supposedly his M.O. If that's the case, the Rebels will be in great shape with him on the floor.

  18. See, but the thing is that I don't think the coaching staff is going to be asking him to be a 'beast' inside. He's more built in the mold of a Chace Stanback type. He'll be able to rebound, but on the offensive end, most of his production will not come with his back to the basket. The Rebels don't need him to be somebody who will knock guys' heads around. That's what Quintrell Thomas is for. Lopez will be more of a small forward, which given his shooting touch and ball-handling ability for a guy with that size, is just fine, I think.

  19. I'm still going to be interested how Massamba continues to progress this year and into next year. I wish he'd be a little more aggressive rebounding, but he's developed some post moves and his defense is getting much stronger. He doesn't look lost like he did at times last year. I think we'll be looking at another "big man rotation" next year, but a bit higher quality.

  20. Ryan,

    A 7 foot small forward? Really? We're going to go from having a 6'1'' back up power forward this year to having a 7 foot small forward next year. Wow. Talk about playing guys out of position. Lopez is a euro-style big man who will never bang inside. He has no muscle and will get punked in the post if he ever goes into the post.

  21. letsgo - I watched Lopez in practice right before the BYU trip and Ryan's assesment is correct. He definitely favored floating around the perimeter. His shot is suspect however he is athletic and is pretty crafty but a banger this kid will never be. He is not the type of kid that will put on alot of weight, he is too wiry. He looked to me like he is the kind of player that is very unselfish, enjoys playing with his teammates but will defer to score. Kind of a taller Derrick Jasper. Given time I think he can be a nice addition. But do not expect this kid to be a physical force. Quintrell and Brice will have to deliver on that front.

  22. Finally some people who share my sentiments when it comes to Lopez. I stated a few months back exactly what Jamal just said and people on this site blew their wigs. He has about as much muscle as a mantiss even before he lost that weight due to sickness. From what I saw at the first look he has no skills at all and is going to get cooked by anybody who has decent game, he is not even D1 talent but he ended up on the Rebels? If he ever plays (SF) that will be another out of position coaching blunder by Lonnie boy....

  23. anybody else think Lopez looks kinda like Varajao? If he could only be that good.

  24. @ BetOnBlack

    Come on buddy, seriously "he is not even D1 talent but he ended up on the Rebels?"

    He was rated the #45 PF and ESPN had him as the #19 C. He was getting recruited by:

    Texas
    Gonzaga
    Oklahoma
    Florida
    West Virginia

    You have to be smarter than that. Did you ever watch him at Findlay? He is a good player and will provide what we are lacking this year and that is someone to block/alter shots. He is a legit 6'11 and runs the floor well and is skilled. If the only time you have seen him was 1st look then you should refrain from comment. You loose credibility with comments like that.

  25. I'd take Polee over CJ any day!

  26. The thing about schools like Findlay is they are dominated by the guards and rarely is the ball thrown into the post let alone a set play ran for a big man. During the ESPN College tournamnet Lopez played well and even the announcers were saying he needed the ball more but Avery Bradley had the ball in his hands the whole game and was looking for his shot. Tristan was already going to TX when he came to Findlay.

  27. I ment ESPN High School not college

  28. Lopez will be SOLID... he's gonna be a Pau Gasol which isnt too shaby, just wait and see.