UNLV BASKETBALL:

Stanback to start 2010-11 season in more familiar position

6-foot-8 junior returns to small forward post, gains from lesson learned during a season in the paint

Image

Sam Morris

UNLV forward Chace Stanback sails in during a dunking demonstration before the team’s FirstLook scrimmage on Friday, Oct. 15, 2010.

Tonight's Game

  • Opponent: Grand Canyon (exhibition)
  • Where: Thomas & Mack Center
  • When: 7 p.m.
  • TV: None
  • Radio: ESPN 1100 AM/98.9 FM

If anyone on the UNLV men's basketball roster knows how to make being out of position look like no big thing, it's junior forward Chace Stanback.

A quick glimpse of the wiry 6-foot-8 Los Angeles native, combined with knowledge of his feathery touch from the perimeter, and you immediately think 'small forward.'

Last season, out of necessity, he was asked to fill a bigger role — literally.

Stanback's first season on the floor at UNLV following a transfer from UCLA saw him quietly average 10.7 points and a crucial 5.8 rebounds per game.

While playing power forward.

Now, a year later, thanks to an infusion of promising new interior talents, Stanback looks to breathe a little easier back at his natural position.

"I like being on the wing, having people setting screens for me for once," he said with a grin. "I don't mind getting out and playing (power forward). It just shows that our team is pretty versatile and we can all play different positions."

As a junior, Stanback will still see time at the power forward spot, but it won't be made his top priority by coach Lon Kruger. Last season, the term 'power forward' applied somewhat loosely to Stanback, who split his time on offense between the paint and the perimeter, but was mostly camped down low on the defensive end.

The Rebels now have a trio of big men who all appear to be capable of handling big minutes and being, well, big presences.

Junior Brice Massamba continues to improve as his physique continues to slim, sophomore Kansas transfer Quintrell Thomas appears ready to provide a rugged presence on the boards that UNLV sorely missed a year ago and redshirt freshman Carlos Lopez may have the most upside of the three.

Meanwhile, if they live up to their collective billing, Stanback will be freed up and can make opponents pay by doing what he knows best.

It's been on display at team practices over the last two weeks, and will be there for all to see when the Rebels play their exhibition opener at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center against Grand Canyon University. The Antelopes will be the first to see a bigger-than-normal lineup from UNLV, who at times will deploy Stanback at the same time as a combination of two of the three natural bigs.

It can be argued that since practices began on Oct. 15, Stanback has been the most impressive player on the floor at any given moment.

His outside shot is smoother than ever, while a summer full of rehabbing a nagging left ankle injury and adding some strength has added to his explosiveness.

"My ankle's not as sore as last year," he said of the sprain suffered last October that lingered throughout the season. "I did a lot of rehab on it, trying to get it stronger, did a lot of calf raises.

"(At small forward) I can make plays for other teammates. Also, crashing the boards from the 3-point line has always been something I've liked to do."

This year, though, the UNLV staff is hoping that Stanback's rebounding prowess from the perimeter will be merely an added bonus to what the bigs contribute rather than being a necessity.

As a sophomore, Stanback's 5.8 rpg were by far a team-high, while none of the team's three designated 'bigs' averaged more than 3.2. It was especially impressive when you compared Stanback's 210-pound frame to those of some of the interior players he was regularly banging up against.

He said he learned tricks of the trade that helped round out his game, going up against the likes of San Diego State's Malcolm Thomas and Utah's David Foster, among several others.

Stanback is also using his past experiences to help usher in a protégé, of sorts, in fellow UCLA transfer Mike Moser.

Moser, who like Stanback spent just one season with the Bruins before packing up and heading out, has been equally eye-catching in practices, essentially playing the Stanback role on the scout team.

Also standing 6-foot-8, Moser and Stanback not only go head-to-head daily, but also have very similar skill sets. They spent a good portion of the summer working out together in Los Angeles, too.

"It's almost too perfect," Moser said of the situation. "He's been through everything that I'm preparing to go through, from leaving (UCLA) to coming here to being a redshirt, the transfer life, all of that. I've definitely used him a lot to find my way."

Moser might also have as much perspective as anyone in determining how much good a move back to the perimeter will do Stanback.

"He's making plays for guys, making plays for himself — As good of a shooter as he is, I think the best part of his game is he's unselfish and he can create shots for other people," he said. "Being at the (small forward spot) now, I think it's such a better fit for him."

Expect several lineups on Tuesday

Expect junior Oscar Bellfield and sophomore Anthony Marshall to draw the starts on Tuesday night in the back-court, while the other three spots will remain pretty fluid between senior guard Derrick Jasper, junior forward Chace Stanback, sophomore forward Quintrell Thomas and junior forward Brice Massamba.

Marshall will be starting in place of senior guard Tre'Von Willis, who is serving at least a 3-game suspension following his off-season legal matters. That punishment includes the two exhibition contests.

Also expect to see true freshman Karam Mashour, who is still a likely redshirt candidate this season. Even if he redshirts, Mashour is eligible to play in the exhibitions.

Notes on Grand Canyon University

— The Antelopes come to town off of a 16-16 season in 2009-10, which was their first under coach Russ Pennell. Pennell, as you may recall, was the interim coach at Arizona amidst the Lute Olsen mess in 2008-09, leading the Wildcats to a Sweet Sixteen appearance.

— Grand Canyon returns four of five starters from a year ago, led by 6-foot-6 sophomore guard Brad Carroll, who averaged 9 points per game as a freshman. Carroll, a Chandler, Ariz., native, transferred closer to home from UW-Milwaukee. Junior Nick Witherill, a Washington State transfer, averaged 8.5 ppg last season.

— Oddest note of the day: Grand Canyon actually holds a 3-2 all-time record over UNLV. However, it should also be pointed out that the two have not met since 1963.

UNLV teams with Bear's Best to salute the military

On Monday, UNLV and Bear's Best Las Vegas general manager Jim Stanfill announced a partnership to salute active and inactive military personnel in November and December.

Over that time, active and inactive military personnel who show their UNLV basketball or football game ticket along with a military ID receive a free round at the course.

Tee times can be booked by calling (702) 804-8500.

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  1. Would be nice to see UNLV have some size on the floor so they can get more boards. Somehow I think that with the number of talented guards and wings they have combined with the fact that neither Lopez or Thomas has much experience, we will still be seeing the three guard look with Stanback at 4 alot. BTW Ryan I believe that Kevin O'Neil was the interim when they beat UNLV in 2007 in that really ugly 52-49 game. Pennell was the interim in 2008 when UNLV won 79-64. Both games were at UNLV however. Runnin' Rebels!

  2. If 50 is the new 40. Then stanback is the new Willis. Jk

  3. Ryan. If Mashour plays well in these exhibition games do you still think he will be redshirtting? With the loss of Wallace looming wouldn't it make sense to keep this guy active if he seems ready to play now?

  4. I thought that the idea to redshirt Mashour was pretty much discarded, given the kid's maturity, skills, and obvious team need. FINALLY, I can go to the Mack and catch a Rebel game.

  5. Thank you yet again Ryan for your article. Stanbeck is poised for a break out year. He looks to have put in a lot of effort on the things coaches wanted him to improve in. I'm looking forward to seeing him at the sf position. Last years experience may help him with Leonard of SDSU along with other big sf's in the league . I wish him the best along with all the rebels

    80 minutes between 3 players (Massamba, Thomas, Lopez) at the 4 and 5 is tough when you have so much talent on the bench . 120 minutes for 6 players (Bellfield, Willis, Stanbeck, Jasper, Hawkins, Marshall).

    I would like to see Stanbeck play about 12 min at sf and 12 at pf while Jasper plays 22 at sf .
    Oscar would get 28 at pg with Hawk taking the other 12 there. Tre to get 28 at sg Marshall taking 12 at sg 6 at sf/g .(Mashour to red shirt). This leaves 68 for the three bigs, a much more realistic number.

    The best part of the situation is if they are not defending or not putting out effort, there is someone there to take their minutes, pushing them to stay focused. They also seemed really to gel as a unit and be close.

  6. Almost HAVE to redshirt Mashour...

  7. I agree but am a huge fan of Mashour. Maybe the way he plays team defense he could steal a few minutes at the 4, sub for foul trouble and end of game situations, when its not close. Allowing him to gain game experience for next season. Then Tre and Jasper will be gone and he can fit in .

  8. Ryan,
    Is Henry Buckley a complete loss at this time, or is he still eligible for winter semester?

  9. You're right, gumby. He was on that staff, though.

    al, Buckley could get eligible for the winter semester. He's IN Vegas, attending the Impact Basketball Academy, trying to reach that point.

    As for Mashour, it still is up in the air somewhat, but the truth is, redshirting him won't be the worst idea. He's still trying to battle the language barrier, though making massive strides from what I can tell. I do think how he performs in the exhibition games will matter, but I'd probably lean towards him redshirting at this point. Who knows? I've been wrong before, as you all know :)

  10. Hope it is true regarding the play of the bigs, but I am still have a difficult time not seeing Stanback playing at least some time at the four spot. Especially the way Kruger likes to trap. I have a hard time envisioning Massamba and Thomas being effective playing together at the same time at the four and five spots definsively while continuing the style of defense we have seen the past few years. Just not enough lateral quickness, especially against more athletic teams.

    As for Mashour I don't understand why there is talk of redshirting him. If he is as good as some proclaim I can't believe there are not at least some minutes for him. Furthermore, even with KW, colletively the Rebs are not a great three point shooting team and of course he is now out for the season. Allegedly Mashour has a pretty good stroke so at the very least he maybe able to help in that area.

  11. I'm thinking burn the redshirt idea for Mashour as we will need him for the 3 point shooting. It all depends on how well our guys can bang inside. If we still can't get some good rebound numbers, we have to at least have the potential from outside the arc to keep teams guessing.

    On a side note, I watched the 1990 game last night (netflix!) and my how the game has changed. Definitely worth the watch.

  12. I think that it will be tough to NOT redshirt Mashour this season. Sure he has a good outside shot, but is it really that much better than anyone else on the team this year? He doesn't have the touch or a pure shooter like Wallace, right?
    Plus it looks like Jasper will start at the 3, with Chace at the 4. Now, my educated guess is that the 3 spot will be shared by Jaspar and Chace primarily. Jaspar looks to be the one to spell OB at the point. So Marshall and J Hawk will come on the court to spell Willis (who will probably average the most minutes on the team this year) and to go small with 3 guards on the court. Mashour will basically be behind Hawkins, who is already fighting for minutes. All of that, plus being new to the team, not knowing the offensive and defensive schemes, plus the language barrier will probably work against him being active this year. Granted next year does not get much easier with Wallace coming back, Moser joining the team, Glaze coming in and only Tre leaving (right?)
    Man this team is deep.

  13. @ htown, Jasper will also be leaving (senior) with Tre this year.

  14. agree 100% htown

  15. Any predictions on the final score in this exhibition? Hopefully it's better than last year against Washburn where we only won by 10.

  16. great player, wish he were here in philadelphia
    john p mcniff

  17. No live blog of exhibition game:(

  18. needz live blog!

  19. Ah yes, forgot about Jasper Sofa-, that will open up minutes for Mashour. But it'll look like 3 guys fighting for minutes at the 3 next year with Chace, Moser, and Mashour.

  20. Rebels win 90-66. Good game Rebs!