Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 | 2:30 p.m.
- Box Score: UNLV 85, UC Riverside 41
- UNLV thrashes overmatched UC Riverside, opens 2010-11 with a bang, 85-41
- Notebook: Redshirt situation for freshman Karam Mashour still in limbo
- Instant analysis: A great opening night for UNLV basketball
- Live Game Blog: Rebels coast past Highlanders in impressive season-opener, 85-41
- 2010-11 UNLV Schedule
- All Sun UNLV men's basketball coverage
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Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer break down what was a more lopsided than normal opener for UNLV, as the Rebels' offseason improvements were all on display in an 85-41 thrashing of lowly UC Riverside. The guys give you numbers and analysis, plus a look at how Tre'Von Willis fits back into the rotation next week and what's going on with freshman Karam Mashour.
A day after a resounding 85-41 thumping of UC Riverside in its 2010-11 season opener, UNLV coach Lon Kruger put an end to two lingering roster issues.
Senior guard Tre'Von Willis, who was a first team All-Mountain West performer and the Rebels' leading scorer last season, will not play on Wednesday night against Southeastern Louisiana. Instead, his first game back from a suspension stemming from off-season legal issues will be next Saturday, when UNLV hosts Wisconsin at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"Tre'Von has done well during his suspension, but has left a few details undone — nothing major," Kruger said in a statement. "He will sit out the Southeastern Louisiana game on Wednesday. We have closure in sight and are anxious to move on. He will play against Wisconsin."
Willis has just in the last week gotten back to full-speed in practice after finally healing up from arthroscopic knee surgery performed in August.
Last season, he averaged 17.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a junior, leading the Rebels to a 25-9 record and their third NCAA tournament appearance in four years.
Meanwhile, while Kruger now has to figure out how to work Willis back into a loaded perimeter group, he'll also be doing the same with freshman wing Karam Mashour.
The 6-foot-6 Israeli forward, who projects as a potential successor to senior Derrick Jasper starting next season, will not redshirt the 2010-11 season.
Mashour did not play in Friday's opener. On Thursday, he and his uncle, Jason Awad, met with Kruger to discuss options for the upcoming season. Kruger urged Mashour to take a redshirt this season, while Mashour said he'd prefer to play.
Kruger said following the victory over the Highlanders that, if Mashour were his son, he'd redshirt him, saying "because I just don't see where the minutes are with the depth that we have on the perimeter."
The seventh-year coach followed that, though, by saying that he would not force Mashour to redshirt if he really did not want to.
"We have had additional discussions with Karam about the possibility of redshirting, but he wants to play and we certainly appreciate that," the statement read. "We are totally supportive of the decision and are anxious to get him out on the floor Wednesday night in our next game."
Part of Mashour's decision may have been attributed to the fact that he turned 19 years old before the season started, and would have thus been 20 as a redshirt freshman next fall.
Mashour, who turned 19 in August, has experience playing for Israel's 18-and-under national team and a high basketball IQ. But he's still learning the American game, especially on the defensive end.
On the other hand, he will be able to contribute when needed on the offensive end and in the rebounding department. To boot, he is quickly getting past the language barrier he faced when first coming to the country last spring.
In his two exhibition appearances, Mashour was 3-of-8 from the floor, scoring 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
UNLV (1-0) will tip off on Wednesday against Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. at the Mack.