Rebels Basketball:

UNLV guard Kendall Wallace to miss 2010-11 season with torn ACL

Senior 3-point gunner leaves void to be filled by the likes of Marshall, Hawkins and Jasper

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Justin M. Bowen

UNLV guard Kendall Wallace hits one of his seven 3-pointers during the game against New Mexico on Jan. 9 at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. The Rebels beat the 15th-ranked Lobos, 74-62.

The UNLV men's basketball season has suffered a major blow before it even has started.

Senior guard Kendall Wallace — a reserve who is the Rebels' primary 3-point threat — tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during an open gym session Tuesday afternoon and will miss the 2010-11 season. A Wednesday morning MRI revealed the injury.

"It's a terrible thing," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "It was just a non-contact thing where he landed awkwardly. It's absolutely disappointing, especially for Kendall, because he's one of our seniors. He'll still be very much a part of (this season), but won't be able to play."

Wallace will undergo surgery to repair the tear once the swelling around the knee goes down, and ACL rehab typically takes about six months. Kruger said he expects Wallace to use his available redshirt year and return to the team for the 2011-12 season.

By employing his ability to quickly release 3-point attempts in bunches, Wallace was the Rebels' fifth-leading scorer (6.9 ppg) during a 2009-10 campaign that ended with a 25-9 record and the program's third NCAA tournament appearance in four years.

Wallace hit a team-best 61 treys and shot 39.9 percent from beyond the arc — a mark which ranked second on the squad.

The Mesa, Ariz., native also was responsible for maybe the greatest individual performance by any Rebel last season, when his 3-point barrage lifted UNLV to a 74-62 win at No. 15 New Mexico on Jan. 9, helping Kruger's club avoid an 0-2 start in conference play. In 23 minutes of run, he scored 21 points off 7-of-10 3-point shooting, including a 6-of-7 showing in the second half.

Moving forward, Kruger and his staff now must find a way to fill Wallace's minutes, as he averaged 19.1 off of the bench as a junior.

The injury to Wallace leaves the Rebels without their two most accurate 3-point marksmen from a year ago. Matt Shaw, who shot 45 percent from long range (27-of-60) as a redshirt junior, was suspended for a year by the NCAA after failing a drug test at the NCAA tourney in Oklahoma City. With his eligibility expiring after this season, it put a premature end to the 6-foot-8 forward's UNLV career.

Three likely candidates to help replace some of Wallace's minutes are sophomores Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins and senior Derrick Jasper.

Jasper is capable of playing and defending four positions on the floor. He put up well-rounded averages (6.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.9 apg) last season, but it's yet to be seen how the 6-foot-6 swingman will respond this year after missing the final 13 games of the 2009-10 campaign with a knee injury of his own.

Marshall, a 6-foot-3 Las Vegas native, emerged late last season as a defensive terror and instant adrenaline boost off of the bench with his ability to make plays above the rim. Where he'll have to step up some is his perimeter shooting, as he was just 1-of-23 from downtown as a freshman.

Hawkins likely has the most to gain of the three, as his minutes dwindled as his freshman season progressed, and he finished the year averaging 12.4 a game. Despite hitting only eight of his 29 3-point attempts last year, he might be the best outside shooter of the bunch and also would give the Rebels another strong ball-handler on the floor.

The wild card could be 6-foot-6 Israeli freshman wing Karam Mashour, who the Rebels signed just days before the start of the fall semester and could develop into a strong under-the-radar get for the UNLV staff.

He's still learning the English language and the American game, having played on the AAU circuit in the states for only a couple of months after moving in with his uncle in Las Vegas seven months ago. When he signed, it seemed apparent that he was a likely redshirt candidate this season, but Kruger said no decisions have been made.

"It's totally up in the air," he said. "We'll go into practices (in October) expecting everyone to play, and make redshirt decisions a few days before the first game (on Nov. 12 against UC-Riverside)."

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  1. ugh ..... wheels falling off? Get well bud.

  2. There goes any threat from 3. This will be good for J-Hawk. Let's hope Marshall finds a shot by Nevember!

  3. maybe it ends up being good for the team in that we won't be chucking up so many treys. We've got to establish some scoring the paint.

  4. I still wish he didn't get injured and hope for a speedy recovery.

  5. Willis arrested, Shaw suspended and Wallace injured. This is going to be a tough year.

  6. This is a big blow to the Rebels, and you feel for a kid like Wallace who played his heart out and never caused trouble. Although the problems with Trevon and Shaw hurt the team through poor choices on their part, Wallace's injury is sad because he seems like a great kid who really was a spark for the Rebels.

    Let's hope he heals up quick and that there's an outside chance for a tourney return! Good luck, Kendall...thanks for the three balls!

  7. Son of a...

  8. This really stinks - he is my FAVORITE REBEL!!!!! Kendall, get well soon.

  9. Sofakingbored - you took the word right outta my mouth!

  10. Big hit shooting wise, get well soon Kendall.

  11. VEgas_is_Crap... If Vegas is crap why do you continue to read our newspaper and pop off at the mouth? Go read the California paper and worry about your wonderful state!

  12. My God...I feel like something has to happen before EVERY season. Get better Kendall. You will be supremely missed this season by many of us fans.

  13. Cause Vegas is crap probably got fired from a job in Vegas or lost money gambling. If you dont like Vegas get off the site.

  14. Don't panic. I hope he comes back for 2011-12. This could open up minute for Karam Mashour in the line up this year. This kind of thing used to happen all the time during the Tark years. Most of the time the guys stepped up and we were even stronger once the injured player came back.

  15. Well its a good thing we have depth at guard! If Mashour is ready then we should use him, but I would rather not rush him if we don't need to. We still have 4 capable bodies that can play the 1 and 2 even if Tre' doesn't end up playing.
    I wonder if the Tre' news and the KW injury would have happened earlier if Joseph would have decided differently....hmmmm

  16. Ouch. You need a threat outside to open up the inside game. J-hawk and Marshall will have to step up.

  17. This is a huge blow. dammit...

  18. Wallace is a good kid, and single handedly beat New Mexico on the road, but I'm glad I won't see the slow footed terrible defense and streaky shooting.

  19. Absolutely a tough blow. This is precisely why you try to stock pile depth. None of our existing players will be able to replace his three point shooting. Kendall is too pure. However I think we all are intrigued to see what kind of a player Justin Hawkins can be. He showed flashes last year and with an expanded role he could flourish. May not have the luxury of bringing Mashour along slowly. Now lets all cross our fingers and hope there is no more drama!

  20. Ryan, ESPN posted an article that said Willis also had a knee injury. Any news on the accuracy of that?

  21. htownreb

    Coach was on 1100 yesterday talking about J-Hawk getting valuable playing time with "Athletic Adventures" (or something like that) this summer. Coach said he even traveled overseas with the team

    Ryan, any chance of a story on that? I am sure you will document the "growth" of the players over the summer anyways, but I, like many here, are getting antsy for the season and would like these stories sooner rather than later.

    Keep up the good work.......

  22. Who cares about the team, the season or the W-L record. What really matters is how much this injury jeapardizes the consecutive three's record. THAT streak cannot be broken. (And yes, my tongue IS in my cheek)

  23. Did he really tear his ACL? I saw him, and most of the men's basketball team, tonight at the UNLV-Wisconsin football game (He actually was sitting one row in front of me) and he didn't seem to be walking funny.

  24. Do NOT redshirt Mashour. He can play today! UNLV is a team of absolute non-shooters. Wallace was the only guy who could stretch the defense. The rest of these guys, (except Willis on a good night) look like they're throwing a frozen turkey into dumpster when they shoot. Mashour can play, so let him play. Anyone counting on Jasper's artificial knees is grasping at straws...beautiful player to watch, too fragile to count on. Marshall has NBA talent but he looks like someone blindfolded him when he shoots. This a roster is void of shooters, so a slasher like Mashour cannot be wasted in street clothes. Let him play.

  25. heetcpa, that made me laugh. I've always thought that consecutive 3's record is the dumbest ever, yet I keep hearing about it. I want Kruger to purposely break it, to eliminate it from the postgame reports.