Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011 | 11 a.m.
Next up on the agenda for Findlay coach Mike Peck and Gorman coach Grant Rice is to locate a venue for a game that will draw more local interest than any other high school game in recent memory.
"UNLV has a home game on the 21st, and we're waiting to see what time that game is," Gorman coach Grant Rice said. "We're hoping that if it's a 1 p.m. game, it'd be a perfect transition into a night game."
On the 21st, UNLV hosts New Mexico at the Thomas & Mack Center. They will likely be the top two teams in the Mountain West Conference preseason poll when it's released in October. The time for that game is still TBA. If it's a day game, Findlay and Gorman would likely tip in the evening, and vice versa. Either way, the coaches ultimately agreed to the date on Tuesday morning.
There's also been talk of ESPN possibly broadcasting the game, as it will likely be one of the most intriguing high school contests in the nation this season. But that now looks like it could be off the table.
The two original target dates for the game were either Jan. 21 or Jan. 28. With the 21st, it creates a high-level basketball double-header for locals, but ESPN at the moment has no time slots available for that day. On the 28th, UNLV is on the road at Air Force, but ESPN had vacancies on its schedule to carry the game.
Instead of worrying about a TV broadcast, all attention now turns to the venue, with both sides taking into consideration the large amount of momentum this rivalry has generated.
"I know we're looking at a bigger venue," Findlay coach Mike Peck said. "Because we think it's going to draw enough to fill it, so that might be the case."
Four potential locations for the game right now are the Orleans Arena, the South Point Arena, the Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center.
Last January's double-overtime thriller was played at the Cox, which can hold up to 3,100 fans. Local interest in the game was so high that people were turned away at the doors up to 30 minutes before tip-off. That game came on the heels of UNLV's 63-62 victory over New Mexico at the Mack earlier in the day, with several fans hanging around in the area so they could attend both.
The 2009 game was held at the Orleans a few hours after UNLV and Kansas State squared off in a Saturday matinee, while the first meeting a year earlier was held at Gorman.
But the need for a bigger venue is justified. Local hype around the game has grown plenty as the years have passed, and it could peak this winter. Also, both programs now have major national profiles.
Not only are both teams dripping with future NCAA Division-I — and possibly even NBA — talent, but UNLV fans who are tuned into the program's strong local recruiting efforts will want to see several Rebel recruiting targets square off in person.
On the Gorman side, UNLV is currently after the senior quartet of scorer extraordinaire Shabazz Muhammad — the nation's consensus No. 1 player in the 2012 class — small forward Rosco Allen, power forward Ben Carter and developing forward Demetris Morant. Also, they'll be keeping tabs for the next several years on incoming freshman big man Stephen Zimmerman, who is already generating plenty of national buzz and has scholarship offers from the likes of UNLV, UCLA, UConn and Kansas.
As for the Pilots, their re-stocked roster includes players from literally all over the world. UNLV already has a commitment from 6-foot-10 junior forward Christian Wood, and is also recruiting junior point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, junior Canadian forward Nick Madray and the senior trio of forward Anthony Bennett, center Matt Willms and swingman Winston Shepard.
Findlay Prep has won all three previous meetings between the schools, but this year's game should be just as hotly-contested as last winter's classic.
"I think considering the fact that we have a senior-oriented team this year, it's a big game for our kids," Rice said. "They've never beaten Findlay. It's a rivalry, but a friendly rivalry. It's not heated. A lot of the kids work out together, some play AAU ball together, and our staffs are really close."
"We've closed the gap some. We're hoping to continue that this year."