REBELS BASKETBALL:

Gorman’s Demetris Morant becomes first 2012 local to commit to UNLV

6-foot-9 forward becomes Dave Rice’s third commit in 2012 class, choosing Rebels over SDSU and others

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Steve Marcus

Demetris Morant (21) of Bishop Gorman High shoots during a game against Sierra Vista High School at Sierra Vista on January 10, 2011.

Demetris Morant Dunk

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Bishop Gorman's Demetris Morant.

UNLV's 2012 recruiting class gained its third member on Monday night, but it received its first dose of local flavor from the loaded senior crop in its own backyard.

Six-foot-9 Bishop Gorman forward Demetris Morant gave first-year coach Dave Rice and his staff a verbal commitment. Morant said his decision ultimately came down to one between UNLV and San Diego State, while he also held scholarship offers from Memphis, Texas A&M, New Mexico, DePaul, Nevada-Reno and several others.

He was set to take a visit to SDSU this weekend, but decided Monday he needed to bring his recruitment to a close.

"I just felt that I was ready," he said. "The biggest thing was the coaching staff. I just get along with them really well and I can see that they'll treat me like family when I get there. Also, I've been hearing about the style of play they'll have, and I think I'll fit in really well within that offense."

The high-flying Morant projects out as a post player within Rice's uptempo system, where his off-the-charts athleticism will be key for him as a rebounder, shot-blocker and finisher in transition. One potential comparison drawing from UNLV history would be George Ackles, who was a key figure in the paint for the Rebels in their glory years during the late 1980s and early '90s.

He'll be looked at technically as a local recruit, but Morant was not born and raised in the Las Vegas Valley. He grew up in Miami, then moved to Arizona for his sophomore year of high school. He moved in with family in Las Vegas before last season, then averaged eight points, five rebounds and three blocks per game as a reserve for the Gaels.

Morant's untapped potential has helped him move up on the radars of several scouting services. Rivals.com has him ranked as the No. 150 overall prospect in the 2012 senior crop.

His outstanding leaping ability was also on display last spring when he placed fourth in the state in the high jump despite his basketball schedule taking away from his practice time on the track. He'll again likely compete in the high jump, long jump and triple jump once Gorman's hoops season comes to a close.

Morant will likely have a more expanded role for the Gaels this season and could squeeze himself into Grant Rice's starting lineup at center.

"He's going to really turn a lot of heads this year," the Gorman coach said. "The way (UNLV) plays, I really think he could play the four or the five, but I don't think you have to put a position on it. The way they'll play with the uptempo style and the running and the way they play on defense, he's going to really compete with his athleticism.

"People haven't seen what this kid can really do."

Morant said that a major focus for him this season will be continuing to develop his raw offensive game as much as possible. However, he said he won't make it a priority to try to sway the impending college decisions of his three high-profile senior teammates — Shabazz Muhammad, Rosco Allen and Ben Carter.

"That's up to them," he said.

All indications point to Muhammad and fellow UNLV targets Anthony Bennett and Winston Shepard from Findlay Prep waiting until the spring signing period to make their decisions.

Morant's commitment gives UNLV the developmental big man prospect it hoped to land in this class to go along with the two previous verbals from Baltimore point guard Daquan Cook and California combo guard Katin Reinhardt.

UNLV has two open scholarships remaining for its 2012 class, and expect the spotlight to now turn to Allen. His father, Daniel Allen, told the Sun on Sunday night that after taking an official visit to Stanford beginning Tuesday afternoon, they'll take an official trip to UNLV next Wednesday and Thursday, followed by an in-home visit with Rice and his staff next Friday night.

For more UNLV recruiting updates as they develop, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.

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  1. i hope he can get the necessary scores on his SAT's

  2. Ok we got our center, point guard and shooting guard. Now just need a small & power forward for our own fab five. Did you hear that Rosco and Shabazz???? Runnin Rebels!

  3. This city has been loaded with great talent for a while. Now we're starting to get some of it. Great job to the coaching staff and congrats to Morant for becoming a part of the Rebel family!

  4. Awesome get by the coaching staff. When you run you need a big man to control boards and run like the wind, something he won't have any trouble doing. Welcome to the Rebels Meech

  5. I think these players know if they don't commit early, there won't be a scholarship for them later, which is very positive. If Allen commits, will we hold the last spot for Shabazz no matter what?

  6. This recruiting class is shaping up to be amazing. Rice and staff are really hitting the recruiting trail. A couple more guys and the sky's the limit. Rebels!

  7. Morant's commit just gave UNLV a top 25 recruiting class for 2012 (espn). With 2 more scholarships the only place to go is up! :)

  8. patticus,

    I don't think you necessarily 'hold' a spot for potentially Shabazz. If you already have five commits come spring and he still wants to come, you find a way to make it work. There are several If not, your behind is already covered with a full class.

  9. Ryan, with all the interest UNLV is getting for 2012, has there been any talk about asking any of the current players to potentially relinquish their scholarships?

  10. None at this point, and I'm not sure there will be, either.

  11. Those who can not adjust to the new uptempo style may head for the door themself.

  12. Great to hear and see! I was one of the ones saying that Kruger couldn't recruit. Finally, we are getting some talented players not just retreads ;)

    Great job by Rice and staff!

    Robb

  13. Great news!! Combine these guys that Rice and co. are bringing in with the veterans that will be on the team and things are looking very bright for the Rebs.

  14. I was a little concerned about Rice's ability to recruit which is why I was definitely leaning towards Theus. Right now I am thrilled to see the job that Coach and the staff are doing. Not only are we starting to get some better talent we are now in the mix for some really special players that can help us be a top 25 teams year in and year out. Runnin' Rebels!

  15. Is it me, or does Demetris look a little like Manute Bol? Keep in mind, I mean that in a positive light. Now that we know Rice and Co. can recruit, let's see how well they do where it really matters, "on the floor". Critics had a field day with Kruger's recruiting transfers and all, however (for the most part), no one could get on him for his on the court coaching prowess. Let's see Coach Rice display some of those lessons he learned at UNLV and BYU.

  16. This is a great commitment and is reminscent of Jerry Tarkanian's phylosophy...recruit athletes. You can teach basketball but you can't teach athleticism. Welcome to the UNLV family, Demetris. Good luck with your senior year.

  17. Morant's athleticism is right on time. Rice is killing it with these recruits. I expect Allen to commit as well & wont be shocked when he does (simply speaking off of gut instincts). Right now the excitement that is coming from UNLV hoops is contagious and is a draw in itself. If Rice can land Allen I think it greatly increases our chance of getting Shabazz.

    This current group of Gorman players could write their own UNLV story in the history books and leave behind a legacy of greatness. I hope Shabazz, Allen, & Carter consider this possibility.

    Personally I believe that we will see Shabazz commit somewhere during the middle of the season. He might be waiting to see the styles of play for his final 5. UNLV will be somewhere in the mix I promise you.

  18. I would love to see the 4 gorman stars go to UNLV. 5 if you count Big Ron Stanley. The test will be this coming high school season. Gorman has the toughest schedule in the country. A preseason top ten ranking and a date with the Finley Prep. In january. Its going to be jumpin on south Hualapai.

  19. I don't understand why this kid's commitment has anyone excited...he was a RESERVE last year!! In Ryan Greene's own words...

    "Morant will likely have a more expanded role for the Gaels this season and could squeeze himself into Grant Rice's starting lineup at center."

    The key words here are that he "could squeeze himself into Grant Rice's starting lineup at center.".....seriously?! We're excited about a high school player who isn't even a bonafide starter?!

    In my opinion, we've wasted a scholarship. I'd rather have a real starter....

    If he's not even a starter in high school, why are we wasting a scholarship on him? Because he has potential? Every kid out of high school has "potential"....

    Ridiculous.

  20. Welcome to the Rebel Family Morant. Well deserved. Two more spots to help us hang our 5th final four banner. Wait too long, and you won't get a chance. And for all the talent and hype that Kentucky gets how many banners has Calipari hung (that weren't later taken away). Basketball is going to be unbelievably fun here at UNLV!!!

  21. Sinatra....he's a backup for one of the top 10 teams in the country the 3 big guys ahead of him are all top 100 recruits. In most cases you'd have a point but not in this case

  22. @ Sinatra711 - to be honest I kinda thought the same thing BUT not sure D. Rice would have pulled the trigger if he didn't have some "insider" information about this kid. He may turn out to be a solid role player @ the 4 if he's surrounded by some scorers. It is weird though, a top 150 player and he's not starting?

    I bleed Rebel hoops just like you guys and I know the local talent is stacked but Shabazz isn't coming here and a few others are probably gonna bolt to UNC, Stanford, etc. I think it's a good pick up.

    Go Rebs!

  23. @sinatra and jcom: people close to the Gorman program have said that, except for Bazz, Morant has the most potential of anyone on the team. He's only been playing ball for a few years. He will develop at UNLV. When he does, he will fit the new running style very well.

    It's okay to take players that don't have 4 and 5 stars next to their names. It's not like UNLV was his only offer. Texas A&M, Memphis, San Diego State, and Florida State were also willing to "waste" a scholarship on him.

    Welcome to the Runnin' Rebel family Meech. We can't wait to see you throwing down dunks and blocking shots all over Tarkanian Court.

  24. thank the good lord Sinatra isn't the Running Rebels head coach. People are excited because he's a TOP 150 player. Why are you even complaining about other people's excitement levels? Want some cheese with that wine?

  25. I am very excited about Meech, I hope he has as much potential as people are saying! And he hasn't been playing long? Oh boy!!!! With his senior season and maybe a red shirt season (MAYBE) he will be more than good to go. Like khokhol said you can teach basketball but you can't teach athleticism, and he is plenty athletic! GO REBELS!!!!