REBELS BASKETBALL:

Following UNLV win, Rebels gain commitment from Marquette transfer Reggie Smith

Harvey, Ill., native chooses UNLV over Nebraska, Arkansas, North Carolina State and Florida State

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Former Marquette freshman guard Reggie Smith watches UNLV warm up before their game against TCU Saturday, January 7, 2011 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Updated Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 | 10 p.m.

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Marquette transfer Reggie Smith

The Rebel Room

TCU POSTGAME: Recruiting news, big win and bigger game on the horizon

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer break down the UNLV basketball team's big victory against TCU and look ahead to the Rebels' showdown next week at No. 6 San Diego State. Plus, a look at the newest Rebel - Marquette transfer Reggie Smith.

Reggie Smith already had a good idea that he'd fit in just fine at UNLV, but after watching the Rebels pick apart TCU on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in 83-49 fashion, he was officially sold.

The Marquette transfer, who began looking for a new home just after Christmas, committed to the UNLV staff before leaving the arena, and will be on campus a week from Tuesday in time for the start of the spring semester.

The Harvey, Ill., native will be eligible at the conclusion of the fall 2011 semester as a redshirt freshman and will have 2.5 years of eligibility remaining.

Smith had also considered Nebraska, Arkansas, North Carolina State and Florida State, but his only official visit was this weekend's trip to Las Vegas.

"Just seeing them play, I'd never really seen them," Smith told the Sun. "I've watched a couple of their games but was never really paying attention. Seeing it up close really got me. They run, they pressure the ball full-court. That's what I was pretty used to coming from Marquette. We were pretty disciplined about that.

"It felt like high school again, just trying to figure out where I was going to go. I got the same relief after choosing this time. Now I can relax, go to school and have fun."

Before the game, Smith said that he had a good feeling from the visit, which was going better than even he anticipated. He added that he intended to make a decision "by Sunday night, if not sooner."

After being with the team during pre-game activities, Smith sat 10 rows off of the floor across from the UNLV bench with Mike Moser, who transferred in from UCLA following last season and will be eligible at the start of the 2011-12 season as a sophomore.

Smith saw the Rebels play the way they had earlier in the season during their hot start, creating offense with defense and scoring at will in transition, which more than appealed to the 6-foot, 170-pounder.

He comes in with a reputation of being a top-level athlete who can change a game on the defensive end but is still progressing as an all-around offensive threat. Still, his outstanding athleticism makes him a dangerous slasher already.

As a senior at Thornton Township (Ill.) High, Smith averaged 18.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game, shooting 47 percent from the floor. He was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 29 point guard in the 2010 senior class and the No. 112 overall prospect.

The coaching staff was sold on Smith's demeanor and personality after getting a chance to spend time with him over the first 24 hours of his visit and likes the fact that he brings the toughness and explosiveness typically found in players from Chicago to a team comprised mostly of West Coast talent. His addition will also give UNLV a spot to start from when trying to recruit the Chicago area, which it's attempted to do more aggressively in recent years.

Smith's AAU coach, Mike Irvin, told the Sun earlier this week that he was pushing Smith to take a hard look at heading to UNLV, as he thought it'd do him some good in terms of getting away from the distractions and potential pitfalls of playing near home. Irvin said he reminded Smith of the success the last prospect his program sent out west had — former Gonzaga standout guard Jeremy Pargo, who is currently starring professionally overseas.

"I really thought about it," Smith said. "There wasn't anything to do at home. Where I'm from, there's a lot of trouble.

"My family — my mom, especially — wanted me to get out of there, get away from home and be a man, thinking that would help me in the long run."

Irvin pointed out that he thought even being at Marquette, less than two hours north of Chicago in Milwaukee, Wisc., was too close for Smith. Still, Smith showed some promise with the Golden Eagles.

In eight games for coach Buzz Williams, he started five, averaging 1.4 points, 1.6 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 9.9 minutes an outing. However, after a Dec. 11 home loss to Wisconsin, he fell ill. It turned out to be his last appearance for Marquette, as he announced his intent to transfer on Dec. 27.

Landing Smith ends the search for a young point guard prospect by Lon Kruger and his staff. He'll likely be groomed to vie for minutes at the point in a reserve role once eligible next season, then possibly as a starter in 2012-13 after the Rebels lose current junior Oscar Bellfield to graduation.

Smith joins a 2011 class that already includes Moser along with 6-foot-6 Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep forward Grandy Glaze.

He added that the weather in Las Vegas is a nice bonus and is glad to be getting away from the harsh winters in the Midwest.

The playing style, though, was ultimately the draw. Seeing it up close sealed the deal.

"I believe they're really a tough, great defensive team," he said. "I could bring that to the team as well, and it'll only make us stronger."

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  1. Welcome Reggie.

  2. Too bad kruger gets a three star scrub instead of a four star proven guy

  3. Justice, I think it's been proven time and time again that the 'stars' don't mean much. Kid seems like a very strong prospect.

  4. Exactly, Ryan.

    Though, that's a generous six feet. He looked like Tajuan Porter standing next to Mike Moser!

  5. Yeah, I couldn't exactly tell, but his build I think is what is most impressive. Looks like a football player. Interested to see him mix in with this group on the scout team at practice starting next week. I've gotten different reviews from different people who have seen him play plenty, but the one consistent response I've gotten is that he's an incredible athlete who can change a game defensively.

  6. Ryan,
    The next game vs. SDSU, as listed above says TV Coverage will be on "CBS, Cox ch. 8, HD 708"

    Is this the Real CBS? As in channel 8? Not some bunk CBS-C crap? Is it a national Broadcast, or just local?

  7. It's on CBS-C, we'll get that fixed. Sorry to mislead ya.

  8. From ESPN

    June, 2009: Smith is a strong and physical guard that can get to the rim at will. He can dribble through contact and finish in traffic. He is a work in progress at the point because he learning how to run a team and get others involved. He has a nice mid range pull up with good elevation. He pushes the ball and at this stage of his game is much more comfortable playing fast but must learn how to slow down and execute. He seems to just go with the flow at times instead of controlling the game from the point. He is a physical defender that can stay in from of dribble penetration by putting his chest on the offensive player. Smith must work to be a better three point shooter although his can make a few when he is in rhythm. Smith has talent, good upside and is one to watch as he develops into a true point guard.

    June, 2008: Reggie is a super athletic combo guard. He can literally touch the rim with his elbow. He is a decent scorer but is very effective in transition. He is more athlete than basketball player at this point. He is a good slasher offensively. He has range to 17 feet but is very streaky. He can be a good defender with his strength and athletic ability.

    Notes
    Wingspan: 76"...

  9. He can jump out of the gym at 6'0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGQCLxVen...

  10. Got to love Lobo69. Pops his head in and runs his mouth the same day his team lost to 7-8 (now 8-8 with the win) Wyoming. Nice job Alford. I'm going to quote a text from a friend on this one......"Wonder if Alford hung himself with his red jacket after that one."

  11. hey Justin/lobo....too bad your 4-star transfer stud only helped you lose to the worst team in the conference last night...one of the worst in the country! Kudos though on getting the "studs"...lol

  12. awesome link LVBAR

  13. Hopefully reggie can come in and mix it up with the guys in practice right away and build some chemistry. I also like the idea of the staff dipping into the chicago area for future recruits as well. Adding that kind of toughness to the team only means bad news for the rest of the mwc. Go rebs

  14. Welcome to to the UNLV Rebels Reggie!

  15. Not overly thrilled with this signing. It would be nice to make some in roads in the Chicago area but that is easier said then done. Besides Illinois and DePaul so many national programs are always in there mining for talent.

    As for Reggie Smith. Athletic and seems like he could be a very good defender. Conversely, his offensive game (in particular shooting) and ability to run an offense are quite questionable at this point.

  16. Hey Ryan.
    Did Kruger ever play his second free throw game? He went 25/25 in the first round. Any chance we can sub him in down the stretch.

  17. Kruger lost in the second round to Tubby Smith after beating the head coach from Davidson in round 1. Lon and Tubby both hit their first 24 shots, then Kruger missed his last shot and Tubby drilled it. Still a good showing. Too bad we can't sub Kruger in to shoot freethrows in the clutch.

  18. Kruger was an awesome point guard and his son wasn't too shabby either. If Kruger likes this kid I'm not worried. Welcome, Reggie.

  19. Beware of this kids posse, especially his step dad. They will demand extra tickets and playing time. This kid's step father demanded Reggie Smith start and play 30+ minutes a game in the Big East. Imagine!

  20. This is another good signing for UNLV, and an indication that UNLV basketball recruiting is turning a corner. Welcome to the Scarlet and Grey, Reggie. Looking forward to seeing you debut during conference play next season.
    From what I've read and seen on youtube, kid looks like Anthony Marshall 2. As far as I'm concerned, more Anthony Marshalls is a VERY good thing.

  21. By the way, BMSmeller, he can demand all he wants, but this is his last chance at Div 1 basketball, so I think his "posse" will be less of a problem/influence here.

  22. Let's hope he actually ends up with a degree because the kid doesn't show much that the pros want. That may break the heart of the step dad who wants a meal ticket. Marquette wasn't going to just hand him a degree like UNLV did on a regular basis (or allow the kid to attend basket weaving or contemporary music classes) when Tarkanian ran the show.

  23. Let's not talk about all of the money brought in and the checks UNLV Basketball was writing for the university back "when Tarkanian ran the show."

  24. This kid started in the Big East as a freshman, so he obviously has talent. With our offense, it would be nice to get some more shooters on the roster. However, if they spread the floor and attack the rim like the other night, who needs to shoot well?

  25. It would be nice to get more shooters, but... if we run our offense the way I think we'd all like to see it run, this kid could be fantastic. We're at our best when we are slashing to the basket and either finishing or kicking out to the open man for a jumper. If Reggie improves upon his distribution skills, which I can't imagine he won't improve playing under Kruger, than he has a ton of potential. Because of his athleticism, and the fact they he plays great defense, I think this was a very low-risk, high-reward signing. If he doesn't improve as a PG, we still end up with a shutdown defensive guy a la Justin Hawkins, and he seems to be working out well this year.

  26. This kid is super athletic, I cant wait to see im play for UNLV!!!!

  27. when was the last time we had a point guard that can dunk?

  28. Sofa - you got to be the coolest! Excellent respnse!