PREP BASKETBALL:

Gorman’s Ben Carter chooses Oregon over UNLV and Utah

6-foot-8 power forward chooses spot where early playing time will be within reach

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Sam Morris

UNLV recruit Ben Carter watches the Rebels practice at the Thomas & Mack Center during his official visit to campus Thursday, October 20, 2011.

The Pac-12 basketball scene got its second major dose of incoming Las Vegas flavor in a week on Monday morning.

Seven days after Bishop Gorman teammate Rosco Allen ended his lengthy recruitment by committing to Stanford, 6-foot-8 Gaels senior power forward Ben Carter chose Oregon over UNLV and Utah.

Carter took his final official visit to UNLV a couple of weeks back and was expected to make a decision not long after. He took a couple of weeks to mull things over and, in the meantime, was seen at a couple of Rebels practices and also their exhibition opener last Tuesday against Washburn.

In the end, he chose a spot where he'll be able to likely play major minutes from Day 1, as Oregon graduates three of its big men after this season. Carter will also get a chance to run alongside former Gorman teammate and close friend Johnathan Loyd, who is entering his sophomore season at point guard for the Ducks.

Rivals.com ranks Carter as the No. 129 overall prospect in the 2012 senior class, and not landing him stings a bit for Rice, personally, as he was one of the first Division-I coaches to begin recruiting Carter, doing so before he'd ever played a minute of varsity ball for the Gaels.

The lone member of Gorman's four-headed stellar senior recruiting class still uncommitted is 6-foot-6 wing Shabazz Muhammad, who is the unanimous No. 1 overall prospect in the nation. He likely won't decide on a school until the spring, and is considering — among others — UNLV, UCLA, Kentucky and Duke.

Moving forward, he will remain UNLV's top recruiting target in efforts to round out the 2012 class, which already includes Gorman forward Demetris Morant, Baltimore point guard Daquan Cook and California combo guard Katin Reinhardt. Many thought that the strong relationship that Carter and Reinhardt had built of late would help lead to Carter becoming a Rebel. Instead, UNLV, at the moment, still has two vacant scholarships to award in the class with the fall signing period starting on Wednesday.

Other local targets still commanding UNLV's attention for those spots include the Findlay Prep trio of Anthony Bennett, Matt Willms and Winston Shepard. Bennett and Shepard, like Muhammad, are not likely to decide and sign until the spring.

Rice and his staff are also tracking a handful of junior college prospects who could come in and play immediately next season.

yan Greene can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7844. Follow Ryan on Twitter at twitter.com/ryanmgreene.

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  1. What can we learn from all of this? Don't trust R Greene's instincts. He had both Allen and Carter suiting up for the Rebs (still appreciate all the updates, though).

    Good luck, Ben. Here's hoping the respective success levels of UNLV/Oregon make you have some second thoughts down the line. Aesthetically, it's tough for Maryland Parkway to compete with Eugene. And then add in some Uncle Phil support on top of that. I get it.

  2. For some reason I am much more disappointed he is not a Rebel than I was with Allen. Was really looking forward to watching him here for four years.

  3. Looks like Rice is doing a great job of keeping the local recruits in state. Let's be seriouis, UNLV is not going to land Muhammad or any of the Findlay Prep kids. The best potential recruits to ever come out of Vegas don't even want to play for a second rate UNLV team in a second rate conference. They'd rather go play for bad teams in BCS conferences then stay around in Vegas and only have their games aired on the MTN. Looks like UNLV is going to be stuck with the Lon Kruger style of recruiting from the last few years. Big program cast offs and JuCo transfers. GO REBELS!

  4. disappointing.. thought this was a lock

  5. Lon Kruger style of recruiting? You mean like Christian Wood (96)? or Katin Reinhardt (94)? I'm glad we didn't get Carter anyway. Now he's a Lon Kruger style of recruit to me. I'm sure he's a great young man in many aspects but why would we want to clutter up our recruiting class with guys in the 2-3 star range anyway? Besides, and I don't care what anyone says about our chances of getting Bazz or Bennett, these last few signings that have gone elsewhere have cleared the way for those two to sign eventually. Dreaming? Maybe, but it's better than hoping for lower tiered recruits to keep the NCAA tourney one and done status quo.

  6. I suppose Carter also chose the Oregon Ducks over National Champion UConn, over top academic facilities like Harvard, and over universities (such as Duke) that seem to have both basketball and great scholars.

    All kids seem to want to "leave town after high school," but Carter is staying in the West.

  7. Good for Ben. I cant blame him, if your going to be at the same school for 4 years you might as well go to a place where playing time is available and the chance to get out of Vegas is big. Not on knock on him or Allen but i just wanst that enthralled by them. I wasnt with Willms either until i saw him recently. Lock him up and save the last scholarship for the homerun, hit or miss 2012 looks bright.

  8. FastCam, I was thinking the same thing. I'd much rather have Bennet, Wilms, or Mohammed. Getting Carter or Allen, would have almost surely eliminated Shabazz from the mix.

  9. Of all the Gorman and Findlay prospects Carter always seemed to me the one who would most likely commit to UNLV so this is a bit surprising to me.

    If the staff can't land Shabazz, Bennett and/or Shepard (which I don't think is likely), a top JC player (and some of the top ones are already off the board) or some unknown talented prospect save the two scholarships for next season.

  10. Congratulations to Ben and his family in seeing their hard work pay off. I will enjoy watching Oregon basketball with 2 local players on the floor.
    Now if only they could do something about that ugly basketball court...

  11. Except for Morant, Reinhardt, Marshall, Adams, Thomas, Jasper, Stanbeck, Jones, and all the other players that came to UNLV after being recruited by or actually went to other schools. They should have IQ tests for commenting.

  12. Average player for an Average team, just like Loyd.

  13. Oregon is good choice for Carter - You can't blame a kid for wanting to get a fresh in a new town. OU is putting together a decent program. I think we've got some good talent now and coming in, let's not get down about losing Ben.

    Agreed, it will be a stretch to get Shabazz but he's a one and done wherever he goes (in my opinion). Really think we shold focus efforts on a big man.

    @ rookiescribe..... Love the "Uncle Phil" comment - I'm an Oregonian and I respect the OU program but Phil is super slimy.

  14. Legit shotblocker. Is all that stands between Rebs n a final four run... Maybe a blue collar hustler also. It's simple really to look at the formula of other successful teams... Please land a legit shotblocker!! The rest of team is nice.... Preferably one with a nasty attitude too. :)

  15. Extremely disappointed. Wilms over Carter? Carter had 22 and 10 in the best of vegas shootout, Wilms a couple of rebounds and a couple of points. It is also funny whenever we lose a recuit it's because there is someone we might get who is better. Yeah, land them or shut up!

    Any of you who don't follow AAU basketball note this. Against Findlay prep last year carter was the best player on the floor for Gorman. Againts top 10 rated recruit isaih Austin in the spring, Ben had 28 and 10 rebounds?

    Ben Carter is the real deal and if you think Lopez, Massamba, Wilms are better, you don't know basketball. We signed some 2 star Cook out of baltimore because of Shroyer and lost out on ben. They slighted Ben when they both went to the campus and dave offered Rosco a scholarship and asked ben to apply for a Millenium.

    This recruiting class with the exception of Rheinhardt, who will be one of the greatest Rebels ever is mediocre. Bazz loved Kentucky, is going to visit Duke, and in the end will probably play for UCLA. bennett will go to UCONN and will end up with some JUCO that couldn't qualify out of HS.

    Also heard Wilms and Woods both have academic issues and might not qualify. This staff because of the diverse backgrounds and th recruiting by committee lost on some great local talent. I would trade all of them for Morant, carter, and Allen. I am not saying dave won't work it out, but i think there have been many mistakes recruiting. They will learn. Let's hope they don't screw up the Zimmerman recruitment.

  16. Congrats to Ben. I really hoped he would have chosen UNLV, but I wish him luck at Oregon. I still think Rice and Co. are doing a good job in recruiting. There's only so much you can tell a potential recruit and offer them. I think recruitment is probably one of the more difficult aspects of the coaching game. Also, I have no problems with Juco transfers, and neither should any other UNLV fan. They helped shape the program, and they usually end up being some of the hardest, most dedicated players programs have because they understand they are getting a big shot. (Larry Johnson, JR Rider, Joel Anthony, Keon Clark, Armen Gilliam, etc)

  17. I love the Rebels and I live in Seattle the facts are the facilities at UNLV are sub standard. UNLV will continue to lose out on the Carters and Allens as well as any other local talent until things improve. Coach Rice will get it done in Vegas soon but until the Vegas community gets it's own Phil Knight UNLV will never be bigtime! UNLV will never be Boise State in football until the facilities get better! Kids now are looking for that on recruiting visits..UNLV needs to give local talent a reason to stay home besides the good old glory days that only their parents can remember! GO REBELS!

  18. unlvfan-in-seattle,

    UNLV's basketball facilities aren't sub standard. The Thomas & Mack is one of the best bbal stadiums in the country. The Rebs also have the Cox Pavilion and are almost finished building the Mendenhall Center which is a new state of the art practice facility that rivals any other big time program int he country. UNLV's football facilities would be considered sub standard by most but the bball facilities are close to the best in the country.

    The reason the Rebels aren't able to recruit top tier talent anymore is because they aren't in a BCS conference and are stuck in the Mountain West, which is quickly falling apart and struggling to survive. UNLV is considered a mid-major program now with a small fan base, alumni, and TV market that can help draw those recruits. When other coaches from BCS conference come along they can brag about the amount of TV exposure kids will get coming to their schools. Meanwhile, UNLV stuck playing on the west coast and stuck playing on a second rate ESPN (VERSUS), the MTN (which nobody outside the Mountain West Conference watches), and CBS Sports TV (which is stuck all the way down in the 600s on cable or satellite where nobody turns to). Other coaches can also brag about their fan bases, classic rivalries,preseason tournaments, and NBA connections. UNLV doesn't really have that anymore. Any high school kid playing right now knows little about the 80-90s UNLV squads. They didn't grow up watching LJ, Augmon, Gilliam, Basenight, etc....

  19. One got away from Coach Rice and that's too bad

  20. @ scribe. Don't forget he told us it was a lock that Lon was staying here and not leaving. He said anyone who thought otherwise was flat out wrong. I appreciate the updates, but unless you know for sure don't stick your neck out there. I am just saying.

    But yea, thanks for all the news and updates they do keep us informed.

  21. MJ,

    Look at whatever Top 25-50 poll you choose and tell me how many non BCS teams you see by your theory. It's a good thing the presidents at Xavier, Gonzaga, Butler and VCU do not go by your way of thinking.

    If your program is good it does not matter if you are in a BCS conference when it comes to hoops.

  22. I don't understand these kids. Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with the "Vegas sucks" attitude these local kids hear everyday from the time they can walk. A little pride in the community and of the university (not just the basketball program) goes a long way.

  23. The disaster that is the Mtn. West is probably the most likely culprit here. The fact that young players want to be seen on television automatically precludes them from going to the Mtn. West. Additionally, after this year, what teams are left in the division? Five or six schools? I saw a story that San Diego State is now trying to leave. UNLV needs to get out of the Mtn. West as soon as possible. Being an independent would be far better for UNLV than being the in the Mtn. West, especially in basketball. Now is the time to do this before our great players decide to transfer out from UNLV. Don't think the events of the past few weeks won't impact the existing basketball roster. They have already impacted the recruiting!

  24. unlvfan-in-seattle,
    You argue that UNLV can't recruit because of their facilities. UNLV has top notch facilities to rival any team in the country especially with the addition of the Mendehall Center. They can't recruit well because they aren't a big name anymore and are stuck in a conference that everyone is leaving for BCS conferences. UNLV is a good team but they have only made it to the second weekend of the tournament once in the last 5 years. Butler has done it twice in the last two years but I doubt they will be able to do it consitently over the long run against big time schools. And VCU had one good year so I wouldn't quite say they've had a consistent track record. I just checked out the AP and Coaches poll and all but two of the teams in the top 25 are from BCS conferences. Tell me how many non BCS schools have won the national championship in the last 30 years outside of UNLV in 1990? No team from a non-BCS school has won the national championship in the last 40 years besides UNLV in 1990 and that's because Tark was taking chances on kids that nobody else wanted but knew how to ball. Only three non BCS schools have even made the final four in the last 10 years. VCU had one good year so lets not jump the gun on them. Butler has had two good years and Gonzaga is overrated every year. Go check out ESPN's 2012 recruiting class and you'll see that only two teams are from non BCS conferences. In fact go back and look at the past 5 ESPN top 25 recruiting classes and outside of Memphis all of the teams are from BCS conferences.

  25. When is Matt Willms gonna commit?

  26. MJ,

    I never said that VCU was a power every year I merely stated that they were an example of not being in a BCS conference but yet did well in hoops.

    The fans of those schools could probably care less about winning it all in return for being a consistent winner! I know from living here that is the case for Gonzaga for now.

    But I don't think that is the case for Washington the heat is on for Romar to make it the final four soon. A BCS school I might add MJ.

    As for your opinion that GU is overrated I'd rather be overrated that not rated at all!

    Your point about winning the national championship is off the point your point of being good on a consistent winner makes since that's what I'm saying Gonzaga, Xavier etc are good on a regular basis. Which all schools inspire to be with one year hoping to make it to the final four.

    As for your point on top recruiting classes how many of those will even stay for 4 years not many so give me a kid that will stay for 4 over 1 or 2 anytime. This is why non BCS schools can win because they have juiors and seniors.

    My point will be seen when UNLV losses to Wichita State and UC Santa Barbara this year! Non BCS Schools MJ.

  27. Remember all that hype with Elijah Johnson? He is averaging 3 points a game and just got suspended. Glad the rebels got Marshall instead!

  28. Bring back Rob Miech!

  29. Rice was supposed to be dialed in to the Gorman pipeline...so much for that. It's a joke...we're not going to get Shabazz and we're going to field a mediocre team once again. We have no chance at landing any big-time recruits.

  30. UNLV lost out to Stanford, Oregon and Washington State on potential recruits that's not exactly Duke, North Carolina and UCONN.

    Last I checked Oregon, Stanford and Wash State aren't on ESPN every night although their TV package is much better than Versus..

    All Coach Rice and his staff can do is keep working hard recruiting isn't an exact science!

  31. "Bring back Rob Miech!"

    +10

  32. Maybe the Pac-12 will expand to 16 teams and invite the Rebels. The Rebels need to leave the Mountain West and go to a conference where they will be shown on ESPN.

  33. @ Karl, Gonzaga wasn't always good, and UNLV was on the map consistently for many years. The past few years, we have had great teams, and been ranked in the top 25 sporadically which you can't say for the majority of the 300+ D1 teams out there.

    UNLV and everyone else in the MWC has a raw TV deal, but they have quality facilities to attract players including the town, and as long as the games are televised, I can also watch the games up here in Seattle.

  34. They may not seem related but in this day & age this is the bottom line: If we dont build the proposed football stadium.... 1)we will never be attracted enough for any power conf. 2) we will never be BCS eligble. 3) thus, we will never be invited to join a conf that has the sweet TV deal with national exposure 4) So whatever major sport we are talking about.....when all else is equal... we will continue to have a recruiting disadvantage because of our lack of exposure in hoops & facilities in football. That is just the way it is and has been for a while now. Smatresk & Livengood know this and are trying to drag us into the future but some people still prefer Podunk U. Until we help them win that battle...we shouldnt expect much to change or for all our best home grown talent to stay home. End of story.

  35. These recruits were important to the program, but it's not the end of the world. Lon has been giving us consistent teams not from recruits, but from transfers. It would be nice to land these guys, but until they prove them selves on a college court under the big lights we really won't know.

    Landing Shabazz is a big, and I MEAN BIG if. But, if he is gonna be a number one recruit and be a one n' done player, then maybe a chance to be king of his home town for a year, build up the UNLV name, and get us to the promise land in the NCAAs, may be his calling. I am of course in a dream state in this, but you know he will be a No. 1 lottery pick, no matter what team he plays for. Honestly, I think he's thinkin' Kentucky, just a hunch but out of any of those schools they seem to recruit the best, and Duke doesn't seem like the right fit.

    Rice will get his roots here and we will be better. Lets just try to make a name for ourselves this season and the players will follow.

  36. There is a lot of talk that the Thomas and Mack is substandard. Regardless of what people think, the upkeep of the building isn't paid for by the unversity. The people behind the National Finals Rodeo pays for all the upkeep and maintenance involved in running the facility. I personally don't think Thomas and Mack is substandard or that the facilities are any less than most Pac 12 schools, except Oregon's. But even if they were where would the business sense be for the university to build a new facility for basketball that they would have to come up with the money to support.
    The "Vegas Sucks" mentality is in pretty much every kid wherever they grow up. It is generational. I live near LA. My son has the "LA Sucks" mentality and wants to leave here to go to school in Phoenix or Las Vegas for college. It is a battle, but the program needs to show the kids that staying home is valuable and that UNLV will invest in and appreciate them more because they are hometown kids.
    The bottom line is that the Mountain West is a god awful conference. UNLV moving football to Conference USA is actually a good move. There will be more exposure. But the basketball team needs to get themselves into a major conference. The Big 12 is hurting for partners. UNLV basketball would be a great fit in that conference. There are a number of quality programs that get national exposure like Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. It would seem like a no brainer. I became a Runnin Rebel fan as a high school kid growing up in Seattle. When the program was at its highest Rebel basketball was a national product. Want those kids to stay home. Get them into a good conference where they get some TV time.

  37. The three biggest things to a recruit are playing time, style of play and tv time. Oregon beat us out in all of those. We get a better TV deal and we start getting better recruits. I over heard a recruit and his dad at a game recently asking someone when the first rebel game was televised, so it matters

  38. 1944 Canucks,

    Good points I agree with you. You would be suprised of the number of kids in college and the NBA who take pride in coming back to Seattle. Nate Robinson, Jamal Crawford, Spencer Hawes and Brandon Roy to name a few. The kids from this city take pride in being from here and supporting UW. Crawford who went to Michigan talks all the time about wishing he had gone to UW. The staff there treats him as if he did.

    I wish the kids from Vegas could take on the type of attitude just think how good UNLV would be if they did!

    The facts are Coach Rice may have to get it done is California to build a solid program..

  39. A lot of negative comments out there, usually are as blogs allow for venting. However the program under Rice is moving forward in the right direction. 1)the coaching staff is legit with Stacey and Justin 2) Facilities are being upgraded ie.Mendenhall Center 3)Recruiting is better one year in we landed some raw talent Morant and the biggest get is Reinhardt out of Mater Dei in SoCal you don't realize how significant that is and the cupboards is not empty Jones and Smith waiting in the wings.
    Winning will take care of a lot of things and opportunities will come up in the near future for the Rebels and UNLV as a whole. We are still a very young University a lot of these programs have a 50 - 100 year head start on us. We have the right AD looking out for the school's best interest. UNLV and SDSU only pacific time zone teams to play in the MWC with Fresno and Reno coming on board next year.
    A lot of moving parts call me crazy but I believe the best is yet to come!