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Reinhardt, Bennett provide theatrics in wild night of hoops at Bishop Gorman

2012 UNLV commit plays to Rebel-heavy crowd while several others shine in late-season AAU event

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Sam Morris

Best of Vegas player and UNLV commit Katin Reinhardt dishes off a pass against Findlay Prep during their game at the Fullcourt Press Las Vegas Fall Showcase Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, at Bishop Gorman High School. Findlay won the game 81-80.

Fullcourt Press Showcase

Findlay Prep's Anthony Bennett leaps to dunk during their game against Best of Vegas at the Fullcourt Press Las Vegas Fall Showcase Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, at Bishop Gorman High School. Findlay won the game 81-80. Launch slideshow »

To the 500-plus UNLV fans who showed up to watch 2012 commit Katin Reinhardt play Wednesday night at Bishop Gorman, it didn't matter whether his potential game-winning 26-footer in the final seconds fell or not.

They'd already bonded with him long ago.

Reinhardt was one of several top prep talents to grab some of the spotlight in the nightcap at the Fullcourt Press Las Vegas Showcase, which had the 2011-12 Findlay Prep squad facing off against a Best of Las Vegas team that featured local standouts along with Reinhardt, who flew in from California for the night.

After leading by more than 20 points in the first half, Findlay Prep held on for an 81-80 victory in what gradually turned from an exhibition game into a hotly-contested battle by late in the game.

The Mater Dei standout not only scored a team-high 24 points, but he stole the show when it came to playing to the crowd, which was peppered with plenty of Rebel scarlet.

It was mid-way through the second half, as Reinhardt and Gorman senior forward Ben Carter were leading the Best of Las Vegas team's charge back from the double-digit deficit, when the 6-foot-4 guard began pouring in shot after shot.

After the last make in a run of deep looks, he turned to the stands and lifted up his jersey, revealing a UNLV T-shirt which sent hundreds into a frenzy.

"Once I started making a few shots, I lifted the shirt up to get the crowd pumped up," he said with a smile. "It got us back into the game, I thought.

"As soon as we got going a little bit, within two or three, it started getting really hyped in here. It was like a high school game."

Findlay dropped in a pair of buckets in transition to set the stage for Reinhardt in the clutch.

He brought the ball up with 20 seconds left and his team down one. Facing a tough defender in front of him in former UNLV commit Nigel Williams-Goss, he pulled up for the deep look, but just missed a shot that would have sent the entire gym into a complete frenzy.

"I felt that my shot was on today, so that's why I shot it," he said. "Usually, I make that. I practice it every day. I thought I pulled my hand back a bit. If I followed through, I would have made it for sure."

Reinhardt's 24 points came on a night where he was quite trigger-happy with his shot, but he also displayed the entire package that makes him the nation's No. 45 recruit in the 2012 class, according to Rivals.com. He showed off his slick handles and buried several jumpers in defenders' faces off of a variety of crossover moves.

He was hardly alone in standing out, though.

Carter, who is taking an official visit to UNLV along with Reinhardt on Oct. 14 and 15, did most of his offensive damage in the second half en route to 22 points. He showed off a variety of post moves while also connecting on several mid-range jumpers.

Also standing out for the local squad was Desert Pines junior Julian Jacobs, who took charge offensively late in the game and finished with 15 points.

On the Findlay Prep side, the Pilots were facing a real opponent for the first time with an overhauled roster that features more size than ever before in the program's four-year history.

No one stood out quite as much as 6-foot-8 senior forward Anthony Bennett, whose monster summer on the AAU circuit propelled him to Top-10 status in every scouting service's 2012 class rankings.

It wasn't just Bennett's flashy orange Nikes that got him noticed, either. He set the tone early with a series of vicious dunks that sent eerie silences over the crowd.

Bennett's combination of strength, size and athleticism commanded the attention of everyone in the gym, and it's likely that will be the case just about everywhere he plays this season with the Pilots.

Bennett, whose list of nine potential suitors includes UNLV, won't chose his college destination until the spring signing period, but he should only continue to surge as the season wears on now that he's moved on from a series of nagging injuries that slowed his junior season to a crawl at times. At various times, he dealt with knee, ankle and back issues that also caused him to have trouble keeping his weight down.

He's dropped more than 10 pounds from the 245-pound frame he finished last season with.

"Last year, they told me the heavier you get, the more injuries you'll get," he said. "I'm just happy to be back, because last year was a tough year for me. Now, I'm healthy, I'm back and I want to prove to everyone what I can do."

Fellow UNLV recruiting target Matt Willms — a 7-foot Canadian senior who is new to the program this season — scored 18 points for the Pilots.

Two notable absences from the final game of the night were Gorman seniors Shabazz Muhammad — the unanimous top player in the 2012 recruiting class — and Rosco Allen. Muhammad was nursing a nagging ankle injury suffered late in the summer. Allen didn't play due to an issue involving scar tissue near his eyes that has prevented him from being able to wear his contact lenses of late. He's taking medication for the problem and should be able to go full-speed again by Oct. 10.

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  1. Forgot his contact lenses, are you serious? That raises a lot of questions.

    Hmmm....at what point should you realize that everything is blurry and that something's not quite right?

    Uhhhh......why didn't he go home and get them?

  2. converting to the church of Katin.

  3. Julian Jacobs. . The real Deal!!! Take notice of this Combo Guard.

  4. Hope to see Katin and Carter scoring like that at UNLV together

  5. Hey Ryan, How did Demetris Morant look in this game?

  6. I went to my first game when they were NSU and played in the campus gym. I remember Silas Stepp, Bob Moon And David Shay as my first heros. I have followed UNLV from campus to the Convention Center and now to the Thomas and Mack. I seen quite a few players from our program as well as others. UNLV fans get ready we are on the verge to being a top 5 team for many years to come with the style of play that Roland Todd and the Shark brought to Vegas. I think Rice knows this and with his top of the line assistants we will recruit the best and hopefully with the 2 open slots we have left we will get 2 powerhouse players. I see maybe 2 or 3 years a national championship flag in the Thomas and Mack rafters.

  7. Demetris was active and effective on the defensive end, almost had one ridiculous throwdown on a lob pass, but other than that, nothing crazy. His offensive game has a long way to go, but the athleticism is clearly off of the charts. Should be able to be an effective defender and rebounder at UNLV from Day One.

    And Basir, I'm glad you brought up Julian Jacobs. What a tough kid. Very intriguing prospect. Sort of reminded me of Justin Hawkins a bit with the way he played. I'm definitely a fan of him after watching last night. I'd heard plenty about him, just hadn't seen him until this game.

  8. Im sold on Carter. I want this kid as a Rebel.

  9. We need to spread the word and make the Rebel Weekend a success. It could become a huge tradition and Reinhardt/Carter will be there. They talk about Kentucky's midnight madness, let's all show up on Friday downtown and show them how Vegas throws a party for their Rebs!!!!

  10. Hey guys, I need to truly apologize for the information above on Rosco. I misunderstood what him and his dad told me last night. He did not leave his contact lenses at home. He's having scar tissue issues in his eyes, and he's currently taking medication that keeps him from wearing lenses. He can't wear them, either, until Oct. 10. Truly apologize for that.

  11. Thanks for clarifying Ryan, I knew something wasn't right.

  12. Can't wait to see who finishes the 2012 recruiting class for UNLV. Katin is a big time baller, who wouldn't want to play along side him, he is an explosive exciting playmaker. We need 1of the big 3 from BG to commit. Either way UNLV will get some great athletes.