UNLV basketball:

First impressions: Taking a closer look at 5 Rebels’ debuts in victory at Carleton

Katin Reinhardt and Bryce Dejean-Jones play as well as advertised while others show some flashes, both good and bad

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Carleton University forward Tyson Hinz runs into the arm of UNLV forward Savon Goodman during their game in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. The Rebels won the game 74-70, the first in a four-game exhibition tour in Canada.

UNLV vs. Carleton Exhibition

UNLV guard Bryce Dejean-Jones drives into Carleton University guard Connor Wood during their game in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. The Rebels won the game 74-70, the first in a four-game exhibition tour in Canada. Launch slideshow »

OTTAWA — There’s no second chance to make a first impression.

For Rebels fans in Carleton’s Norm Fenn Gym on Saturday (and those who watch a replay of the game on UNLVRebels.com), this is the first point of reference they’ll have for the five newcomers participating in this Canadian tour.

Exhibition or not, UNLV’s 74-70 victory mattered. The hype around this year’s team is as high as it has ever been and many people traveled a long way to get their first glimpse at this year’s team and the new faces filling it out.

“More than anything, it was an opportunity for guys like Bryce Dejean-Jones, who hasn’t played in a year and a half, and then our freshmen, to get some minutes in a tough environment,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said.

Let the record show that this is only one game and you shouldn’t read too much into any single performance. But considering how many people were counting down the days until this game, it’s fair to look back and see what we’ve learned.

Here, we offer a breakdown of those five new pieces and how they did in their first game as Rebels, starting with the game’s leading scorer:

KATIN REINHARDT

Stat line: 19 points, 6-14 overall, 4-8 on 3s, , 3-3 FTs, 2 steals, 1 TO, 28 minutes

Debuts don’t get much better than this. Reinhardt had a decent first half — seven points in 10 minutes — and then played all but two minutes in the second half as he took charge of the offense and helped carry UNLV to victory.

“He loves the big stage and he loves when the game is on the line,” Rice said.

Rice seemed to reward Reinhardt’s efforts by giving him a shot at the final dagger, but the freshman couldn’t quite finish Carleton off himself. And when that’s basically the only criticism of a kid playing his first collegiate game, it’s been a good night.

BRYCE DEJEAN-JONES

Stat line: 9 points, 3-9 overall, 1-5 on 3s, 2-3 FTs, 4 rebounds, 4 fouls, 27 minutes

Dejean-Jones’ first points as a Rebel were appropriate considering his reputation as the guy who will bring toughness to UNLV.

He charged into the lane, lost control of the ball, fought to get it back and then went up for a tough layup amid at least a couple of Carleton defenders. The fouls prevented him from playing even more, yet he got a huge vote of confidence when Rice put him back in the game with 15 seconds left. The game was on the line and Rice wanted Dejean-Jones, who practiced with the team last year while sitting out after transferring from USC, on the court.

The flip side to Dejean-Jones’ aggressive mentality is when it turns on his own teammates. Dejean-Jones was visibly upset with Demetris Morant after Morant missed a transition alley-oop opportunity in the first half. Later, Dejean-Jones stared down senior forward Quintrell Thomas after Thomas dropped a pass Dejean-Jones had fired into the post.

Dejean-Jones’ reputation is that he hates to lose (as opposed to loves to win) and won’t let anyone get in his way, including his own teammates. Saturday’s game seemed to back that up.

SAVON GOODMAN

Stat line: 2 points, 1-2 overall, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 11 minutes

Goodman often looked like he wasn’t quite sure where he was supposed to be on the court. Not lost, necessarily, just slightly off-balance.

He could be a very useful weapon for UNLV this year, but it may take being paired with a veteran lineup, at least in the beginning, to help him find his footing.

Overall, Goodman didn’t do much to stand out from the crowd but he also didn’t embarrass himself by any means. He’s a raw talent and it’s going to take some time for his game to come into form.

DEMETRIS MORANT

Stat line: 0 points, 0-2 overall, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 11 minutes

Speaking of raw talents, Morant played into his scouting report perhaps more than any other Rebel. Defensively, he’s a big-time weapon. You can see him sizing up blocks several seconds before the shot is even attempted, yet that focus doesn’t make him lose track of his own man.

On offense, he’s a work in progress. Like Goodman, Morant didn’t always look like he knew where he was supposed to be and would probably benefit from court time with his roommate in Canada, junior Carlos Lopez.

Morant is best at both ends when he’s around the rim. A state high jump and triple jump champ last year, Morant makes playing above the rim look effortless. Once he’s going up there with more of a purpose, watch out.

DAQUAN COOK

Stat line: 0 points, 0-0 overall, 2 rebounds, 11 minutes

The smallest Rebel on the roster, it was easy to miss Cook was on the floor because he often disappeared into the forest created by the other players.

When you could track him, though, Cook did well enough to leave you impressed. He handled the ball well in transition and played very aggressive defense. With Reinhardt and senior Anthony Marshall leading the team in scoring there wasn’t much room for Cook to make an impact on Saturday, but he’ll get more of a chance as the games continue in Ottawa and then move to Montreal.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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