unlv basketball:

UNLV’s Chace Stanback won’t use knee issue as an excuse for his recent struggles

As No. 21 UNLV hosts Boise State, Stanback tries to overcome pain and get back on track down the stretch

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UNLV ‘s Chace Stanback reacts in the final seconds of overtime in an NCAA college basketball game against TCU on Feb. 14, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. Stanback had 17 points in the 102-97 loss to TCU.

Rebels ready for home games

KSNV coverage of UNLV men's basketball preparing for a pair of home games, Feb. 21, 2012.

The first play could have been chalked up to surprise.

New Mexico’s Tony Snell, a player who doesn’t usually try to score off the dribble, put the ball on the court and breezed past UNLV’s Chace Stanback, through an open lane and soared in for a dunk that rocked The Pit in the first half of the Lobos’ 65-45 victory Saturday.

When Snell did it again in the second half, this time along the baseline, the conversation changed. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on knee.

“Chace is a very smart, very technically sound defender who right now is affected by the health of his knee,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said.

That’s something the 21st-ranked Rebels (22-6, 6-4) will have to monitor the rest of the season, starting with Wednesday night’s home game at 7:15 against Boise State (13-12, 3-7), which will air on CBS College Sports.

Stanback said the pain in his right knee goes back a year or two and it’s the result of the usual wear and tear that comes with a basketball life.

This offseason he had the choice of getting a knee arthroscopy, during which two small incisions are made and a fiberoptic camera is inserted into the knee cavity to assess damage. It’s a relatively common procedure for athletes, but it doesn’t provide guaranteed results. Sometimes daily rehabilitation can be just as, if not more, effective.

After weighing the options, Stanback and UNLV’s medical team opted for the latter. Stanback and trainer Dave Tomchek work on it with ice, time in the whirlpool and an electronic stimulation machine, which uses low-voltage pulses to help increase the knee’s range of motion. Despite all of that, he hasn’t missed any time because of the injury.

“Ultimately, I still have to do what I have to do. I still have to play better,” Stanback said. “I don’t use my knee as an excuse.”

It’s not an excuse; it’s an explanation for why he is admittedly “a step slower than I was to start the season.”

“There’s no doubt he’s affected,” Rice said. “He’s very tough. I’ve tried to get him to take possessions off in practice, or even parts of practice off, and he just doesn’t want to. He’s such a good team guy that he wants to practice every day.”

Rice said if the staff feels like less practice time down the stretch will benefit Stanback then they’ll force him to sit because they know how important he is to the team’s success.

In the last six games, including two of UNLV’s three losses, Stanback has scored five points or less. Add that to his defensive deficiency and it’s easy to see why getting the senior small forward back on track is a top priority.

“If he’s not going, it’s tough for us to get going,” sophomore forward Mike Moser said. “As he goes, we go.”

You don’t have to wait long to find out which way Stanback is going, either.

In 26 starts this season, Stanback has made a shot in the first five minutes in 13 games. In those contests, he’s shooting 57 percent from the field and 56.1 percent behind the 3-point line. When he doesn’t hit a shot in that opening stretch, Stanback is shooting 32.5 percent overall and 28.6 percent behind the line.

For comparison’s sake, junior guard Anthony Marshall is shooting 50 percent from the field in the 10 games he has hit a shot in the first five minutes, and 40 percent in the 17 that he hasn’t.

“That’s why you’ll see that, if not the very first play call of the game, very early in the game we’re calling something to get (Stanback) a shot,” Rice said. “We make a concerted effort to try to get him a good look to start the game.”

Playing three of their last four regular season games at home will be a big help for the Rebels and, specifically, Stanback. His shooting numbers are significantly better in Las Vegas and less travel means fewer cramped airplane and bus rides.

UNLV needs Stanback healthy and hitting shots early. That’s going to take careful planning the rest of the way.

“It’s important for us to make sure we manage his knee,” Rice said, “and try to get as much out of him as we can.”

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

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  1. If his presence on the court hurts the team, leave him on the bench. That simple.

  2. It shouldn't really matter that much on offense because all the guy does is stand in the corner and shoot 3s all day. He doesn't take anyone off the dribble and take them to the basket.

  3. Wow UNLV should hire both of you to coach, that's real genius thinking right there. Lets bench our top scorer who when he is on his game is one of the best around. I supposed you'd like to start Karam instead right? Even when he isnt on his game the guy is still a dangerous weapon and a threat for defenses to have to cover.

  4. Chace really has had a difficult time since conference began. As soon as the tempo slowed Chace became less and less effective. Even without the knee injury he lacks any kind of blow by speed. He is strictly a spot up or a pull up shooter so the fast tempo certainly allows him more clean looks. I sure hope we see the Runnin Rebels tonight. Time to use 10-11 guys and run & press Boise out of the frickin gym. CSU has given us at least a slim chance to catch UNM. Better than no chance.

  5. "CSU has given us at least a slim chance to catch UNM. Better than no chance."

    I wouldn't call one game behind a "slim chance."

  6. James - Have you seen the way we play on the road? Slim is being kind. CSU is undefeated in conference at home and we are 2-4 on the road with two ot wins against the two worst teams. Being an optimist is one thing, being a realist is another.

  7. I think that ridiculous, turn around jumper against TCU was amazing and Jordan Like. Go watch the highlights. That was a monster offensive move. Nonetheless, chace, Bellfield and Anthony Marshall have below average "on the ball" defending which is why it hurts us on the perimeter. Need to address it.

  8. It's all about confidence. When you make the 1st shot of the night you put up, that's a real confidence booster for anyone. I think the stats could be said of almost anyone if they make their early shots. The conference is still pretty wide open by the way. Every conference game is big and has major implications to the season. We have had tremendous road struggles this season, but so has nearly every team in college.

  9. And you never know...we were suppose to lose to CSU last year until Marshall heroics negated it. It can happen, but unlv has to start stepping up. Like I said, nothing really matters now until tourney. All problems need to be addressed over the next few weeks do we can be well prepared to make a run. Must be boring being UK or Cuse, playing in a horrible conference and just waiting for march to roll around for the past years futilities.

  10. I never said no chance, I said slim. Trust me, if our team can play anything like it did earlier this year we could win by 10 + at CSU. However, the last complete game we played was against New Mexico at the T & M. Even the games we won since then (AF, Boise, & SDSU) we had and lost double digit leads and needed heroics to pull out victories and CSU we almost lost a 13 pt half time lead before pushing it out of reach. If we beat CSU on the road I will be the first to tell you all I was wrong. I would be happy to eat some humble pie for a huge road victory. First lets see if we can bomb Boise tonight. No more Walking Rebels!

  11. Chace is still my guy and he will get off tonight...mark my words. The Rebels are happy to be home and will show us fans that they appreciate us. They will be making up for the last home game against sdsu and the near disaster in Boise. We are going to see a motivated team that will be prepared for a run in March. Turn out tonight and root the team to victory.
    REBELS-REBELS-REBELS UNLV GO FIGHT WIN

  12. You're right SDSU it is horrible being the number 1 & 2 schools in the nation. As well Big East this year is a little down, yet is still in the top 3 conferences in the nation... As well you're going to talk about you're new conference like that before you even play in a game? Need to be careful, it is not a cupcake conference like the Mountain West.

    As for UNLV, instead of worrying about 1 player, maybe the team needs to focus on playing better ball. Stop the on sloght of 3 point shots, I under stand the law of averages, they are bound to go in, yet a lot of 2 point plays still puts up a lot of points! As well before you all start to worry about conference championships, you need to start to win again. Again small picture first when you are on a 2 game losing streak & have been looking like poo the 3 games before that!

  13. UNLV has four regular season games remaining; three of them are at home. That doesn't sound so "slim" to me. This is still anyone's race.

  14. SHOWTIME !!!

    Let us see some of that team that won our hearts earlier this year!