Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 | 6:15 p.m.
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Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer take a look at Saturday's high school basketball game between Bishop Gorman and Findlay Prep. They also break down the Palo Verde-Centennial game.
A pulled right hamstring is limiting Findlay Prep senior forward Anthony Bennett and could force the prized UNLV recruit out of Saturday’s anticipated showdown against Bishop Gorman High at the Cox Pavilion.
The 6-foot-7 Bennett, a consensus top-10 prospect, is considered day-to-day with the nagging injury and was a nonparticipant for most of Thursday’s practice. While UNLV fans are salivating about potentially watching Bennett and Gorman’s Shabazz Muhammad duel, Findlay coach Mike Peck won’t risk further injury by prematurely returning Bennett into the lineup.
“We don’t want to make it worse and make it something that lingers beyond us next fall into college,” Peck said.
Bennett is the nation’s No. 7 overall prospect by recruiting website Rivals.com. Earlier this month, he narrowed his suitors to five schools: UNLV, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon and Washington. And UNLV is very much in the mix.
“The coaching staff is real cool. They are playing that up-tempo style and getting out running,” Bennett said. “That is my style and how I want to play.”
Khem Birch, who transferred this week to UNLV from Pittsburgh, is doing his part in trying to recruit Bennett. They are close friends from their days growing up in Montreal. Birch on Tuesday said, “I’ve talked to him a hundred million times about UNLV, but it’s up to him.”
UNLV has one scholarship remaining for the class of 2012 and has offers to four seniors in Saturday’s high school game — Muhammad, Bennett and Findlay post players Winston Shepard and Matt Willms. Along with UNLV signee Demetris Morant of Gorman and 2013 commit Christian Wood of Findlay, it will create a heavy pro-UNLV crowd.
Most of the fans will continue in their passionate pursuit of Muhammad (the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect) and Bennett — a dream one-two combination for the scarlet and gray.
Some feel UNLV is out of its league on the recruiting trail and consider it a long shot to land either player. But Bennett was very complimentary of UNLV and even talked about potentially playing alongside Muhammad.
“That would be pretty cool, especially with Khem Birch already there,” he said. “That would be cool to (be in the lineup) with both those guys.”
Saturday’s game begins at 2 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU. Findlay, which is ranked No. 6 nationally and Monday beat No. 1 Simeon High of the Chicago area by 25 points, won last year’s contest with Gorman in double overtime on a buzzer beater.