Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | 2 a.m.
- As new players arrive, UNLV’s Marshall and Hawkins focused on creating a lasting legacy
- Global Sports Classic highlights Rebels’ non-conference schedule
- Rebels seniors Anthony Marshall, Justin Hawkins make summer debuts for appreciative crowd
- Analysis: UNLV’s returning players vs. the new additions would make for an interesting game
- Savon Goodman becomes the eighth newcomer to the 2012-13 Rebels basketball team
- UConn transfer Roscoe Smith commits to UNLV, adding even more depth in frontcourt
- High-flying Demetris Morant ends Gorman career with a pair of state track titles
- Anthony Bennett’s success could mean big things for UNLV’s future with Findlay Prep players
- Possibilities abound: UNLV has a plethora of lineup options for 2012-13
- The Perfect Storm: Rebels coaching staff and fans play their cards right to get Bennett
- Addition of Bennett puts UNLV firmly in national spotlight next season
- All UNLV coverage
From the physicals and blood tests to paperwork and homework, UNLV incoming guard DaQuan Cook hasn’t had much time to catch his breath since coming to Las Vegas on Friday. That didn't change Tuesday night on the final night of the Desert Reign Pro-City Summer League.
Classes ran late, so when he walked into the gym with incoming forward Savon Goodman, the gym at Sawyer Middle School was already filled to the brim with UNLV fans. And all of them started cheering at the sight of the new Rebels.
“They haven’t even seen me play and they showed me this much support,” Cook said. “You can’t ask for anything more.”
Cook, Goodman and incoming guard Katin Reinhardt all played in Vegas for the first time as unofficial Rebels on Tuesday. They were joined by seniors Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins, sophomore Khem Birch and incoming forward Demetris Morant.
For the new guys, life in the desert has been a whirlwind since they landed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. They’re cleared — medically and academically — to play, and the only reason they haven’t had 24/7 access to their practice facility yet is that USA Basketball is borrowing it for the week. Not that the players mind. Goodman and Cook each met a couple of the Olympians, and starting on Friday they will get a chance to meet other pros who are in town for the NBA Summer League.
“In Vegas you don’t get time to catch your breath,” Goodman said.
While the possible career trajectories of Goodman, an attacking wing who needs to find a jump shot, and Reinhardt, an athletic scoring point guard, are a little easier to forecast, Cook will be an interesting case study during his time at UNLV.
He’s very quick and likes to push the tempo, but he’s also a bit undersized. Listed at 6-foot-1 and a generous 175 pounds, his lack of size was more noticeable because he was playing against Marshall, who has carved out his 6-3 frame even more during this offseason.
“Playing against Anthony Marshall, it just taught me that I’ve got to get a lot stronger,” Cook said. “Got to get in the gym more and got to get in the weight room more.”
Cook described himself as a pass-first point guard who likes to run and get his teammates involved. That jives with the way he played Tuesday. While Goodman scored 31 (or 33 or 29, depending on who you had keeping your stats), Cook took just a few shots and finished with five assists. He had trouble keeping his game under control, but when it was, the offense ran very smoothly with quick passes that often found Goodman open near the basket.
Goodman’s dunk off the backboard in the second half will probably be the biggest takeaway for Rebels fans from the night’s first game, unless they want to give more weight to one of Marshall’s jams in traffic.
In fact, maybe the biggest lesson will simply be that their excitement is justified. The returning players look even better and some of the new pieces have shown flashes of their ability to live up to expectations.
Reinhardt said he had been counting down the days to Vegas since his final high school game (a state championship victory, for what it’s worth). While Goodman and, to a lesser extent, Birch came to UNLV when first-year coach Dave Rice had already showed signs of progress, Reinhardt was an early commit who got to watch last season’s success from the beginning.
“When they were recruiting me, they had a whole vision of bringing back UNLV to an elite program,” Reinhardt said. “So I knew the vision they had and I wanted to buy into that and help be a part of it.”
Cook was in a similar situation. He committed to Rice last summer without even stepping foot in the desert. Now that he’s here, Cook is looking forward to finding time to get acclimated and preparing to be one of the many pieces expected to continue building at UNLV.
“Not knowing how the team was going to come together last year, it was an exciting experience,” Cook said. “For us to be coming in off of their success, we’re just going to build on up.”