Incoming Rebels Cook, Goodman and Reinhardt wrap up Desert Reign in front of a packed house

The freshmen-to-be played alongside several other Rebels, including Khem Birch and Demetris Morant, on the league’s final night

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

DaQuan Cook steals the ball from Anthony Marshall during the Desert Reign summer league Tuesday, July 10, 2012.

UNLV Basketball Freshmen

Anthony Marshall and DaQuan Cook fight for a rebound during the Desert Reign summer league Tuesday, July 10, 2012. Launch slideshow »

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.”

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

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  1. DaQuan Cook's pass off the backboard to Goodman was the highlight of the night! So much potential there.

  2. There wouldn't happen to be any video anywhere would there?

  3. Wade, you can see all the games at rebel-net.com, they were all streamed, and are archived, the guys did a great job...have fun! (and bryce jones was in a couple of games 2 weeks ago...awesome!)

  4. Cook showed flashes of good play early on, but it looked like he was getting pushed around A LOT. He needs to bulk up a bit over the summer. Anthony Marshall absolutely manhandled him when they went 1-on-1.

    Saw what I expected out of Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins, who both seemed to be in good shape. Hawkins looked great hustling on both ends of the floor for what seemed like the entire game. One of the reasons he's my favorite player. With the exception of Goodman, the rest of the incoming guys seemed to get winded relatively quickly. Perhaps it was the 95 degree sauna that gym turned into, but I noticed a lot of walking to the opposite end for incoming Runnin' Rebels.

    I have faith that Rice will get these guys in shape. I hope he continues to do more conditioning during the season so our guys don't look so exhausted at the end of the season like last year.

  5. The video is posted on here http://unlv.rivals.com/forum.asp?sid=&am... and I also tweeted it a few minutes ago twitter.com/unlvgirl
    Pretty nice dunk!

  6. I been following your feed for a long time Lori. @Doubleyew