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Jimmy Kimmel joins Twitter chorus of UNLV fans wooing Anthony Bennett

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Christopher DeVargas

Findlay Prep’s Anthony Bennett talks to the media after a ceremony for the 2012 McDonald’s All American Basketball Team, in which he and two other local highschool students were selected, Wednesday March 21, 2012.

Twitter is playing a big role in the conversation leading up to Anthony Bennett’s college decision, and now it includes a late-night talk-show host.

Bennett, a forward at Findlay Prep and the highest-rated uncommitted player in the country, recently cut his list in half. He’s down to UNLV and Oregon after cutting out Florida and Kentucky, the latter of which set off a mini-firestorm after spurned Wildcat fans flooded Bennett’s Twitter feed (@ABennett24) with negative comments that he retweeted to his nearly 9,000 followers.

Negative tweets are hardly a new thing. Last season Rebels Anthony Marshall and Oscar Bellfield would favorite or retweet disparaging remarks, many of which came from UNLV fans, and use them as motivation.

The tweets directed at Bennett caught national attention because they were particularly vulgar. They were from the vocal minority of a fan base that would not want to be judged on the acts of the few, just as UNLV fans wouldn’t want to be thrown in with those who attack their own players.

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Jimmy Kimmel's tweet to Findlay Prep's Anthony Bennett on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.

On Tuesday the discourse changed a bit as Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel), who attended UNLV for one year and delivered the pregame “Lights Please” introduction for a game last season, tweeted “UNLV needs you Anthony!” Another fan (@Salsaa_Stylez) had tweeted Kimmel asking for his help, in this case searching for a big name to represent UNLV fans who want Bennett to stay in Las Vegas. Earlier in the day, Adam Zagoria tweeted that Bennett favors UNLV and is "90 percent" sure of his decision.

And yes, it's a recruiting violation for Kimmel to send a tweet to a student-athlete in hopes of him choosing a certain school. But it's also a violation for you to do it, too, so it's not like this is a ground-breaking revelation.

Bennett has said that he will decide between the Rebels and Ducks this weekend. You can bet that every minute up to that announcement, someone on Twitter will send out another comment — good, bad or otherwise.

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

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  1. I disagree, I love that the Sun covers the Rebels and possible recruits so much. I hate it when there isn't anything new to read about the Rebs.

  2. RE: Team SG1, I don't care whom he chooses, but based on the feedback I get a lot of people do. I'm just trying to feed the demand. Don't like it? Don't read it.

  3. @SG1, the University of Nevada LAS VEGAS is recruiting him. This is just the kind of news Rebel fans want to see. Keep up the good work Taylor.

  4. TeamSG1, I agree with Taylor and Big_John. There's a lot of people who do care about this stuff. There are people who want to take a break from reading all the other bad news that is out there and focus on sports to take their mind off things. If you don't like it don't read about it. If you don't like the Sun's coverage go read the RJ. Also, for someone who doesn't care about this stuff you sure do have a lot of post in your profile commenting on UNLV recruiting.

  5. I been following things on twitter, and I gotta say, those tweets from some UK fans were downright criminal the things they were seinding Bennett. It's basketball, not a life or death situation, and people getting are just getting wicked. I care about the program and am a fan, and it would be exciting to get AB too, but damn. It's basketball.

  6. Wade, same thing on the ESPN Insider message boards. Those UK fans are unreal. I'll be happy for the kid wherever he decides to go. We all just want him to be a Rebel.

  7. The twitter folks are out of control. It is amazing to me what someone will type anonymously behind a keyboard. The Rebel fans were very tough on Shabazz after he announced his decision.

  8. They just won the national championship and they can't throttle it back just a little? Those UK fans are oxygen thieves.

    I hope Bennett does pick UNLV. We had such a good season and it looks as though they'll keep coming. UNLV is on the road back to being a top team to go to.

  9. I would be SHOCKED if Bennett picks Oregon. UNLV is the perfect fit for him. Bennett needs UNLV to best showcase his talents and be an immediate star. UNLV needs Bennett to reach the next level as a program.

  10. You must understand, the "elites" are not used to being passed over. Whenever a major recruit passes on Duke, UK, UNC, UCLA, KU, it's like taking a spoiled little kids xbox game...the whining is loud and angry.

    Now I don't 'tweet' myself, call me old fashioned I'm just not into the whole "everything I say is important" web thing yet, but I did read the story about how Anthony Marshall was criticized waaay over the top harshly by UNLV fans on twitter after the first Wyoming game last season, and it kind of creeped me out. What loser would say things like this to a 20 yr old kid just playing basketball for his school? It's just a game, weirdo. If I were the coaching staff I would think about limiting twitter exposure or at least have some supervision with it.

    Having said all that, how awesome would it be to land this kid? i'm giddy with excitement and trying to calm down because I would be devastated if he chooses that 'other' school. Man I already like him for sticking it to Kentucky like that lol.

  11. I'll tell you one thing though, if he does go the other way, he won't get a "tweet" from me, just a thanks for considering us and i hope we get a chance to beat those guys next year...Go Rebels

  12. Taylor, you don't care whom he chooses?

    Why wouldn't you care, you do work here in town right, your a REBEL aren't you, or are you? I would think that you would want him to pick UNLV.

    That statement threw me a bit off balance

  13. As an Alum I love to read the stories.
    Once the Rebel Basketball program hits new heights the effect it can have on FB and other sports should be a positive.
    I think its great for the community.
    I like when famous alumnus get involved, you see it on ESPN all the time, Hollywood. I would love to see LJ come back and take in games the Las Vegas entertainers get involved etc.

  14. Re: JAGERVEGAS

    No, I'm not a Rebel. I moved to Las Vegas to cover UNLV, and in that position I'm an objective observer. I try to provide fair coverage, both good and bad, of the team, but you will never see me cheering for the Rebels.

  15. Mr. Bern went to Kansas. As did Ryan Greene who also wrote for the sun before. It's like a second home for the heartland. They are friends with Quintrell I'd assume.

  16. Oh great, Adam Zagoria tweeted about Bennett! Awesome! Who is Adam Zagoria again? I'm sure I should know, never heard of him though

  17. Zagoria is a writer for zagsblog.com. He actually tends to be pretty connected in the recruiting circles as far as his information, at least on the west coast. There's always a little bias in there, but he's better than a lot of the others.