UNLV basketball:

Countdown to tip-off: Goodman tries to rebound and bully his way onto the court

The week leading up to UNLV’s first regular season game, the Sun will highlight one Rebel each day. Today: freshman Savon Goodman

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Savon Goodman.

UNLV Runnin' Rebel Savon Goodman

UNLV forward Savon Goodman. Launch slideshow »

Considering he was basically a throw-in to an already stellar recruiting class, Savon Goodman may turn out to be the biggest surprise on this year’s UNLV men’s basketball team. He’s relentless on the defensive end, basically serving as a larger, if less skilled, version of senior guard Justin Hawkins.

Like most top recruits, Goodman was a scorer in high school. He certainly could bring some of that to the Rebels this year, but his biggest contributions probably will be with defense and rebounding. Listed as a 6-foot-6 forward, Goodman is skilled enough to play some time at a guard spot, which would allow UNLV to take advantage of its size and athleticism. Though he can score and may even lead the team in points once or twice, Goodman already has said he knows the key to getting playing time is running his tail off and making every possible play.

The great thing about his situation is that there’s very little pressure on Goodman this year. If he ends up struggling to adjust to the college game, it probably doesn’t keep the Rebels from getting close to their goals. And if he’s a solid contributor, it may put them over the top.

Vitals

Ht	Wt	Yr	Pos.	Major

6-6	210	Fr	F	Undecided

How he got to UNLV

Goodman, a Philadelphia native, originally committed to nearby Villanova. But prior to his senior year, he backed out of that and in June chose UNLV over SMU, which recently hired legendary coach Larry Brown.

What they’re saying

"Although he is more of a frontcourt player, Savon Goodman's athleticism and ability to make plays at both ends of the floor could also be attractive to coach Dave Rice."

CBS Sports

"The Rebels have even more depth with Savon Goodman and Quintrell Thomas. Vegas has a legitimate chance to pound the ball inside and play inside-out even more than last season."

ESPN

Rice’s take

“With him, it starts with toughness. We’re playing him on the perimeter at the small forward spot, and he just brings a physical presence and an intensity to the court that helps our team. He’s going to have a great career.”

In his own words

“That’s my niche: playing tough, getting loose balls, trying to get every rebound. I don’t think too many 3-men in our league are going to rebound the way I’m going to try to do. I just want to be a defensive stopper. I want to find the best player on the other team and try to stop him.”

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

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