Rebels basketball:

Players sign letters of intent, officially completing UNLV’s 2013 recruiting class

Kendall Smith and DeVille Smith are officially the two newest Rebels. They will both compete right away for the starting point guard spot

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV head coach Dave Rice talks to the media before practice for their second round NCAA Tournament game against Cal Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

LasVegasSun.com Sports Talk

It's always basketball season

  • You need to upgrade your Flash Player

Despite getting nearly a month away from UNLV basketball's last game, the Rebels are still making news. Las Vegas Sun sports writers Ray Brewer, Case Keefer and Taylor Bern discuss that plus Frank Mir's chances this weekend at UFC on Fox in San Jose, Calif.

UNLV basketball received two signed national letters of intent Wednesday, officially moving the Rebels closer to filling out the roster for the 2013-14 season. It also moves the team closer to an all-Smith lineup.

High school senior Kendall Smith and juco transfer DeVille Smith both signed and sent in their letters on the first day of the spring signing period, UNLV coach Dave Rice announced Wednesday evening. They will have the option of enrolling at UNLV for summer classes and will be on campus no later than August.

The duo joins namesake Roscoe Smith on the roster, although none of them are related. Roscoe Smith and DeVille Smith will both be juniors while Kendall Smith will be a true freshman after graduating from Deer Valley High in Antioch, Calif.

“We are excited that Kendall Smith is a Runnin’ Rebel,” Rice said. “He is a winner and is extremely versatile.”

Kendall Smith, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound point guard, averaged 27.5 points, 6.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game as a senior while also shooting 46 percent from the field. However, when he played for the Oakland Soldiers in the summer, his points were much less while his assists ballooned even more.

“He is committed to team and capable of taking over a game or making plays for others,” Rice said.

DeVille Smith played at Mississippi State and then Southwest Mississippi Community College after graduating from Callaway High in Jackson, Miss., in 2011. A 5-foot-11, 175-pound point guard, DeVille Smith left the Bulldogs because of a coaching change and this past season averaged 16.7 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and two steals per game. A speedy guard, DeVille Smith is also an excellent shooter, hitting 52 percent from the field, 42 percent behind the three-point line (47-for-112) and 78 percent at the free throw line.

“He is a great competitor who makes the players around him better,” Rice said. “He brings valuable experience and is a terrific teammate. He will be a tremendous pressure defender and very effective in our transition system.”

Kendall Smith and DeVille Smith will both be competing for the starting point guard spot, as will fellow incoming transfer Jelan Kendrick, who signed his letter in the fall. The other candidates for the job are returners Daquan Cook and Katin Reinhardt, though there’s a very good chance one of the new guys will start out in that role. Kendall Smith can also play shooting guard and Kendrick can play on the wing while DeVille Smith’s natural spot is at the point.

UNLV’s five-man recruiting class is now complete. The other two filling it out are Findlay Prep forward Christian Wood and Dantley Walker, who signed in 2011 before serving a two-year LDS mission.

This pretty much takes care of the personnel for next season. If everyone stayed the Rebels would have one too many scholarship players (14), but junior Mike Moser is expected to transfer to a Pac-12 school after graduating this summer, leaving UNLV right on the number.

Next up is figuring out who’s going to help the new guys get acclimated to the college game as Rice searches for an assistant to fill the spot left by Justin Hutson’s departure to San Diego State. There is no timetable for the decision.

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

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 16 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy.

  1. The point guard battle is the biggest question mark heading into the offseason. However, I'd bet on DeVille Smith winning the spot.

  2. Mark my words,,,Jelan Kendrick should be the point guard. Kendall smith behind him. Cook will/ should transfer. Nice kid but is in no way a D1 point guard. ......last year at this time I said Reinhardt should/ would start.

  3. The only problem is Kendrick is a big guard at 6'7.. And BDJ is a big guard ...which is good against big teams but a lot of small 4 guard college lineups can be a problem for the Rebs. Katin or Reinhardt needs to learn how to close games...how to draw contact, and I suspect they will. But he will be post scorer? That's question....

  4. Biggest question is will they have a lineup that scares teams defensively....can't run without creating havoc on defense..............gotta have it.

  5. Rebeljedi is right running is created by great DEFENSE which has not played in the past two years.

    Mark it down, none of the new point guards are real point guards. This was a poor recruiting job and seems to be grasping at straws. Why do you need 4-5 point guards anyways? How about two true point guards and maybe one combo guard instead....or is that to logical.

    I'm afraid we are in for another 2nd place finish and 1st round NCAA loss with this group of point guards and the selfish play of Reinhardt.

  6. I think Devile Smith gets the PH job. Kendrick will however be a good patchup for Winston Shepard. I remember lat year at home again SDSU, Cook was on Shepard.As for Walker, he will play the 2 and 1 IMO, and is a long shot for starting. So, the dept chart IMO next year:
    PG Devile Smith Kendall Smith Dalenty Walker DeQuan Cook (redshirt)
    SG Katin Reinhardt Jelan Kendrick Barry Cheaney (walk-on)
    SF Byce Dejean-Jones Christan Wood
    PF Rosce Smith Savon Goodman
    C Khem Birch Carlos Lopez-Sosa Demetris Morant

  7. Well done YE. No PROS on that roster and four PG's (way to many). Poor recruiting choices and average coaching don't mix well.

  8. @kenhen - You've provided me with some good entertainment over the last few minutes. Thank you.

  9. Time will tell if the players in this years class were a good haul, but I think we can all agree that the point guard position is one that we desperately needed to fill. I like the idea of having two jucos and two freshman coming in that all have experience playing the 1 spot. It will be nice to have some options and different looks at the point. To me it makes sense to redshirt both Dantley Walker and Daquan Cook. Having D Smith, K Smith, Kendrick and Reinhardt is plenty at the guard position. Very interested to see how it plays out.

  10. I wouldn't call it poor recruiting choices. There is a (mostly) long and atletic team build to pressure the ball and get out and run. Havig multiple people being able to handle the ball is imperative to that.
    Deville will start (he is definitely a "real" PG), Kendrick will probably play more wing than PG (his A/TO ratio was 1.5 at the JC level), Kendall will probably play more 2 than 1.

  11. @ kenhen Khem Birch is NBA materiel for sure. IMO and Bryce Dejean Jones, Roscoe Smith, and Katin Reinhardt all have an outside chance at playing in the NBA. And hey, I did not recruit the players, and one of the 4 PG's will IMO likely redshirt as I speculated earlier this morning. @htownreb mostly agreed, except maybe on Kendall Smith.

    I just really hope UNLV wins a tourney game next year for once. Ill respect CDR a lot more when he does.

  12. Oh great now there's a mormon on the team? there goes any Sunday game possibilities.

  13. Seville is a one trick pony....Kendall is more well rounded with bigger upside.

  14. Seville will be a turnover machine.....reminds me of greedy Daniels........

  15. It is crazy how in two months we go from being PG barren to PG laden. lol Either way, this is a definite sign that we are going to extend & pressure 3/4 court or higher....and I like it! In order to do so you gotta have depth at the 1 & 2 spots...check. 3s with length & athleticism to play the lanes & recover...check. And 4 & 5s who can get down the floor, contest, and protect the rim....check. Now executing it is a whole different battle/discussion...but kudos to CDR for assembling the pieces & for building his team from a defensive perspective FIRST.

    Offensively, having decision makers out there who naturally like to push is going to be very, very welcomed indeed. That will pay immediate dividends in the transition game no matter who is playing the point. The mystery though, given our high pick & roll fetish these last few years, is how or what we'll run in the half court. Pressure wont bother good teams so it will be interesting to see how that develops & how we approach that kind of game. THAT answer will ultimately decide our fate in the post season.

  16. WHO IS THE NEW ASSISTANT GOING TO BE?

    Mike Peck. Bob Cantu. Phil Mathews. Or ????