Rebels basketball:

Reinhardt’s development centers on his progress within UNLV’s defense

Freshman Katin Reinhardt came to Las Vegas as a prolific scorer, but coach Dave Rice is most impressed with his strides on defense

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Katin Reinhardt swats the ball away from Canisius forward Jordan Heath on Dec. 22, 2012, at the Thomas & Mack. The Rebels won 89-74.

Probably the most commonly discussed difference between basketball at the college and high school levels is the speed. What you don’t hear as much about is the physicality.

“You’re getting hit a lot the whole game; I’m not used to that,” UNLV’s Katin Reinhardt said. “You’re sore after every game.”

Another Rebels freshman, forward Anthony Bennett, is the one grabbing national headlines for his ability to quickly acclimate to the college level. And while Bennett deserves all the attention he’s getting, it overshadows the development of UNLV’s 6-foot-5 freshman from Mater Dei High.

Reinhardt feels more comfortable with the Division I speed, he’s getting used to getting knocked around a bit and according to UNLV coach Dave Rice, Reinhardt is making strides as an all-around player.

“Katin’s always been able to score and shoot and make plays on the offensive end,” Rice said, “but where I’m most pleased is his progress and his commitment on the defensive end. He’s improved significantly since the start of the season.”

Reinhardt’s next chance to continue improving is Thursday night at 7 as the Rebels (11-2) host Chicago State (4-12) on VegasTV. UNLV will play the game without junior forward Mike Moser, Rice said after Wednesday’s practice.

There hasn’t been a setback for Moser, who played at UNC for the first time since dislocating his elbow on Dec. 9, but Rice said he wants Moser to look closer to form as the guy who led last year’s team in points and rebounds before putting him back on the court.

Moser’s availability will be evaluated on a game-by-game basis for now, Rice said. Since he’s logged plenty of minutes, Rice added that he’s not as concerned with Moser missing time just ahead of the conference season as he would be if it were a younger player.

“Mike’s not a guy who needs game experience,” Rice said. “Mike’s just a guy who needs to have full range of motion.”

Without Moser, the starting lineup will be the same as it’s been the past five games. That includes Reinhardt, who joins Bennett and starting point guard Anthony Marshall as the only Rebels to start every game.

Bennett and Reinhardt are having the best seasons of their careers by default. Meanwhile, Marshall is doing the same thing as a senior at a new position, a feat that’s not lost on Rice or Reinhardt. Marshall currently has new career highs in shooting percentage (49.5 percent), 3-point shooting percentage (51.6), assists per game (5.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1). With 16 made 3-pointers already in the books, Marshall could eclipse his total from last season (20) by the start of conference play.

“He’s tried to become a pass-first guy, and because of that I think he’s been a little bit more selective with his shooting and it’s been a big deal for his percentages,” Rice said.

Added Reinhardt, “It’s good to be around that kind of guy every day in practice and every day in film.”

For Reinhardt, everything comes back to the film room. Other than the court, that’s the best place to go so he can go to get better, the coaches have told him.

“I don’t want to settle and stay at a certain spot,” Reinhardt said. “I want to get better and better every single game and throughout the years as well.”

Reinhardt’s averaging 10.4 points per game with a 48.7 effective field goal percentage, which adds extra weight to 3-point attempts. In the last two games he’s better than 50 percent from the field and averaged 14.5 points per game, including spurring UNLV’s second-half rally at UNC. The Rebels’ lone lead of the game came on one of Reinhardt’s four made 3-pointers.

The offense, though, was a known commodity for Reinhardt. He came in with a reputation to hit big shots in big games and thus far he’s lived up to that. But to hit a shot in a close game you have to be on the court at the end of a close game. Reinhardt’s defense has at times been so suspect that he may have been a liability on the court, which forced Rice to consider pulling him and putting one of his best shooters on the bench.

“Early in the year it may have been a consideration, but I’m very confident in him at both ends of the floor in a close game,” Rice said.

That’s the result of dedication in the film room, where Reinhardt can diagnose mistakes, attempt to correct them and eventually get to the point where he’s playing defense that leaves his opponents walking away sore.

“I’m trying to focus on defense because defense wins games,” Reinhardt said. “There’s going to be a lot of times where I’m playing the end of game and a lot of people are going to go at me or go at somebody else and I want to have the opportunity to stop somebody and win a game that way rather than making a shot at the end.”

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

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  1. Lmao! Like who Phillips? Bryce Headache Jones who charges the hoop like a bull? Lmao. Next year, without Bennett, UNLV has NOONE to go to in the waning minutes of the game. UNLV needs someone who could create their shot off the dribble. Not saying Katin or Jones can't do it...but they normally brick 9 times out of 10. We need better percentages.

    Moser, on the other hand, will never fit in the food with UNLV the rest of the season. Tough luck:/ Moser won't be healthy until god knows when, and when he comes in, the entire offense and defense will be discombobulated. But, UNLV might not ever see what they're fully capable of, but oh well. Life goes on. UNLV is on the bubble anyways and looking like a 14-5 team by mid January.

  2. @AmericanInThailand (James Snipes) - You act like UNLV is going to get destroyed in conference play. To say that like it's fact is absurd. New Mexico has lost two of their last three games, Colorado State almost lost at home to UTEP, and San Deigo State's best win came against UCLA (who would beat them handily if they played today).

  3. phillips - haters gonna hate. don't justify stupid comments with responses. the guy actually put that jones and Reinhardt shoot 10%.

    internet thugging overseas. smh

  4. LOL... Just out of curiousity. How many games will UNLV lose in conference play? Will UNLV win the conference title outright? Will UNLV get an automatic NCAA tournament bid or Will UNLV play in the NIT tournament? Will UNLV get ranked again? Inquiring minds want to know. Perhaps, Phillips & JerryWayne have the answers. Hmmmm....

  5. HoosierBoy - UNLV will be ranked again Monday. Three teams in the 20-25 range have lost this week. If the Rebels go 12-4 or better in conference play, I'll be happy. However, they can't lose to Reno, Fresno State, or Air force. Also, they can't lose any home games.

    I think that UNLV will win the conference title (both regular season and the conference tournament). They have too much talent, and they are improving as the season goes along. The other teams in the conference have played together longer, and that advantage is slowly going away.

  6. @JerryWayne: +1; @HosierBoy: I'll tell you how many wins and loses UNLV will have, whether they win the MWC or not, whether they get an automatic bid or not and your other questions after the season is complete (just kidding, I wont' tell you because you can read and follow the team so you will already know; so, until that time arrives we'll just have to wait and see). @philips1990702: I hope you are correct about the conference titles etc... and UNLV had an okay win at Cal and a good win at UTEP, and UNLV kept themselves close enough to win at UNC (a UNC program which hasn't lost to a non-conference opponent in 60 some games) despite stretches of poor play, poor play which seemed to me to be a little more poor execution than it was from oppressive pressure from UNC; over the past several years UNLV has faded in conference play, especially on the road (MWC is notoriously difficult to win on the road), and if they don't shore up their turnovers and poor shoot decisions, it again could be a tenuous homestretch run. As an aside, it seems that in the past few years, including last year, UNLV peaked in January, and this year UNLV has showed no signs of being at the top of their game (of course that doesn't mean they haven't already peaked), which gives me guarded hope that they will improve as a team, because we have seen in spurts what this team can do to an opponent when they are playing to their potential. go rebels!!! peace out

  7. To the point of UNC not losing to a non-conference team, I meant that to say a home game to a non-conference team in 60 some games. mea culpa

  8. LOL LOL LOL Indeed UNLV will be looked at quite favorably by both the AP and USA Coaches Polls after they post impressive victories over tough teams like Chicago State (4-12) and Cal State Bakersfield (6-11). Go Rebels, show your stuff.... LOL

  9. The sky is falling! UNLV has lost another game on the road! They're only #14 in RPI/SOS ranking right now! That's 13 worse than #1, out of some 340+ D1 schools! That's just absolutely unacceptable and awful. Put me in Coach, in fact, put me in as coach cause I can win for the team. Next year I'll schedule every blue blood program out there and beat every single one of them cause there have been so many undefeated teams in the history of college basketball!

    /sarcasm

  10. Prediction,
    UNLV will be a one and done team in the NCAA tournament. Again.

  11. @antigov - Please evaluate.

  12. Elaborate.*

  13. Appreciating the effort and the growth this season, Rebels. Keep on keeping on. See you Saturday. Peak in March, guys. RE-BELS!

  14. C'mon really? Reinhardt has got to be the worst player on the team. He causes more turnovers than anyone , and he shooting is junior college level on his best day. I'm disgusted that they continue to play him , just watch him closely and you will agree the boy needs to play junior college.