UNLV quick hits:

Two Rebels off to great starts on USA Elite Under-23 team in France

Juniors-to-be Roscoe Smith and Jelan Kendrick combined for 53 points in a friendly victory leading into pool play

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forwards Khem Birch, left, and Roscoe Smith joke around on the bench during their exhibition game against Dixie State Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack. UNLV won in overtime 81-80.

Click to enlarge photo

Jelan Kendrick shakes hands with UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice while on an official visit and taking in the Rebels first practice of the season with his dad Lonnie Kendrick Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Kendrick committed to UNLV on Saturday.

Roscoe Smith and Jelan Kendrick have yet to play an official minute for UNLV. In the mean time they’re logging time together on the USA Elite Under-23 team, including combining for 53 points in a friendly game.

Smith and Kendrick are both part of a 12-man roster that starts pool play against seven other countries Saturday morning in Tourcoing, which is located in northern France near Belgium. The event is the 24th edition of the World Tournament of the Young Guard Basketball. On Friday the Americans had a warmup game against Aste Kain, a local club, and the Rebel duo led Team USA to an 87-71 victory. The box score and photos can be found here.

Kendrick hit 61.1 percent on 2s (11-for-18) to go along with six steals, four rebounds and three assists, although he also had three turnovers. Smith made 33.3 percent on 2s (5-for-15), 77.8 percent on free throws (7-for-9) and he finished with seven rebounds, two steals and four turnovers. Both men hit 2-of-4 on 3-pointers and both finished with a +/- of +19 while on the court.

Pool play begins Saturday at 1 a.m. Las Vegas time. Team USA first plays Poland, and then at 7 a.m. they play Russia. On Sunday Team USA finishes pool play against Denmark, again at 1 a.m. Las Vegas time. The games are played with 10-minute quarters.

After pool play the teams are ranked and then play a semifinal to set up Monday’s championship game. On Sunday there’s also a dunk contest, or as it appears on the website, Concour de Dunks.

Since the website is in French, and I don’t speak French, I had to run it through Google translator, which is a fun rabbit hole to fall down for any foreign site. According to the translation, last year’s event, which Team USA won, was a great success in part because it displayed all the values of the tournament: team spirit, solidarity and rage defeat. Um, sure.

Anyway, the site does have a video page that purports to stream the games live although who knows if it will work. Of course, if you’re at home at 1 a.m. on the weekend trying to stream a tournament in France for a glimpse of two featured Rebels, maybe it’s time to reevaluate things.

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

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