Analysis:

Reinhardt’s departure creates even larger void for 2013-14 Rebels to fill

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV coach Dave Rice talks to guards Katin Reinhardt and Bryce Dejan-Jones during their second round game against Cal at the NCAA Basketball Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2013 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. UNLV lost to Cal 64-61 to exit the tournament after one game for the fourth year in a row.

Dave Rice isn’t out right now looking for a player to grab his ball and play for the Rebels this season. Despite the sudden departure of Katin Reinhardt, who ranked second in shots and minutes last season, Rice is content with the group he has now and content to keep that scholarship open for a possible midyear transfer.

That group has a very difficult task in front of it as the bulk of UNLV’s 2012-13 production has walked out the door for one destination or another. Three Rebels — Anthony Marshall, Justin Hawkins and Quintrell Thomas — are out of eligibility while another trio — Anthony Bennett (NBA), Mike Moser (Oregon) and Reinhardt — left for either the pros or another college destination.

What they left behind is an uncertain future for the remaining players, which include a group of six who have never played a minute for UNLV. What are those guys going to have to replace, and who’s most likely to rise to the occasion? There aren’t any definitive answers yet, but there are certainly some clues.

What’s gone?

Interpersonal issues aside, you could create a pretty decent team out of the six departing Rebels. There’s one player who could man at least one of the five positions, plus a backup who could fill in for a couple of different spots.

Overall, the six former Rebels accounted for 71 percent (1,774) of UNLV’s points in the 2012-13 season while using 70 percent (4,934) of the total minutes. The group also dished out 77 percent (430) of the assists and grabbed 62 percent (869) of the rebounds. That was going to be tough to replace even before Reinhardt’s departure.

The Rebels also lost six players after Rice’s first season, though that was easier to make up for. Since the transfers from that group — Reggie Smith and Karam Mashour — were both role players at the end of the bench, their departures didn’t have the same impact. That group accounted for 44 percent (1,164) of the 2011-12 season's points while using 46 percent (3,298) of the total minutes.

The incoming class that included Reinhardt and Bennett easily made up for that. Whether you believe the next recruiting class can do the same depends on how ready you think a few former Division I players will be to reacclimate to this level.

What’s coming in?

Last year, Bennett was the clear star of the class, and as a one-and-done candidate, the staff started to prepare for life without him before he even suited up. It should come as little surprise then that the best breakout candidate from the group of six who’ve never played a minute for UNLV has already been on campus for a year.

UConn transfer Roscoe Smith’s advantage isn’t solely his time spent practicing with the Rebels, though that’s certainly a factor. Two years ago, Moser burst onto the scene after sitting on the bench for a season.

That situation was different because Moser sat for Lon Kruger and played for Rice. Working with the same staff would seem to be an advantage for Roscoe Smith, as would the giant hole in production that either graduated or walked out the door.

UNLV is going to need a leader, preferably somebody already on the roster. All signs point to this being Bryce Dejean-Jones’ team with Khem Birch providing some leadership by example. But talk to anybody around the program and within the first few minutes, you’ll hear about how big a role Roscoe Smith might shoulder this season.

Physically, he’s very similar to Moser — a couple pounds here, an inch there — and possesses a similar offensive skill set. Roscoe Smith probably attacks the rim a little more than Moser, though until he steps back on the court, that’s only speculation. He played predominantly on the perimeter for the practice team in order to work on his jump shot and ball handling, both of which improved throughout the year.

Put simply, Roscoe Smith is an early favorite for the Mountain West Conference Newcomer of the Year. And although there are a couple of four-star players in the rest of the group, he’s the best bet to have an instant impact.

The other players with previous Division I experience are guards Jelan Kendrick and DeVille Smith. Kendrick, a 6-foot-7 junior who can play point guard or the wing, took a circuitous route to UNLV, enrolling at Ole Miss, Memphis and Indian Hills Community College before finding his way to Las Vegas. Back in March, he and Roscoe Smith starred for the USA Elite Under-23 team at a tournament in France.

DeVille Smith is a speedy point guard with a nice shot who started at Mississippi State and then went to a junior college because of a coaching change. He’s probably the current favorite to be the opening-game starter at point guard, though Kendrick, incoming freshman Kendall Smith and returner Daquan Cook will all get a shot at it.

Kendrick was a four-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, but his history suggests he’s just as likely to bust as he is boom with the Rebels. Findlay Prep product Chris Wood is the other four-star player in the class, and he will immediately compete with redshirt freshman Demetris Morant, a former rival from Bishop Gorman, for whatever interior minutes are left behind Birch and Carlos Lopez-Sosa.

Rounding out the group is Dantley Walker, the Nevada high school all-time leading scorer who’s returning from a two-year LDS mission. No one is sure what to expect after the long layoff, and that plus the crowded backcourt makes Walker a likely redshirt candidate.

Who will replace Reinhardt?

The Rebels were going to have to count on a lot of different players to step up into new roles this season. Reinhardt’s departure just puts a little more pressure on those guys while freeing up some minutes.

The biggest beneficiaries could be DeVille Smith and Kendall Smith. While Dejean-Jones can play the 2 or the 3, he was already likely to play more 2, and that’s now assuredly the case. That move could open some minutes at 3 for Roscoe Smith (who can play the 3 and 4) and Kendrick.

But Dejean-Jones isn’t going to play 40 minutes a game, and the most likely guys to spell him are the remaining Smiths. DeVille Smith is primarily a point guard, but his scoring potential — 16.7 ppg on 52 percent shooting last year — is good enough to be a shooting guard, so long as he can get his shot off (he's 5-foot-11 and will be guarded by taller players most games). And Kendall Smith was a great scorer in high school who could thrive in a limited role as a true freshman.

Reinhardt’s development was going to be a major storyline of this season for UNLV. Instead, it will simply be how the remaining pieces develop without him.

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: 26 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. I think the Rebels will surprise people next year and get better as the season goes along. They should benefit greatly by being able to start practice two weeks earlier and getting six more practice sessions than last year due to an offseason rule change.

  2. Whoooooaaa Taylor.... Nice job of breezing over the glaring fact that the rebels will have ZERO outside shooting except for BdJ .... And he will get double teamed and I expect to see a little frustration.... Depicting deville smith as having a "nice " shot is gratuitous at best. He can't shoot a lick. "Speedy" point guards that have a "nice " shot are stars..... Speedy point guards without a shot are wild and if over machines... Or he'd still be At miss st. This is very bad. College bball is a three point shooting contest. Roscoe is at best a spot of sometime 3 point shooter . Rebels will do USB 19 wins and NIT.

  3. Katin Reinhardt's 3pt% last season: 35.1% (http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketba...)

    Deville Smith's 3pt% last season: 38.8% (http://stats.njcaa.org/sports/mbkb/2012-...)

    Last time I checked, 3pt line in JUCO is same as D1.

    I think people are overstating Katin's 3pt shooting ability, which is good, but he's takes so many bad shots that it doesn't matter.

    Deville left Miss St. because of a coaching change, not because he lacked the ability. He was in line to see a lot of minutes at the point before he left.

    I'll sacrifice a little bit of a perceived loss in the shooting ability for what should be a marked improvement in the team chemistry area. I think we'll see a team with a little more of a defined style of play on the offensive end as opposed to what we saw last year.

    I can definitely understand your concern, but I really think that you're off base on this one. I'd be shocked if we are not a NCAA tournament team next year.

  4. @RebelJedi - DeVille Smith scored 25 points in only 18 minutes in a game at Arkansas as a true freshman. He left Mississippi State because of a coaching change. So did Rodney Hood. Are you saying that Rodney Hood is no good? College basketball isn't a three point shooting contest either. Louisville won the tournament last year, and they weren't as good of a three point shooting team as Michigan. Finally, I have to agree with Mike Lange. We should make the tournament. We should start at least four juniors.

  5. Birch is going to be a star. Jones is an NBA player if he learns to control himself and take good shots. R Smith will be a tough guy inside- much tougher than Moser. Key will be Kendrick- if he plays to his potential this could be a very good team.

  6. +1 MikeLange!

  7. Sometimes, the subtraction of a detractor (or distracted person) is exactly what a team needs to get better.

  8. Agree with MikeLang on overstating Reinhardt's abilities.

    I think it's good (or at least it should be) that Reinhardt is gone. I'll post the same thing as I did on the previous article...he's slow, he makes bad decisions, and his shooting definitely doesn't make up for it (WAY overstated). He didn't get significantly better as the year went on. Good luck to him in the future, but I'd much rather see someone else in there with either/both more natural talent, or a higher basketball IQ.

  9. Reinhardt got a lot of minutes due to Hawkins' odd regression and a lack of back court depth. That court time revealed Reinhardt to be a one way player - strictly spot, pop and shoot. Feet were way too slow to defend anyone, and his judgement in open court transition was questionable at best.

    While he and Mr. Kaitin might believe Kaitin can run a team from the point, Andy Enfield knows he'll convince him otherwise, while refining an outside shot that needs work. The result will be a nice outside shooter that gets a few paychecks in Europe or China. Good for Kaitin, in that regard.

    As for the Rebels, if they really do plan on moving back to pressure defense and Run As One, it'll be done with guys that don't have cement feet, like BDJ and the new crew. Good for the Rebels with Kaitin and Mr. Kaitin out of the picture, in that regard.

    This really is a win win for everyone.

  10. This team certainly is intriguing. Lots of speed and athletes. If Coach Rice cannot get this team to run and press, I am not sure he ever will. That style would seem to be a perfect fit for this roster. Kind of excited to see how the guys do with new roles, and see the new guys and what they can bring. Shooting is always nice, however, the 1988-89 team made it all the way to the Elite Eight with a some very streaky shooters like Hunt, Rossum and B. Young, and all others were complete brick layers. But they were long, athletic and played with enormous intensity. They were relentless. Here is hoping Coach Rice can get the same kind of effort out of this group.

  11. @gumby2323 - I agree with you that it's run this year or never. I also think that the defensive potential for this team is off the charts. Finally, I feel like the offense will be better because they have some pure point guards on the roster this year.

  12. What is funnier, watching Reinhardt play against Oregon last year or the thought that someone else will give him the PT he wants at the point? The announcers were making fun of both him and Bryce-Jones on television. What a spoiled unloyal kid!Besides, where are we going to get someone else that looks and acts like Jim Carrey?

  13. LOL , and so it begins. Losing players left and right, Livengood suddenly retiring,call it what ever you want but the real reason behind it all lies with the coach. UNLV basketball will be as bad as the football program by the time Dave Rice is done with it. This is the beginning of the end, you just watch and see. But then you have Phillips to keep up all our hopes.

  14. Karin's three point shooting and devilles aren't in the same hemisphere. Seriously? No disrespect to Deville , , I hoping he's a great player for rebels. However those stats are worthless..l...for gods sake at one point Anthony Marshall was shooting 50% from threes this season......Katin also took a lot of shots with shot clock expiring when the rebels "offense" sputtered. Mark my words the rebels will struggle mightily from deep...even with katin they would have but that dynamic is totally different now....

  15. I can clearly remember the rebels harassing the hell out of jammer freddette when he was a freshman.....Reinhardt had a bright future. I actually disagree with most and think he had a lot of point guard instincts........either way the rebels need some shooters....college ball has become a three point shooting contest and we will struggle in that area.

  16. Not a three point contest huh? Ask Rick pitino that. He is the man who himself discovered the " new math" of college ball and how important the 3 point shot is.....might wanna revisit providence.....Kentucky..etc. your average college teams don't have legit big men, and with college rules , the ball gets worked around back and forth til someone jacks a three....now a great defense team can create some easy twos but trust me it IS about 3 's. ask Louisville and the white kid that busted all those threes and won the game for them....

  17. College basket ball doesn't have the open space that the nba gets...you don't get the clean pick and rolls you see in the nba.......it's one of the reasons college ball is so unpredictable nowadays.........the rebels will struggle to bout 19 wins I say.....ps....30 yr rebel fan....don't miss a game...........usually optimistic.......

  18. @RebelJedi - Louisville shot 33.3% from three last season, and they won the national championship. Michigan shot 38.5% from three last season, yet it wasn't enough.

    @fedup2here (Kenny Rogers) - The Rebels have too much talent to be as bad as the football team.

    The bright spot heading into next season is that Bennett, Moser, and Reinhardt, the three worst defenders last year, are no longer on the team. The Rebels were 19th in field goal percentage defense, 58th in three point goal percentage defense, and 18th in rebounding margin. They finished 8th in blocked shots per game. Their weak spot on defense is that they were 109th in steals per game. I honestly believe that they have the potential to finish in the top 10 in field goal and three point field goal percentage defense as well as blocks and steals per game. I think their rebounding numbers will fall a little bit without Bennett, Moser, and Thomas. Finally, they did pretty well on defense last year playing a defense that wasn't really conducive to either the athletes they had or the style they want to play.

  19. Three point shooting is a nice weapon to have. But part of why zones have become so much of the craze defensively is that most teams cannot shoot. The average three point percentage of the last 5 national champs is .364. Last year UNLV shot .329 from three. That happens to be the same percentage that UConn shot during their national championship season in 2011. Sure we would love to have some great shooters, but if Rice gets this team to press, trap and run like he always talks about doing, we will get easy baskets and not have to rely on that ugly half court offense we watched many times last year. This team is built to run and that does not mean occassionally. This team can be successful if Coach Rice truly commits to the system he promised when he arrived.

  20. "non-existent defender".

  21. Gumby is right. Three pt shooting is a VERY nice weapon to have. Reinhardt's percentage wasnt that great but that was due to his shot selection...which is always suspect for any freshman 2 guard who plays significant minutes.

    Part of the maturation process is taking better shots which eventually leads to a better percentage...but we'll never know now. Bottom line is the kid could shoot it & WE WILL miss it. I think we all remember the season when Shaw got launched & Wallace blew out his knee...we couldnt shoot it AT ALL that yr & we struggled.

    The good news is that, unlike Kruger, Rice now has the WILL, depth, athleticism, & length to extend & pressure for 94 feet. I dont see how he has any choice BUT TO play full court at every opportunity now in order to generate more transition looks to help off set our now weaker shooting. But at least we have that option in place!! Walker is the only pure shooter on the roster now...be interesting to see how & if they use him this season. I'm looking forward to the season, it has some mystery & potential.

  22. Seriously though. Is coach Rice really that bad? Is he really running off all of these players? Obviously no player is going to bad-mouth a coach as he's walking out the door, but does anyone know the truth?

  23. @djonian81 - I agree with you that the Rebels are going to have to do whatever they can to speed up the tempo. However, I think they'll have to do so because they lack bulk. Carlos Lopez-Sosa is the heaviest player at 225 lbs. UNLV only shot 32.9% from three last season. It's going to be hard not to shoot better than that next year. Justin Hawkins really hurt them in the shooting department last year. He took exactly three three pointers per game last year, and he only shot 25.7%. Moser only shot 26.7% from three, and he took just over two three pointers per game.

  24. Coach Hut's defense was very good statistically, though it was not conducive to running. There's no question that we should have less holes on offense, my guess is that the defensice efficientcy statistics will get worse due to the learning curve of a new defensice style, and a higger risk pressure defense that wlll give up some easy baskets.
    The flip side to that is hopefully we get more easy basket opportunities ourselves. Last's year's fast break offense was the worst I have ever seen. Hopefully they can fix that and be a good running team.
    I think next year's team will struggle against good defensive teams that can slow it down effectively. I think lose KR will hurt the most in half court offense due to his shooting. His % wasn't great, but it was because he took to many bad shots. A little more maturity would have lead to better shots and probably a much better 3 pt % next year.
    Comparing the absketball team to the football is absolutely ridiculous. Rice has gotten his team to the tournament 2/2 years which is the equivalent to a making a lower level bowl game in col fb. Rice is recruiting mostly 4 and 5 star players, FB is lucky to get 5-10% 3 star players.

  25. My sides are splitting from laughing so hard! Rice was the dumb@ss to waste a scholarship on this scumbag. Last year someone else could've got the minutes and experience. Another bonehead move by Rice!

  26. @Sinatra711 (Anthony Sinatra) - Every coach has a miss on recruiting. He's had some hits such as Khem Birch and Anthony Bennett.