2008 UNLV Rebels Basketball Preview
The UNLV Rebels (27- 8 overall, 12- 4 Mountain West) finished with the second-best record in the Mountain West and earned a NCAA berth. The Rebels beat Kent State 71- 58 in the first round and then lost to Kansas 75- 56. This season coach Lon Kruger will add seven-foot center Beas Hamga, who was a redshirted freshman last year, into the mix. Hamga, who averaged seven blocks per game as a high school senior, could be a huge difference-maker on this team.
The frontcourt features senior power forward Joe Darger (26.8 MPG, 11.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 0.9 APG) who last season played out of place at center. Darger is tough upfront and is also a fine three-point shooter. He’s also a decent rebounder. Junior forward Matt Shaw (19.0 MPG, 6.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.4 APG) will see minutes in the frontcourt. He played well last season in limited action. Hamga will mainly be a defensive specialist in the paint as he continues to work on his offensive skills.
Senior point guard Wink Adams (32.0 MPG, 16.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.1 APG), the Mountain West’s fastest player, is a premier scoring machine and a fine play-maker. His defensive skills wear opponents down and he can hit threes at will. In the off-season, he worked hard to build muscle and slim down. He is simply the best guard in the conference. Transfer Tre’Von Willis is versatile enough to play either the point or the shooting spot. His competitive spirit is contagious and his driven unending. Senior guard Rene’ Rougeau (27.7 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.4 APG) offers solid minutes off the bench.
Kruger is a master at ensuring whatever team he coaches is competitive
and tough. This UNLV team is a mix of mostly seniors and freshmen
with a junior and sophomore or two thrown in for good measure. There’s
a whole lot of potential. The Rebels will contend for the Mountain
West title and should earn an invite to the NCAA Tournament where
they will likely go two-and-out.