UNLV Basketball Recruiting Predictions: 10/28/19



The Runnin’ Rebels already have a loaded 2020 recruiting class. It’s ranked in the top 15 nationally, and on paper, they don’t even have open scholarships to give. Still, that hasn’t stopped TJ Otzelberger from seeking out further talent to add to that class. 


Mwani Wilkinson is the Rebels’ primary target at the moment. The high-flyer from local powerhouse Gorman is being targeted by a who’s who of Power 5 programs. Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, and LSU among them. UNLV is a finalist and has an extremely close relationship with the 4-star wing, but they’re on the outside looking in regarding their chances to land Wilkinson


Right now LSU is the odds on favorite to earn his commitment. I’m going to say here, and now that is where I fully expect him to go to college. Some will call it a huge miss by Otzelberger and his staff. Fact is losing out on a highly touted local like Mwani will undoubtedly sting. However, Wilkinson has family ties to Baton Rouge, so, unsurprisingly, he may want to play in the SEC close to his loved ones.  


Personally, I think Wilkinson is a hell-of-a player. He is undoubtedly a freak-of-nature athlete, and his defense is advanced. He’s a good on-ball defender and a terrific shot blocker. That being said, he’s generously listed at 6’6 (He’s more like 6’4), and his basketball abilities are quite behind his athleticism right now. That’s not to say they won’t catch up, but given the system the Rebs run now, is Wilkinson the best fit? 


UNLV is loaded at guard and wing for 2020. Not only will Donnie Tillman, Amauri Hardy, Jonah Antonio, and Bryce Hamilton be slated to return next season, but they’ll be joined by fellow guards and wings David Jenkins, Nick Blake, Donavan Yap, and Isaac Lindsey. That’s a lot of firepower, but UNLV desperately needs some size to add to that mix. Only Jhaylon Martinez and Moses Wood will stand at 6’8 or above among the newcomers (6’11 and 6’8 respectively). 


That’s why 2020 prospect Reece Brown is so intriguing. Analytics have arrived at UNLV, so even among your big men, you need shooters. Brown, who just took his official visit with the Rebels (Wisconsin and Georgetown have already offered the Connecticut native) this past weekend, is the stretch four the UNLV roster needs. He’s plenty athletic himself. As a long, rangy 6’9, he has ample leaping ability, can handle the basketball, and, more importantly, can step out and hit the three-ball. 


From what I’m told about his visit, Brown sounds 100% bought into what Otzelberger is trying to accomplish. That, and his game is ready-made to fill a needed niche: size, shooting, and the desire to be a Rebel. With my prediction of Mwani most likely heading to LSU, I fully expect a commitment from Brown. If that’s the case, it’s not a Top 150 local staying home, but it’ll still be a recruiting victory for UNLV


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