unlv basketball 2020-21
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media


UNLV Basketball 2020-21 Season: Yeah… We’re Looking Forward to it.



The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels are looking like they are starting to find their stride.


Despite ending their season with an overall record of 17-15, and a conference record of 12-6, they started to really put their foot on the gas late in the season. The Rebels were one of only two teams to beat San Diego State last season, which is no small feat. 


Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites/Franchise Sports Media

Now, the Runnin’ Rebels are looking to continue that momentum into next season. That starts with the new recruits headed into the program. Even though UNLV is now losing its most experienced scorer in guard Amauri Hardy due to him transferring to Oregon, they are looking to fill in the missing pieces to the puzzle now. 

UNLV is set to have several promising recruits coming in, ranging from a couple of four-star guys such as forward Nick Blake and Jhaylon Martinez. They also have three-star recruits, Isaac Lindsey and Donavan Yap. With a few players leaving the program, whether it be by transfer or the NBA draft, it may be tough for the Rebels to find that same groove as they had late last season. This is a quality incoming recruiting class, though, and the Rebels are up for the challenge.


Especially considering the fact that UNLV just added 6-foot-3- inch guard Caleb Grill. 


A year ago, Grill heavily considered attending UNLV; however, he decided to go with Iowa State instead. Fast forward to a year later, and here he is, a Runnin’ Rebel! With this commitment to UNLV, the Rebels now sit at 15 scholarships, which is two over the maximum. 

In his Freshmen season at Iowa State, Grill averaged 13.7 minutes for the Cyclones and managed to chip in 2.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in 29 games. In addition to that, he did play the final five weeks with a broken wrist. This is an essential recruiting win for UNLV. Caleb Grill is going to bring more perimeter shooting for the Runnin’ Rebels. Despite shooting 25 percent from behind the arc at Iowa State, Grill is regarded as a shooter. With the fundamentals and proper shooting form mechanics he already possesses, an improvement on his shooting should be expected


WWJD #9 2020 Runnin Rebels
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

Speaking of recruitment, with Covid-19 currently putting a limit to many things around the world, it hurts the opportunity for the coaching staff to go out and put in the time and effort to scout their prospects. This recruitment period would’ve been the time. Unfortunately, the pandemic puts a halt to all of that. Initially, the NCAA had suspended all in-person recruiting until at least April 15 due to the outbreak, which meant no visits on or off-campus and no viewing spring events. Only time will tell how long the ban may last, but as of right now, it could only continue as the pandemic continues to grow.

Fortunately, for UNLV, most of their recruitment has been local. The staff has spent a lot of time scouting players that are already in their area, which has given the coaching staff a chance to become familiar with the players and vice versa. 


Of course, with everything going on, when it comes to recruiting outside of Las Vegas, UNLV is going to need to come up with a unique plan on how to go about it. Due to the circumstances, coach Otzelberger will have to rely heavily on the film, making phone calls, and looking over the scouting reports to get the information he may need when it comes to scouting prospects. 

As tough as the situation at hand may seem, UNLV is no stranger to a challenge. Despite losing several players, they are making the best of efforts to fill those holes and finish the task of building a championship contender. With some new additions to the team, The Rebels are looking to come back next season stronger than the last, and pick up right where they left off. It will be a tough summer for recruitment, but there is still hope for the program to reel in the prospects that they seek. Only time will tell how things will turn out, but with the determination UNLV and Coach Otzelberger have, things are looking very positive for this team.

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-Terence Smith – Franchise Sports Media


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