UNLV made waves nationally when it landed a commitment from Findlay Prep senior forward and McDonald’s All-American Anthony Bennett on Saturday afternoon.
And, apparently, Dave Rice and his staff are not done trying to fill out their roster.
UNLV has one vacant scholarship left. One option is to keep it open in case an enticing mid-year transfer comes onto the market this winter. Another is to use it on a member of the 2013 senior crop. The third is to just land someone now, and that someone could be UConn transfer Roscoe Smith, who on Tuesday begins an official visit to UNLV. He’ll be in town through Wednesday, as a recruiting dead period begins on Thursday.
Smith, a 6-foot-8 Baltimore native who could end up being eligible immediately at his new school, averaged 4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in a somewhat disappointing sophomore campaign with the Huskies. That came after he averaged 6.3 points and 5.2 rebounds as a freshman starter on UConn’s 2010 national championship team.
Smith is one of a handful of players to leave the UConn program this offseason for either another school or the NBA draft after the program was handed down a punishment from the NCAA that will keep them from participating in the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Since Smith isn’t heading into his final year of eligibility after leaving a program hit with NCAA sanctions, he isn’t automatically eligible immediately, but there’s a waiver process he’d follow through with to try and avoid having to redshirt.
However, if Smith lands at UNLV, taking a redshirt year wouldn’t be the worst outcome for Rice and staff. Landing Bennett gives UNLV one of the nation’s toughest frontcourts this upcoming season. He’s joined by honorable mention All-American Mike Moser, who will move from power forward to small forward, and, after the fall semester, star Pitt transfer and fellow Canadian Khem Birch. Junior Carlos Lopez and senior Quintrell Thomas give UNLV depth up front that it hasn’t had in years.
Landing Smith could also help UNLV continue to make headway in Baltimore, which is desired recruiting turf. The program’s first win in Charm City came last summer when it landed a commitment from incoming freshman guard Daquan Cook.
For more on Smith’s recruitment as it develops, stay tuned to RunRebs.com.