UNLV’s 2012 men’s basketball recruiting class — including both high-profile transfers and higher-profile prep stars — is the most impressive collection of incoming talent the program has seen at one time in more than two decades.
And while next season’s newcomers are sure to provide plenty of excitement and likely help lead the program to bundles of wins, there’s no time for Rebels coach Dave Rice and his staff to rest.
Aside from figuring out how to make a star-studded roster click heading into the 2012-13 campaign, the Rebel coaches will hit the road heavily again next month to continue its work on the 2013 recruiting class.
Already in place is Findlay Prep forward Christian Wood, who committed last summer, and rural Nevada high school scoring legend Dantley Walker, who signed as a member of the 2011 recruiting class before heading off on a two-year mission in Spokane, Wash.
In all likelihood, UNLV will look to add at least two more pieces to its 2013 recruiting class. Here’s a closer look at who the staff has on its radar as it hits the road for a month of evaluations around the country.
• Isaac Hamilton — 6-foot-4 combo guard — St. John Bosco/Los Angeles, Calif.
Easily the most high-profile target on UNLV’s radar in the 2013 class, the staff is going to be jockeying for position with several traditional powers in pursuit of Hamilton. He has impressive bloodlines, too, as the younger brother of former Texas star Jordan Hamilton, who was a first round pick of the Denver Nuggets in last June’s NBA draft.
• Dakarai Allen — 6-foot-5 wing — Sheldon High/Sacramento, Calif.
UNLV is believed to be in strong shape with Allen, who Rivals.com ranks as the No. 128 prospect in the 2013 class. He’s been part of a winning program at Sheldon High, squaring off for a state title this spring against Mater Dei and incoming UNLV freshman guard Katin Reinhardt. Associate head coach Justin Hutson will be crucial in Allen’s recruitment. Allen, who took an unofficial visit to UNLV back in April, comes from the same AAU program — Play Hard Play Smart — that produced one of Hutson’s top finds as a recruiter — San Diego State senior guard and fellow Sacramento native Chase Tapley.
• Jermaine Lawrence — 6-foot-9 power forward — Pope John XXIII/Sparta, N.J.
As UNLV continues to make recruiting inroads along the East Coast, the latest desired territory it looks to make a mark in is New Jersey. Lawrence is pretty wide open with a wealth of suitors. UNLV is one of only a couple out west in the hunt, but it’s recent equity built on the East Coast could keep them there.
• Tyree Robinson — 6-foot-4 wing — Lincoln High/San Diego, Calif.
• Tyrell Robinson — 6-foot-4 wing — Lincoln High/San Diego, Calif.
This recruitment could go in any of several directions. The twins are each standouts not only as wing scorers on the hardwood, but also on the football field. It’s hard to tell which path the duo will take, or if they’ll both try to play, well, both. Also, there is no indication that they are for sure looking to go to the same school. Either way, UNLV is interested. In both.
• Elijah Brown — 6-foot-3 combo guard — Mater Dei/Santa Ana, Calif.
The list of suitors is growing for the son of Lakers coach Mike Brown. It also doesn’t hurt UNLV in its recruitment of him that he’s a former high school teammate of Katin Reinhardt, though the Rebels’ staff is still very much in the evaluation phase with Brown.
• London Perrantes — 6-foot point guard — Crespi High/Encino, Calif.
Perrantes is an under-the-radar true point, and UNLV will keep a close eye on him to see what kind of summer he has. Despite the now-proven ability of Rice and his staff to land big whales on the recruiting trails, they know that diamonds in the rough still are a part of almost every recruiting class. He has a chance to break out some this summer, playing for Pump-N-Run Elite.
• Sir Washington — 6-foot-3 point guard — Clark High/Las Vegas, Nev.
Like Perrantes, Washington’s list of offers is slowly growing, and UNLV is watching things closely. Also like Perrantes, Washington has a big summer ahead on a loaded Las Vegas Prospects squad.
• Rashad Muhammad — 6-foot-4 combo guard — Bishop Gorman/Las Vegas, Nev.
While the staff will heavily pursue a couple of younger locals this summer (2014 guard Shaquile Carr of Canyon Springs and Gorman’s 2015 big man Stephen Zimmerman, for example), no Las Vegas prospect might be more intriguing than Rashad Muhammad. The name makes that obvious, as he’s the younger brother of UCLA-bound Shabazz Muhammad, who was the 2012 class’s top overall recruit. Rashad is a much different player, and could show that off in a big way in his first summer playing for the Las Vegas Prospects. Along with UNLV, several major programs around the country will be watching, too.