Jon Sandler

UNLV’s longtime radio play-by-play man Jon Sandler gives his Rebel-related picks.

Best Former Rebel. Larry Johnson. Absolutely terrific player. You talk to people from every generation of UNLV basketball, it’s pretty unanimous that they’ll say he was the best.

Best Current Rebel Basketball Player. Mike Moser … until we see what happens this year. What separates Mike is his ability to take over a game and put a team on his back and carry them when he’s on. He can rebound, shoot and dominate defensively with long arms and quick hands.

Best Under-the-Radar Rebel. I guess I’d have to say Bryce Jones. With all the hoopla about all the incoming recruits, you haven’t heard a lot about Bryce. It’s strange to say that a player of his caliber is under the radar, but he kind of is right now. Also, you can’t take anything away from Justin Hawkins. When you combine everything that being a student-athlete entails, Justin does that as well as anyone who has ever been at UNLV.

Best Rebel Tradition. I guess the easy answer is the pregame fireworks, but I’d like to think [it will be] the student section—The Rebellion. Can a tradition develop in one year? If you say it can, I’d say The Rebellion.

Best Rivalry Game to See at the Thomas & Mack. San Diego State. It’s become unlike a lot of rivalries that UNLV has had or has tried to have in the past. It’s a true rivalry. It’s a rivalry of teams that respect one another on the court and students who have fun giving each other a hard time off the court. A true college rivalry pervades a bunch of aspects of college life; this one does, and it’s a shame that it might end [with San Diego State’s planned departure to the Big West Conference]. The games have been competitive. It’s a positive rivalry in the sense that it’s not manufactured. It’s real. It’s organic. And it’s grown up as a result of both teams getting better and better.

Best Non-UNLV Sports Venue in Town. TPC Summerlin to watch the golf tournament. Beautiful scenery, great vantage points, it’s not crowded and you get an opportunity to see great professional golfers up close.