Time is on Dave Rice’s side, and he’s determined to utilize every minute of it. While most of the nation’s college basketball teams must wait until next month to begin preparing for the upcoming season, the second-year UNLV coach has been getting an early assessment of his squad before leaving Aug. 16 for its four-game exhibition tour in Canada.
The Rebels, who are scheduled to play games in Ottawa and Montreal this week before returning to Las Vegas on Aug. 22, would have had to wait until Sept. 15 to begin practicing without the trip.
While freshman Anthony Bennett and transfers Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith weren’t able to travel with the team, newcomers such as guards Daquan Cook, Bryce Dejean-Jones (pictured with ball) and Katin Reinhardt will receive invaluable court time. The tour will also allow Rice to give established stars Mike Moser and Anthony Marshall significant minutes at small forward and point guard, respectively, where they figure to play more in the coming season.
Rice anticipates starting four different lineups in the four games, and might even start different lineups in the second half of the exhibitions to experiment with a variety of combinations.
“There’s time to make up for X’s and O’s and schemes and all the things that are important as we get closer to the season,” Rice says. “But there’s no substitute for developing your team chemistry as soon as you possibly can.”