UNLV’s 2013 recruiting class isn’t yet complete, but the Rebels secured one of its cornerstones on Wednesday morning as Findlay Prep senior Chris Wood inked his letter of intent to play at UNLV next year.
Wood, a versatile 6-foot-10 forward, committed to UNLV more than a year ago, before Dave Rice had even coached his first game with the Rebels. His emotion was obvious during the signing ceremony at the Findlay Prep gym.
“I’m very excited to finally be a part of the Rebel family,” said Wood. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this day.”
Wood is averaging 15.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game for Findlay this season, and he’s got the kind of multi-faceted game that should help him thrive in Rice’s system.
Findlay Prep coach Todd Simon thinks Wood could be a contributor early on at the college level, even comparing him to another Findlay alum who’s currently showing out for the Rebels.
“Chris is so unique,” said Simon. “I tell Chris all the time, ‘You don’t have a position.’ We use him a lot of the same way we used Anthony Bennett. We can use him on the perimeter, we can use him inside, he runs the floor, he can handle the ball. He creates a lot of the same mismatch problems that Anthony did.”
Simon also mentioned former North Carolina forward John Henson as a good comparison, given Wood’s similar body type, athleticism and ability to defend multiple positions.
Wood, for his part, believes he’ll thrive in the Rebels’ fast-paced attack.
“I think I’ll fit in very well,” said Wood. “Their style of play is just like our style of play. They like to run the floor and that’s what we do here. I feel like as soon as I get there, I’ll be ready.”
With Mike Moser a near certainty to leave for the NBA after this season and Bennett a decent bet to join him, there could be some openings in the UNLV frontcourt as early as next year. Wood thinks he’s got a shot to earn some of those minutes as a freshman.
“If Anthony leaves, I’ll be fighting for that spot,” Wood said, “but I have a lot of work to do to get ready.”
And about those Anthony Bennett comparisons?
“Anthony’s way more stronger than me,” Wood said with a laugh. “In some other ways we might be similar, but if I get to where Anthony is, that would be perfect.”
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