The early returns on the Rebel youth movement are impressive, but UNLV fans will also have to be patient as the quality of competition improves. Freshmen Anthony Bennett, Katin Reinhart and Savon Goodman could probably start on almost any team in the country. (Redshirt freshmen Daquan Cook and Demetris Morant would also have been solid contributors on many good teams. And more outstanding young talent is on the way, with Findlay Prep’s Chris Wood having just signed his letter of intent.)
Right now, the Rebel grabbing not only local but national acclaim—from Dick Vitale himself—is Bennett, who scored 22 points in his college debut against Northern Arizona on Nov. 12. Bennett can play everything from the two guard to the five spot. He’s able to post up or take you outside and knock down the 3-pointer, he handles the ball well, and he has good passing skills. In Katin Reinhart you have a guy who can play point guard or can move over to the two guard. He’s a great outside shooter (and a fearless one) and a good passer. Savon Goodman works hard all the time, he can score inside and out, but he’s a good rebounder as well.
It’s a tantalizing mix of talent for Rebel fans. But make no mistake about it, this group is still in a learning process—there will be mistakes, off-games and the occasional 30-foot jump shot that makes you scratch your head. But every one of them plays hard and understands his role on the team. And I once was told by a famous coach that as long as you work as a team, your mistakes will be limited.