Junior forward Roscoe Smith isn’t UNLV’s flashiest player, but Rebel fans will want to follow him closely this season. That’s because head coach Dave Rice says Smith is the prototype for the Runnin’ Rebels’ future.
Rice wants his team to defend full-court, trap and create defensive chaos. That means his players have to be able to cover a lot of ground and possess the physical talent to switch on to different positions and defend different skill sets. The 6-foot-8 Smith, who transferred to UNLV from Connecticut, has the talent, speed and drive to create all the havoc Rice could ask for.
And on the other end of the floor, Rice wants players who can turn defense into offense, excel in transition and present mismatches by being able to play inside-out.
All of which is basically a scouting report on Smith.
“To play in the Dave Rice system and be a Runnin’ Rebel, you have to be athletic,” Smith says. “And when I say ‘athletic,’ I don’t mean jump out of the gym. I mean versatile. Long, athletic, able to defend the 1 through the 5 if need be. And you have to put pressure on the defense by being a threat from the inside or outside.”
But Smith won’t single himself out as the prototype.
“We have a lot of players who are like that,” he says. “That’s why I think this team can do great things this year.”