Freshman guard Katin Reinhardt.
Leading up to the start of the regular season, RunRebs will be profiling every significant player on the UNLV roster in a series we call "Meet the Rebels." Today's focus: freshman guard Katin Reinhardt.
Two of the biggest question marks surrounding this year's UNLV team concern the backcourt: Do the Rebels have a natural distributor? And where is the perimeter scoring going to come from?
In freshman Katin Reinhardt, the Rebels might have an answer to both of those queries.
The Rebels sport one of the deepest and most talented frontcourts in the country, so conventional wisdom holds that opponents will be focusing most of their defensive attention on the painted area. That means the 3-point line should be vulnerable, and UNLV will need to knock down shots to keep opponents honest. The Rebels will also need a steady passer who can get the ball to those big guys, even when defenses are collapsing on them.
Reinhardt believes he can handle the dual roles. The 6-foot-5 guard was a prolific scorer in high school, and he's often categorized as a shooter first and foremost. But Reinhardt is comfortable being a creator as well. If he can contribute as a passer and a scorer, it would make the Rebels a more complete team.
"I don't consider myself a shooter as much as just a basketball player," said Reinhardt. "Growing up, I studied a lot of Dwyane Wade, just watching the way he played the combo guard position. And I really look up to Steve Nash, for the way he plays point guard and also shoots the ball. That's the way I want to play the game."
As a senior at Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.), Reinhardt averaged 18.6 points and 2.4 assists per game. He's known for getting hot from long distance, as he had five games of five-plus 3-pointers last season, including a high of nine treys in a win over Christ the King (New York, N.Y.). He says he's comfortable shooting up to three feet behind the NBA 3-point line, so the range is there.
But despite being able to hit from anywhere just inside the halfcourt line, Reinhardt isn't always looking for his shot.
"I don't have a scorer's mentality," he said. "I try to make plays. Whether that's making a play for myself or making a play for my teammates, that's something I let the defense decide. If I'm going to the basket and guys are closing in, I'll kick it out and just look to make the right play."
Coach Dave Rice has said on several occasions that he recruited Reinhardt to be a combo guard, and that Reinhardt can run the point in this system. The freshman's ability to create should give the Rebels options, especially when he's sharing the backcourt with senior Anthony Marshall. Like Reinhardt, Marshall is another combo guard who possesses scoring and distributing skills.
When UNLV is running in the open floor, either player should be able to push the ball and make plays in transition. It would make the Rebels even more dangerous on the fast break than last year, when they shot 56 percent in transition while fielding one of the nation's most efficient attacks.
That's assuming Reinhardt can earn significant minutes as a freshman. He's been effective in practice so far, and looks to be on track to carve out a significant role, whether he's starting or coming off the bench. With his ability to run the offense and fire away from 3-point land, Reinhardt could be the answer to some very important questions.
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