UNLV was doing pretty darn well under Lon Kruger. When Kruger opted to take the rebuilding job at Oklahoma a year ago, Dave Rice came back to his alma mater with hopes of keeping his Rebels runnin’ without any slowdown.
Whatever the second-year head coach is doing, it’s working. The Rebs won 26 games last season, and returned to the NCAA tournament for the third time in as many seasons. Rice is now beginning to put his own stamp on the team with his 2012 recruiting class, which already included Katin Reinhardt, Demetris Morant and DaQuan Cook, as well as Pitt transfer Khem Birch. To those luminaries, Rice has just added Findlay Prep forward Anthony Bennett. Bennett’s Twitter announcement was short and sweet: ”Staying out west and will be going to UNLV next year.”
The 6’7″ Bennett is considered a top-10 big man, and he’s drawing comparisons to a UNLV legend, according to Hoopniks.com:
(C)omparisons to former UNLV great Larry Johnson will be inevitable for Bennett. His power, agility and toughness immediately call to memory the game of Johnson in the glory years at UNLV. Bennett is a native of Canada that spent the last couple seasons playing at a high school basketball powerhouse in Findlay Prep, where he was on a star-studded team.
He had a non-traditional recruitment in that he took no official visits, and cut Kentucky and Florida from his list before naming UNLV and Oregon as finalists.
We may want to wait a bit before anointing Bennett as the next Grandmama, but the comparisons are flattering, to say the least. In fact, since Rice played with LJ back in the day, we’ll believe it if and when he puts his stamp of approval on the hyperbole.