The day that UNLV fans have been waiting for finally arrived, as on Wednesday the school unveiled the bronze statue built in honor for Jerry Tarkanian, one of the most successful coaches in basketball history. In 19 seasons at UNLV, “Tark the Shark” won 509 games and led the Runnin’ Rebels to their lone national title (1990) and three other Final Four appearances.
Overall Tarkanian recorded 990 wins as a college head coach, with the run including stops at Riverside (Calif.) City College, Pasadena (Calif.) City College, Long Beach State and Fresno State in addition to UNLV. Tarkanian won 81% of the games he coached, and at the Division I level his teams made 14 NCAA tournament appearances (13 trips to the Sweet 16).
And just over a month after he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, Tarkanian was able to sit next to an oversized statue of himself, with the famous wet towel present as well. The extra chair is a part of the statue, allowing visiting fans to sit down next to the coach and have their picture taken. The statue is located in front of the Thomas & Mack Center and behind the Mendenhall Center, where the basketball team practices.
“This beautiful statue is a lasting tribute to not only me but all my players and coaches,” Jerry Tarkanian said. “… I never dreamed something like this could happen.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry