Dave Rice’s UNLV Runnin’ Rebels will begin the most anticipated season in the recent history of the program north of the border.
The school released its travel plans for a trip to Canada in August, which will begin on August 16 and finish up on the 22nd of the month.
UNLV, who many expect to be a preseason Top 10 team based on not only who they add but also who they return, will play exhibitions in both Ottawa and Montreal.
The NCAA allows all eligible players, which includes incoming freshmen, to take part in the trip and there are also ten practices (which begin on August 4) at Rice’s disposal beforehand.
Players such as freshmen Anthony Bennett, DaQuan Cook, Demetris Morant and Katin Reinhardt and USC transfer Bryce Jones will all be allowed to participate in the trip.
The lone player who will be unable to take part is Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch. Birch, who will miss out on playing in his native Montreal as a result, is a mid-year transfer and that rules him out per NCAA rules.
However he will be able to practice in the days leading up to the team’s departure for Canada, and that alone should help the Runnin’ Rebels out even more from a chemistry standpoint.
Starters Anthony Marshall and Mike Moser return for a team that won 23 games in 2011-12, and key reserves such as guard Justin Hawkins and center Carlos Lopez will also be back.
UNLV will be faced with some stiff competition in the Mountain West next season with San Diego State leading the way.
But a season that will begin in Canada could very well finish in Atlanta. What they do north of the border will be the first step towards that goal.