The UNLV Rebels comes into this season with a large roster shakeup, but they still look to be competitive in the solid Mountain West conference.
The countdown is officially on. For the second straight year, CBB Review has ranked the top 100 teams in college basketball heading into next season. We will reveal the next team daily until we get to number one. Our number 92 ranked team is the UNLV Rebels.
Losing their top two scorers in Bryce Hamilton (21.8 PPG) and Donovan Williams (12.7 PPG) definitely hurts. Bringing in 7 transfers to the team including Jackie Johnson II and EJ Harkless will help. This senior-led team will look to rely on their experience to carry them this year.
To those who have not, click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams in the 2022-2023 college basketball season.
Head Coach: Kevin Kruger (2nd Season)
2021-2022 Record: 18-14 (10-8)
2022 Postseason Finish: First Round Mountain West Conference Exit
Notable Departures: Bryce Hamilton (Draft), Donovan Williams (Draft), Royce Hamm Jr. (Graduate), Micahel Nuga (Graduate), Josh Baker (Transfer)
PG: Jordan McCabe (6’0, 195, Gr.-Sr)
2021-22 stats: 6.4 points, 4.8 assists, 1.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals
SG: EJ Harkless (6’3, 185, Gr.-Sr)
2021-22 stats: 10.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals (Oklahoma)
SF: Luis Rodriguez (6’6, 210, Sr)
2021-22 stats: 6.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals (Ole Miss)
PF: Isaiah Cottrell (6’10, 245, So)
2021-22 stats: 4.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.7 blocks (West Virginia)
C: David Muoka (6’10, 235, Sr)
2021-22 stats: 2.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks
6: Jackie Johnson III (5’11, 185, So)
2021-22 stats: 9.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 37.3 3P% (Duquesne)
7: Justin Webster (6’3, 185, Sr)
2021-22 stats: 5.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, 32.5 3P%
8: Elijah Parquet (6’4, 195, Gr.-Sr)
9: Keshon Gilbert (6’4, 190, So)
2021-22 stats: 2.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals
10: Karl Jones (6’10, 250, Jr)
2021-22 stats: 10.0 points, 8.2 rebounds (LA Southwest Community College)
11: Shane Nowell (6’6, 215, So)
2021-22 stats: 0.8 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.3 assists (Arizona)
12: Victor Iwuakor (6’7, 225, Sr)
2021-22 stats: 2.2 points, 2.3 rebounds
Team MVP: EJ Harkless
The Oklahoma transfer will need to bring his scoring capability to UNLV from day one. He has averaged at least 8.1 points per game the past three seasons, and this year he will have the largest role he has had in college. With the UNLV Rebels losing close to 40 points per game from players last season, Harkless will be relied upon to be one of the go-to guys for the team.
This UNLV Rebels team has the potential to be a very good defense, and Harkless will play a role in that without a doubt. He has good length for being 6’3, and he does a really good job of pressuring ball handlers into turnovers. He will have free reign to be aggressive as needed this season on defense.
Make-or-Break Player: Jordan McCabe
The 5th-year grad player returns to UNLV as their starting point guard. Last season he averaged 4.8 assists per game while only averaging 1.4 turnovers per game. He is an amazing facilitator and will find guys when they are open. The UNLV Rebels will put the ball in his hands a lot to generate looks for others. He improved a lot defensively last season getting 1.1 steals per game.
His shooting has been a struggle throughout his career. Last season he shot 31.7 percent from 3 on 4.1 attempts per game. If he can improve his shooting, it adds a much-needed element for the Rebels on offense.
Analytic to Know: 220th in eFG%
The UNLV Rebels struggled to shoot the ball last season both from 2s and 3s. They now have lost some of their top scorers, and only have one guy who has shot over 36 percent from 3 last season. If shots start to fall, this becomes a tough team to guard. If they don’t, then teams can afford to pack it in the paint on defense against them, and force them to shoot from the perimeter.
Digits for the year 👀 pic.twitter.com/h2E2x6Fpix— UNLV Men's Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) July 25, 2022
UNLV comes off of a 5th place finish in the Mountain West Conference, and they could not get an NCAA tournament bid. That will be the goal this season. With a lot of shakeups in the MWC, there is no reason the UNLV Rebels can not make a push towards the top. The addition of the new transfers will give this team a different look than last year. This year’s team will be high-intensity on defense, looking to force a lot of turnovers. Fast break opportunities will be their best bet on offense as they will have to find different ways to score.
Projected Conference Finish: 6th in Mountain West Conference
Projected Postseason Finish: NIT/Conference Tournament
Ceiling: NCAA Tournament Round of 32 Exit