Friday, June 13, 2008 | 1:48 p.m.
UNLV basketball coach Lon Kruger must be feeling a little snake bit about his big men.
The Rebels today announced they've lost 6-foot-8 forward Matt Shaw for next season with a knee injury. Shaw tore a ligament in a pickup basketball game and will need surgery.
Last season Kruger cobbled together a small lineup with 6-foot-7 wingman Joe Darger having to play center after losing it natural post players to grade and disciplinary problems.
Darger, a good outsider shooter, returns and should be able to move to a more natural small forward position because of the addition of two freshmen big men. Beas Hamga, the 7-foot center who redshirted last year while he cleared up grade problems, already is practicing as the team prepares for a summer trip to Australia. Brice Massamba, a 6-foot-10 forward and center from Sweden, played last year at Findlay Prep in Henderson and won't join the team until fall practice.
Shaw stepped up his game as a sophomore, and played in all 35 games. His play helped UNLV earn its second straight Mountain West tournment title and another NCAA Tournament appearance.
Here's the team's official release on Shaw's injury.