Monday, April 11, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
- Tarkanian: Dave Rice is a hard worker who deserves support
- Dave Rice learned his craft while part of UNLV’s legendary teams
- Dave Rice to be named UNLV’s next men’s basketball head coach
- Loaded junior class wows coaches at Gorman, waits to see what happens at UNLV
- Former BYU players recall Dave Rice’s impact, believe he’s earned shot at dream job
- UNLV announces official list of finalists for vacant men’s basketball job
- Livengood returns to Las Vegas today; coaching search hitting home stretch
- Lon Kruger says he doesn’t see Oklahoma as a rebuilding project
- Notebook: UNLV AD Jim Livengood’s coaching search heats up in Houston
- UNLV players, recruits react to news of Kruger's departure
- Brewer: Kruger leaving for Oklahoma isn't all that bad
- Jerry Tarkanian: Oklahoma's athletic department has deep pockets
- So, who's the odds-on favorite for Kruger's job?
- A look at Lon Kruger's coaching history at UNLV
- The coaches who have led the Rebels through the decades
Bishop Gorman High basketball coach Grant Rice welcomes literally hundreds of college coaches to the private school each year to recruit his roster of the Las Vegas Valley’s best players.
When the coaches — such as Roy Williams from North Carolina, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Bill Self of Kansas — step into his office, the first thing they see is Rice’s framed No. 30 UNLV basketball jersey hanging on the walls.
Now, when coaches arrive at his office, they will surely notice more of his decorations — especially the family photos. Rice’s older brother, Dave, was announced Sunday as UNLV’s new coach.
“I’m a proud Rebel just like Dave is a proud Rebel,” said Grant Rice, who was part of UNLV’s 1999 Mountain West Conference championship team.
Having a recruiting edge at Gorman, a perennial Nevada power that is respected nationally, will be huge advantage for Dave Rice. The Gaels have a group of the nation’s most sought-after prospects for the class of 2012 in swingman Shabazz Muhammad, and forwards Rosco Allen, Ben Carter and Demetris Morant.
Muhammad is a consensus top-five overall recruit, who attracts the likes of Williams and Self to league games in the middle of the season to watch Gorman win by 40 points.
When news spread this week that Dave Rice was a candidate to replace Lon Kruger, who left for a lucrative contract at Oklahoma, Grant Rice started fielding call after call from supporters trying to contact his brother. At school, the players were equally curious.
“A lot of the kids came up to me today and were really excited,” Rice said. “I was finally able to talk with them about it. This is Las Vegas and UNLV basketball, so everyone wanted to know what was going on.”
Rice has always told his Gorman players what UNLV had to offer. Now, his brother will be nearby to hammer home the message.
“We’ve always talked about UNLV,” Rice said. “All of (Gorman’s players) grew up in Las Vegas. Most of them just missed the heyday, but a lot of them watched the HBO documentary on the Rebels and know all about the history.”
But, by no means does that mean other schools won’t have access to Gorman’s athletes. Grant Rice knows that would be a disservice to his players.
“I will be honest with the kids and the families. That has always been our philosophy,” Grant Rice said. “We aren’t going to force them to go anywhere. If the family asks us for help, we will give them an honest opinion.
“Just because you are a Division I player doesn’t mean you will go to UNLV or fit in at UNLV.”
Dave Rice has more going for him with the Gorman players than the relationship with his brother.
While at BYU, Rice offered Allen his first scholarship — before his sophomore season, and long before Allen became the nation’s No. 23 overall prospect by Rivals.com
Rice also offered Carter his first scholarship, realizing the lanky 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward had talent last year during his sophomore year — when Carter often received little, or no, playing time.
“He had an interest in them before anyone else did,” Grant Rice said.
Carter, who has offers from the likes of UNR, New Mexico and BYU, will surely add others this spring and summer when the AAU season heats up. Saturday, for instance, Carter scored 28 points against Compton Magic — one of the most respected AAU teams.
Carter had visited with Kruger multiple times on campus and plans to do the same with Rice.
“I think (Dave Rice) will do a great job,” Carter said. “I already have a great relationship with him. I’m definitely looking forward to meeting with coach Rice and his staff.”