Saturday, July 23, 2011 | 1:55 a.m.
More UNLV Recruiting News
- Emerging Canadian big man Matt Willms likes what he sees in Las Vegas and UNLV (7-23-2011)
- UNLV target Katin Reinhardt impresses, soaks in local attention at Fab 48 (7-22-2011)
- Rebel basketball fans mark their territory, cheer for recruit Shabazz Muhammad (7-22-2011)
- As his star grows, Gorman’s Shabazz Muhammad focuses on avoiding hype (7-22-2011)
- Older brother gets the buzz, but Rashad Muhammad’s profile is rising (7-22-2011)
- Baltimore PG Daquan Cook becomes UNLV’s first 2012 hoops commit (7-21-2011)
- Father helps Gorman’s Ben Carter stay focused as a player rather than a recruit (7-20-2011)
- When and where to see UNLV’s top 2012 recruiting targets this weekend in Las Vegas (7-19-2011)
- As July AAU season kicks off, a closer look at UNLV’s top 2012 recruiting targets (7-5-2011)
- UNLV receives first commitment for class of 2013 from 6-foot-8 Christian Wood (7-1-2011)
This week on LasVegasSun.com Sports Talk - doubling as The Rebel Room podcast - Ray Brewer and Ryan Greene break down a busy recruiting month for Dave Rice and his UNLV men's basketball staff. The crazy weekend in Las Vegas included three big tournaments, and the the guys will fill you in on who the staff made sure to go watch, who has emerged as the primary recruiting targets and who could likely be the next commit - or two - in the class of 2012.
Nigel Williams-Goss learned the hard way that things in the game of recruiting can change in an instant and be completely out of your control.
That's what happened to him on April 1, when then-UNLV coach Lon Kruger, who for two years had cultivated a relationship with him and his family, suddenly left Las Vegas to take over at Oklahoma.
Williams-Goss surprised many when, back in December, he decided to commit to UNLV midway through his sophomore season at Findlay Prep.
He decommitted from UNLV after Dave Rice was hired. Williams-Goss wasn't writing UNLV off completely by doing so, but he wasn't going to stay committed to a coaching staff that he had no relationship with, either.
"It's been pretty good with coach Rice and (associate head) coach (Justin) Hutson," he said. "It's gotten off to a good start. I think that relationship is beginning to blossom.
"They just seem really genuine. They seem like they really mean what they say and they're true to their word, which is big to me. They seem like they've been understanding of my situation since coach Kruger left. I really like that they weren't mad. They understood. It gave me a perspective that they were open-minded."
Now, Williams-Goss is committed to slowing his recruitment down the second time around.
UNLV is still involved. So, of course, is Oklahoma, whose staff has been tight with Williams-Goss and his father, Virgil, since the family moved to Las Vegas from Portland in time for Nigel to become the first freshman to play at Findlay. Then there's a handful of Pac-12 schools, such as Washington and Oregon. But he understands that there's no need to rush.
"I already kind of have a timetable set, and I think I'll make my decision known midway through my senior year," he said. "I have a whole bunch of offers, but no leaders or anything like that."
He's playing pressure-free ball, too, as the packed July schedule hits its peak.
His Double Pump Elite team opened up pool play on Friday morning at the adidas Super 64 with an ugly 53-50 upset victory over Indiana Elite at Rancho High, with Williams-Goss scoring 18 points along the way. Both Hutson and Kruger were in attendance.
It's all building toward him taking a more prominent role at Findlay next season, after the Pilots' 2011-12 season ended in disappointment, falling short of their third consecutive ESPN Rise National High School Invitational title in Bethesda, Md., back in April.
Meanwhile, he says he'll be keeping a close eye on UNLV.
"Vegas is my hometown. It's where I'll be for four years of my high school career; it's home to me," he said. "I still love it just as much as I did when I committed to UNLV.
"I know (Rice) was the offensive guy for BYU and (Hutson) did a great deal for San Diego State. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do coming together, what their offense looks like, what their defense looks like. I'm just kind of excited to see. I'll be at the games, and I'll be checking them out."