Analysis:

Rebels basketball adds class of 2015 guard to list of scholarship offers

Three locals are among the five preps who currently hold offers from UNLV

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Sam Morris

UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice speaks during An Evening with Dave Rice, a fundraiser for the Dave Rice Foundation Friday, May 3, 2013.

If everyone stayed put, the UNLV basketball coaching staff would be in for a very relaxing summer. If only things were that simple.

A new scholarship offer shows the staff is already working ahead, plus there’s a clue about possible changes coming after next season.

First, the new guy. On Wednesday, the Rebels offered a scholarship to Jeremy Hemsley, a class of 2015 guard out of Damian High in Southern California. UNLV coach Dave Rice is unable to comment on the status of high school recruits, per NCAA rules.

Hemsley, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound guard, also holds offers from New Mexico, UConn and Boston College, among others. He’s one of four 2015 preps with offers from UNLV and the only one outside of the Las Vegas area.

The others are Las Vegas High forward Ray Smith and Bishop Gorman duo Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter. Zimmerman, an agile 7-footer, and Jeter, the son of former Rice teammate Chris Jeter, both play for Rice’s brother, Grant Rice, with the Gaels.

Smith is making waves in recruiting circles while starring for the Las Vegas Prospects. San Diego State also has made an offer, and other West Coast schools are likely to follow.

On Thursday, Zimmerman got an offer from Baylor, adding to his ever-growing list that likely will ensure he has his pick of any school in the country.

With five incoming players already committed and ready to replace the five recent departures, plus class of 2014 forward Dwayne Morgan committed to replace UNLV’s lone senior, Carlos Lopez-Sosa, the Rebels have their 13 scholarships filled for the next two seasons. Of course, the odds that everyone currently under scholarship returns for the 2014-15 season are only slightly better than they were of Anthony Bennett staying for his sophomore year.

There will be changes because there always are. This year, it was Bennett to the NBA and Mike Moser to Oregon. The year before, Reggie Smith and Karam Mashour transferred to new schools.

While most of UNLV’s work is in the class of 2015, there will undoubtedly be holes to fill next season. It’s no secret that forward Khem Birch is primed to have a big junior season, and that’s likely why the Rebels’ lone scholarship offer without a verbal commitment in the class of 2014 is for Myles Turner, an elite center out of Texas.

Turner, listed at 6-11 and 225 pounds, holds no less than 20 offers, according to rivals.com, and that list includes both blue bloods (Kansas) and blue turfs (Boise State).

Birch already has the body and defensive ability to jump to the NBA — he’s currently an early second-round prospect in 2014 on draftexpress.com — so if his offense comes along this season, he could certainly be a first-rounder. Throw in a possible transfer or two, plus the vacant assistant coach position, and it’s clear this offseason is only slightly less taxing than the one before it.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. I expect a Daquan Cook transfer as well as Khem Birch going pro. I also think there's a good chance that Bryce Dejean-Jones has a monster season and elevates himself into a first round draft pick.

  2. Why would you expect Cook to transfer? With the way he's devoloping he'll be leading the team to finish out his career. He's quick, see's the whole floor, team player. He was only a freshman last year. Most fresh don't get Katin and Bennett minutes.

  3. haven't there been rumors of cook redshirting this season. I doubt anything has been decided yet, but the depth at the point next year necessitates either a transfer or red shirt.

  4. Anyone heard anything about possible Asst Coach candidates?

  5. @anatomyapple-

    With all due respect, Daquan Cook is NOT a Division 1 Point guard. He has ZERO jump shot,,,he is speedy, but frail. Cant score. And more importantly to run Rices idea of run and gun , that really starts with Defense.

    And as Tark use to say, pressure defense start with stopping the ball, or the other teams point guard. He just isnt a tough defender. Im sure hell get better but, not in the time we need him. He WILL transfer, mark my words.

  6. Not to mention, he has very little shot of beating out Kendrick, Smith, and certainly not Reinhardt. That equals ZERO minutes. Nice kid....should tranfer to a JC for a year first.

  7. Rebeljedi - I do agree with you that the probability is high that Cook transfers simply from the standpoint that Rice is sending a bit of a message his way by having 4 potential point guards join the roster next year. However there was a speedy, frail point guard who could not shoot that turned out to be a great point guard for us during some difficult times and that was Dedan Thomas. Playing on Tark's last team in 91-92 and then suffering through the Massimino era, Dedan had very similar attributes to Cook and ran a run and gun style offense with great success. Dedan was second in the nation in assists his junior year. He ended up being an outstanding point guard for UNLV. So do not judge Daquan solely on last year's limited appearances. Cook may end up being an excellent D1 point guard. But again I agree that chances are it will be somewhere else.

  8. If Daquan Cook transfers, I think they stand a good chance of landing Shaquile Carr. If he's any good, he would get minutes in 2015. Also, I think Kendall Smith will beat Daquan Cook for minutes next year.

  9. Did Mike Peck turn down the asst job? If so look for Washington asst coach Shaw to get the call.

  10. @kenhen - Do you have inside knowledge on this? I looked up his profile, and it appears that he would be a good hire.

  11. Any new news on the coaching job?