Rebels basketball:

Mountain West media tabs UNLV 2nd; honors pair of Rebels

Khem Birch is on the All-Conference team and Kendall Smith is UNLV’s 2nd straight preseason Freshman of the Year

Image

Steve Marcus

Kendall Smith, left, talks with Head Coach Dave Rice during the first UNLV basketball practice of the season at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center Monday, Oct. 7, 2013.

UNLV Rebels First Basketball Practice of the Season

Bryce Dejean-Jones drives by Kevin Olekaibe during the first UNLV basketball practice of the season at UNLV's Mendenhall Center Monday, Oct. 7, 2013. Launch slideshow »

UNLV basketball was picked to finish tied for second and the Rebels earned up a couple of individual preseason Mountain West awards as well, it was announced this morning.

New Mexico was selected to defend its league title with 23 of 24 possible first-place votes. The other vote went to UNLV, which tied with Boise State at 214 points for second place. San Diego State was close behind in fourth at 212 points and Utah State was picked fifth. The rest of the order went Colorado State, Wyoming, Fresno State, UNR, Air Force and San Jose State.

As for players, UNLV junior Khem Birch, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, was selected to the All-Conference team featuring six players because of a tie. On the team with Birch are Boise State’s Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks, UNR’s Deonte Burton and New Mexico’s Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk. Williams is the defending league Player of the Year and he took the preseason honors this season.

UNLV guard Kendall Smith took preseason Freshman of the Year honors, making it the second straight year a Rebel has been selected. Last year it was eventual top pick Anthony Bennett.

San Diego State’s Josh Davis, a Tulane transfer, took Newcomer of the Year honors. Last year UNLV was also picked to finish second and the Rebels placed third.

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

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