Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008 | 2 a.m.
Ryan Greene and Rob Miech discuss UNLV's offensive sorta-breakout in the second half of a 73-48 victory over Texas-Pan Am on Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center. It was sparked by some tremendous defense and a slew of filthy dunks by freshman DeShawn Mitchell.
- Opponent: Northern Arizona
- Where: Thomas & Mack Center
- When: Thursday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m.
With five minutes remaining and his team out of contention Tuesday night against UNLV, Texas-Pan American coach Tom Schuberth turned around, leaned over the scorer's table and said a quick goodbye to Jerry Tarkanian.
"Thanks for coming, coach Tark," he said, as Tarkanian descended from his third-row seat and left the building.
Tuesday was a kind of homecoming for the UTPA third-year coach, who was a freshman reserve guard on UNLV's 1976-77 Final Four squad. His time as a Rebel was brief, but enough to leave an impression.
"He was a hard worker. I love the guy," Tarkanian said.
"I still have fond memories, and I still stay in touch with coach Tark because he's the guy who really taught me about basketball, and what competing's about, and just that he's a good person," Schuberth said. "That's the one thing that I think is misunderstood about coach Tark. He's not only a good coach, but he's a good man. You talk to anybody who ever played for him and they love him, and that's the true test of a coach's legacy in my opinion."
Schuberth transferred from UNLV after just one season. During his only season as a Rebel, suiting up alongside Reggie Theus, Eddie Owens and Glen Gondrezick, Schuberth appeared in eight games as a rookie from Sandburg High in suburban Chicago.
"I was a freshman on that team, and then I ended up transferring and going to Mississippi State," he said. "Probation hit, and I probably made a poor decision looking back as a 19-year-old kid. You want to play right away, and I just didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel like I should have."
One thing was instilled in Schuberth after that season, though -- the notion that maximum effort plays a large role in success on the floor.
"My teams don't play as hard as he got his teams to play, and I wish they did. Maybe one day I can achieve that," he said. "I got spoiled because he expected 100 percent every time you stepped on the court. There were no exceptions, whether you were the superstar or, like me, maybe the last guy on the team. He expected you to give effort."
Schuberth was pleased with his team's effort Tuesday as intensity played a large role in the Broncs holding small leads in the first half, then trailing by only three points at intermission.
Despite falling 73-48 to the Rebels, his team's showing for the better part of the contest could be a sign of good things to come. He'll be making another trip back to the Mack with his team, Nov. 28-29, to face North Carolina A&T and then the winner of Western Illinois/Coastal Carolina.
"I'm not pleased we lost by 20-some points, but I'm pleased with our effort," he said. "I like their attitude. This is just my third year. When we took over our program was kind of down. We were the worst independent, and last year we were the best independent."
Last season, the Broncs went 18-13, recording their first winning season in seven years. UTPA is no-longer an independent. It's part of the Great West, which just this season is an all-sport conference. UTPA is joined by Chicago State, Houston Baptist, NJIT, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah Valley.
In a pool of relative unknowns, Schuberth's focus now is on having his team be the one that stands out. Though this is his first stint as a head coach, he was a longtime assistant at several successful programs, such as Memphis, UAB and Central Florida.
And he's not pushing on at UTPA with any kind of grand illusion. His wishes are pretty simple.
"We just need to build on it and hopefully one day be a respectable Division-I program," he said. "We probably won't ever win a national championship, but we can overachieve where we are. That's the best feeling in the world, where you feel like you've done better than your potential."