Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | 11:53 a.m.
Ryan Greene and Rob Miech sit down after a brief hiatus to discuss all that has happened in the world of Rebels hoops since the end of a disappointing season. Among the topics are the passing of 'Gondo', another defection and some potential newcomers. Plus, is being labeled 'Transfer U.' such a bad thing?
- Mitchell released from Rebels basketball team (4-27-2009)
UNLV is wasting no time in trying to fill out at least one of its open scholarships for the 2009-10 season.
Quintrell Thomas, who announced nearly three weeks ago his intention to transfer following his freshman season at Kansas, will be visiting UNLV this weekend. The Rebels, who already had one open scholarship for next season, saw a second one come available over the weekend when freshman guard DeShawn Mitchell was granted a release.
Thomas, a 6-foot-8 power forward who played his high school ball at St. Patrick in Elizabeth, N.J., took a trip last weekend to check out St. Joseph's in Philadelphia and next weekend will be in upstate New York to visit Siena.
But UNLV may have more history with Thomas than any of his other suitors.
A year ago, when Thomas was ranked as the No. 36 senior power forward and the No. 149 overall recruit by Rivals.com, the Rebels were one of the final programs to fall off the list before he became a Jayhawk.
"As soon as I announced I was transferring, one of my (high school) coaches told me they wanted to get in contact with me," Thomas said over the phone as he headed into class on the KU campus Tuesday afternoon.
Thomas added that since his announcement on April 9, he's spoken with both head coach Lon Kruger and assistant Lew Hill.
"It's a very real option," he said.
As a high school senior, Thomas averaged 14.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, two steals and two blocks per game.
Last season at Kansas, he saw action in 26 games, including one start, and averaged 1.5 points and two rebounds while playing just over five minutes per appearance as the Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16.
However, fellow freshmen Markieff and Marcus Morris emerged and moved further and further ahead of him in the rotation. Add into the mix the fact that potential lottery pick Cole Aldrich announced he'd return for his junior season, the incoming transfer of former Arizona recruit Jeff Withey and the commitment from another talented big man in Thomas Robinson, and Thomas went looking elsewhere to make his impression.
Thomas would have to sit out next season, making him eligible for the 2010-11 campaign, when he'd be able to team up with other high-profile transfers the Rebels have taken in, such as Tre'Von Willis (Memphis), Chace Stanback (UCLA) and Derrick Jasper (Kentucky).
The Rebels also have a glaring need for big men.
Junior college transfer Darris Santee slowly disappeared from the rotation as last season wore on, while Findlay Prep product Brice Massamba took some time to get adjusted to the college game. Coming in for next season is another big body from Findlay in Carlos Lopez.
With all of that said, UNLV has plenty to offer Thomas.
He said what he likes about the Rebels' style of play is that at 6-foot-8, he wouldn't be tethered to the hoop, and could develop some versatility beyond the paint.
"I don't want to be combined with the basket, just posting up, I don't want to do that," he said. "Pretty much expanding beyond that to other things. I mean, I'm only 6-8, so being a rebounder and a post-up player won't get you too far."