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Notebook: Cory Joseph’s visit not soured by UNLV loss

During fifth and final official visit, top prospect walks away impressed by Kruger’s program


Justin M. Bowen

Findlay Prep guard Cory Joseph watches the UNLV-Kansas State game at the Orleans Arena on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, as part of his official visit with the Rebels.

Kansas State vs #18 UNLV

The Wildcats' sharp shooting, along with the Rebels' sloppy play led to UNLV suffering its first loss of the season, 95-80, to Kansas State Saturday at the Orleans Arena.

Bishop Gorman vs Findlay Prep

Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph lead the way for the Pilots, as Findlay Prep beats Bishop Gorman 65-52 Saturday.

UNLV vs. Kansas State Basketball

UNLV head coach Lon Kruger gets after his bench during the game Saturday as the Rebels take on Kansas St. at the Orleans Arena.  UNLV dropped their first game of the season 95-80
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The Rebel Room

K-STATE POSTGAME: An unfriendly reunion for Kruger & Co.

Ryan Greene and Christine Killimayer delve into what was No. 18 UNLV's 95-80 loss to Kansas State on Saturday at the Orleans Arena. The Wildcats shot the lights out, while the Rebels had a hard time doing much of anything in their first loss of the 2009-10 season. Plus, a look ahead at a week which favors a UNLV team with wounds to lick.

A UNLV win or a UNLV loss on Saturday against Kansas State at the Orleans Arena wasn't going to sway Findlay Prep guard Cory Joseph one way or the other, that's for certain.

Rivals.com's No. 7 prospect in the 2010 senior class took his fifth and final official visit this weekend, making the long journey from the Henderson foothills to the UNLV campus. Part of that 48-hour visit included taking in the No. 18 Rebels' 95-80 loss to the Wildcats, which went down as the team's first setback of the 2009-10 campaign.

"It was a tough loss," he said. "Kansas State was on and hitting shots and, you know, the ball rolls that way sometimes.

"It won't (sour) me. I know what type of players they are and what type of guys they are, and I look at the style of play more than if they're winning this game or that game. That's their first loss. You can't really judge them because of that."

He wasn't just observant of the exact ins and outs of UNLV's game against K-State, but also took the same approach all weekend, taking advantage of the opportunity to get to know the members of Lon Kruger's program as thoroughly as possible.

He's already taken in quite a bit this season as an observer, watching the Rebels land back on the national radar.

"Beating Arizona and beating Louisville impressed me," he said. "Going to Arizona, to their gym, that was a good win. The style of play is good, it's guard-oriented."

The weekend included the standard tours of UNLV's hoops facilities, plus a hotel stay and dinners with potential teammates and coaches.

"It's been great," he said. "It gave me more of a taste of the college atmosphere."

Joseph, who already visited Texas, Villanova, Minnesota and UConn, didn't have a completely normal trip to see UNLV, however. Sandwiched in the middle was Findlay's tilt against Bishop Gorman two hours after the end of the UNLV-KSU game at the Orleans Arena.

The Rebels coaches went to eat with their families in the Orleans after their game, then went right back into the arena to watch Joseph score 18 points in the Pilots' 65-52 victory. They also waited for him in the lobby after the game to escort him back to the hotel, with the visit concluding on Sunday.

"It's real unique," Joseph said. "Just to be here, the atmosphere of the (UNLV) game earlier was crazy. I got to go into the student section, and it was a real good student section. Just getting to be around my teammates, too, there were some really good feelings."

Joseph even caught glimpse of — and admittedly got a kick out of — a sign a UNLV student had, which featured a spread photo of the Strip, reading 'Cory, want a key to the city? Sign with UNLV!'

When Joseph signs is the great unknown. To use recruiting lingo, he's still "wide open."

"I'm not sure," the Toronto native said. "Not until I feel 100 percent. That's when I'll sign."

Inside the numbers

• K-State outrebounded UNLV, 30-25, after trailing 16-15 in that category at the half. It marked the fourth time in five games that the Rebels have lost the battle on the boards.

• In the first game Chace Stanback came off the bench as a Rebel, he had his best offensive output. The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward scored in double digits for the first time at UNLV, tallying 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

• While Derrick Jasper went scoreless for UNLV, the rest of his stat line was filled somewhat. In 19 minutes he had three steals, three rebounds and five assists to just two turnovers.

• The combining for 50 points obviously highlighted the day for K-State backcourt mates Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente. But their production elsewhere was just as pivotal. Pullen, who averaged 2.7 rebounds per game coming in, mixed it up underneath in grabbing six boards, including five on the defensive glass. As for Clemente, who was labeled a score-first guard averaging three assists per game, he had nine helpers to his credit.

Next up

The Rebels at least will have ample opportunity to lick their wounds during the next week before leaving the mainland for Christmas.

Southern Utah, who UNLV plays on Tuesday, fell to 3-7 on Saturday afternoon with an 84-66 loss to Weber State, who, coincidentally, the Rebels host on Thursday.

UNLV's next three opponents — Southern Utah, Weber State and then South Carolina Upstate on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center — have a combined record of 9-17 this season.

The final word

Chace Stanback on Kansas State being the aggressor right from go: "We definitely knew that they were gonna come out and try to take advantage of us, force us to do things we didn't want to do. Ultimately, we just had to play harder and match their intensity."

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    Please come to UNLV and star in Kruger's guard-oriented offense.

    all the pieces to this puzzle are put together. except one, the centerpiece. You are the last piece to this puzzle that will lead UNLV back to the Final Four and cause a stir in this city!!

    So come be a Runnin Rebel and this town is yours and Mayor Oscar Goodman will give you the key to the city. How would it feel to have your jersey retired in the rafters with Larry Johnson, the best college basketba player of all time?

    us fans are dedicated and have been to all of your games to support you and watch you play. Going to UNLV is your destiny, Cory Joseph


  2. Ryan Greene, where do yo think UConn stands with Cory Joseph?

  3. To rebelsfan11...LJ was a tremendous player who we all loved, but Bill Walton was the best college basketball player of all time! Look it up!

  4. Where was your sign, 11? Mine obviously made it.

  5. We might want to forget about Joespeh and go find us a Big man who can play. Our 3 head monster lacks talent, aggressiveness, and I question their heart. Santee is probably the best of them all, Shaw can't guard anyone in the paint, and Massamba, well he still has alot of work ahead of him.

  6. 11 didn't bring a sign. He is all talk. Just another drunk unlv student.

  7. I agree first priority for this group should be a big man not afraid to mix it up and get boards, a la Moses Scurry, or the Hammer. CJ seems like a great kid and this Rebel fan would be ecstatic if he signs, I'm just not very optimistic. Has fine taste in women too, judging from the little Filipina babe sitting next to him...

  8. Sure wish this game was at the Mack. Couldv'e changed the outcome and Cory could have had a real taste of a big time college atmoshere.

  9. Hey 11, seriously you get online to drop to your knees and beg? Let me grab you some knee pads and some goggles. We all want CJ at UNLV but you need to grow a set and have a little pride. Unless you are 11 years old, which is I'm guessing what your name stands for judging by all your posts, begging doesn't get you anything. Grow up and realize that one player isn't bigger than the whole program.

  10. Thank you Jamal.

  11. amen boys.... 11 is about as annoying as they get. respect his enthusiasm do not respect his knowledge or posting length.

  12. 11 is the definition of a "male groupie".

  13. 11 was dangling from my nuttz last week and flipped his lid over a comical statement I made about Henry Buckley & Carlos Lopez. It's obvious he has never played any kind of organized athletics because some of the most brutal smack I ever heard ran at each other was in our own lockerroom, you know like about your personal appearance, lack of dates, & etc... He might be a rebel fan but the kid has some real mental & internal issues going on.

  14. I think "11" was the same idiot who was ripping on me when I stated that the Rebels would lose to K-State if they didn't win the rebound game (they didn't) and if they didn't shoot the 3's better than 30% (they didn't).

    Getting Cory Joseph would be huge, but if it comes down to one guy- they would be better off getting Drew Gordon from UCLA. They have the guards, they just have NO big men.

  15. rose, not sure if that was me. but the real reason this team lost is cus they showed zero heart! it was terrible.:..lets hope they learn from this

    and we have 2 big men comin in next yr (QT & Los) so for now I think the best option is CJ or Polee. then next year get some more bigs...

    just my opinion tho.

    thanks for all the love guys!! :)

  16. I'm not blasting anyone, but I wasn't aware that bringing a sign to a game makes you a "serious fan." 11 is right that we have QT, Lopez and Buckley coming in next year who will upgrade our inside game. While we do have good depth at the guard position, I'd rather have the "special" talent than a good talent simply becauseit somewhat fills a need. Joseph is rated one of the top 10 high school players IN THE COUNTRY! Someone like that, regardless of position, can have a huge impact on a team. If you need an example, Google John Wall & Kentucky Wildcats.

  17. MikeLange just kinda hit it right on target. While Joseph may not be John Wall...he certainly would be the John Wall of the MWC

  18. Agree with MikeLange, CJ coming to UNLV would be insane.

    And who cares that 11 made a "come to UNLV" post like that? It was hardly begging...you guys are ridiculous. If you weren't so new, Jamal, you would have seen plenty of other posts like that in past years.

  19. anyone know which school he is favoring

  20. We have the number 1 rated High School Basketball team in the country that is funded by a Alum of UNLV and the Rebels have not landed one of their stud players to this date. Kruger has been able to take castoffs from other programs to make it work. UNLV can get back to being relevant again if it could land one of these top 10 kids.

    Maybe with a new AD, we can see UNLV going to Maui or one of the many New York ESPN games. Landing a stud recruit would make it much easier. Getting back on ESPN, instead of being on Versus (the non existant Direct TV channel) or the Mountain, is what the Rebels need.

    But, we need one national top 10 recruit. Hopefully instead of watching these Findlay kids go to Texas and other schools on ESPN. One could stay in Vegas to get UNLV back in the spotlight.

    I would not care if he was one and done, it would be great to see UNLV with a potential first round draft choice playing for them. Help make it happen Cliff Findlay.