Thursday, April 29, 2010 | 2:30 a.m.
- After failed drug test, Matt Shaw gone from UNLV men’s basketball program (4-27-2010)
- UCLA transfer Mike Moser wastes no time committing to UNLV after weekend visit (4-26-2010)
- Decision postponed — again — as Polee will visit Oregon this week (4-24-2010)
- Cory Joseph picks Texas, Dwayne Polee up in the air, Mike Moser visits UNLV (4-23-2010)
- Dwayne Polee Jr. set to announce college choice Saturday night (4-22-2010)
- New Mexico now in the mix for Polee, who will decide in early April (3-30-2010)
- Joseph wins McDonald's 3-point competition; no news yet on Polee (3-29-2010)
- UNLV's top 2010 targets Joseph, Polee have big showings ahead (3-27-2010)
- 10 talking points, wrapping up 2009-10 and looking toward 2010-11 for UNLV hoops (3-23-2010)
- Like everyone else, UNLV will play waiting game with Polee, Joseph (1-30-2010)
- Notebook: UNLV prospect Polee likes what he sees, and hears, at the Mack (11-29-2009)
- 2009-10 UNLV Schedule/Results
- All Sun UNLV men's basketball coverage
Shaking Johnathan Loyd's confident exterior is something that Bishop Gorman basketball coach Grant Rice hasn't seen anyone do with ease.
Along with leading the Gaels to back-to-back large-school state titles, the senior point guard simply has earned a reputation as a winner.
He's won 103 games in four seasons of varsity ball, averaging 14 points and 8.2 assists per game while earning the state's Gatorade Player of the Year honor as a senior.
Now, during every minute he spends within the school's confines, someone's asking Loyd where he'll be next year.
Teachers, classmates, everyone.
Meanwhile, Rice has welcomed numerous college coaches into his office and fielded a seemingly endless stream of phone calls and e-mails.
The 5-foot-8 speedy playmaker is one of the nation's most sought-after unsigned seniors.
"It's not bad," he said. "I don't mind people saying I'm a sleeper. I see myself as being as good as anybody else ... just shorter."
For Loyd, just being a self-proclaimed people-pleaser has become increasingly difficult by the day over the last month or so.
Lightly recruited by some of the bigger-name programs in college hoops for much of his prep career, an avalanche of offers changed everything this spring.
And now he can see the light at the end of it all.
"Hectic," he quickly said when asked to describe life of late.
The timeline of events that typically transpire over the course of several months for most Division-I recruits has played out in a matter of weeks for Loyd.
Heading into last week, Loyd was on the verge of making a final decision, set to pick between Northwestern and George Washington.
He'd essentially said "Thanks, but no thanks" to the likes of Oklahoma, Washington State, Michigan State and Florida in the process.
But the two scholarship offers he'd waited for since his freshman year of high school — Oregon and UNLV — didn't come until the 11th hour.
Sunday night, to be exact.
That night pretty much changed everything.
"To have both of them offer me scholarships the same day was just crazy," he said.
For UNLV, he'd long been considered the coaching staff's back-up plan should things fall through with Findlay Prep senior Cory Joseph — a McDonald's All-American who committed to Texas last Friday. Lon Kruger and his staff had been honest all along about it with Loyd, and with Matt Shaw's departure from the program becoming official Tuesday, a scholarship came open.
"It was kind of surprising, because I was hearing all of this talk that they didn't have any scholarships and they were going after a wing and I got the call," Loyd said of UNLV's call on Sunday. "I was just surprised and blessed."
On the Oregon end, long-time coach Ernie Kent spent his final season in Eugene knowing that without an astonishing result, he was more than likely on the way out. The Ducks were a sub-par 16-16 this season, and Kent was relieved of his duties shortly thereafter. Therefore, heavy recruiting was on the back-burner for much of the season for Kent and his staff.
UNLV always has had Loyd's attention, obviously, thanks to the hometown connection. His father, Michael, having played there from 1978-81, and Johnathan's also made a habit of attending open-gym sessions on campus with the team during the off-season.
"They've got young players, for one," he said, talking about the Rebels' positives. "They did good last year and have everyone coming back. And they do a lot of pressuring. That fits my style. They do a lot of running and want more playmakers, so I feel like I could bring that to them."
As for Oregon, the two guys who attracted him to potentially playing there some day are, coincidentally, the two who had a big part in ending UNLV's most successful season under Kruger.
He's long seen himself playing the same role in Eugene as former Ducks guards TaJuan Porter and Aaron Brooks — a pair of sub-6-footers who each could take over a game in an instant.
Porter's hot shooting hand helped bury UNLV in the 2007 Sweet Sixteen, while Brooks now starts for the NBA's Houston Rockets.
"They've always liked small guards, and they're not afraid to play them," Loyd said. "They're in a good conference, and I like their new coach. He was at Creighton, and I always liked him."
That coach — Dana Altman — brings the biggest twist into this rushed recruiting tale.
Altman served as an assistant under Kruger at Kansas State from 1986-89 and extended an offer to Loyd while preparing for his 17th season at Creighton.
As hard as he tried to lure Loyd to Omaha, the interest in the program never was terribly high, though Loyd admits he'd definitely taken a liking to Altman.
Last weekend, Altman landed the gig at Oregon, and one of the first prospects he called was Loyd, who will use his final official visit to head up to see the campus this weekend.
Loyd said he will sit down with the UNLV coaching staff before heading to Eugene for the weekend, then likely come to a final decision early next week after sitting down again with his parents.
At the moment, he said, there's no true leader among his prospective schools.
"The way his recruitment has gone, it's wild," Gorman coach Grant Rice said. "I feel bad. He's shaken up because everything's happened so fast, and it's really strange."
At UNLV, he'd have a chance at playing the "hometown hero" role, which close friend and Mojave High product Anthony Marshall flourished in this season as a freshman. Loyd could play every home game in front of his family and friends and most likely see immediate playing time.
At Oregon, with Porter's graduation plus an avalanche of transfers following Kent's departure, there's the potential to start right away.
Either way, he's in a position where he can't make a wrong choice.
"People want a decision, but I'm just taking my time with everything," he said. "It's better to have (the tough decision to make) than not to, of course."