Notebook: Redshirt situation for freshman Karam Mashour still in limbo

Freshman swingman wants to play, Kruger and staff undecided, no timetable set for decision

UNLV vs. UCR Basketball

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall and the rest of the bench cheer on a play against UC Riverside during the Rebels' season opener Friday at the Thomas & Mack. The Rebels cruised to a 85-41 victory. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

UCR POSTGAME: Quite the debut

Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer break down what was a more lopsided than normal opener for UNLV, as the Rebels' offseason improvements were all on display in an 85-41 thrashing of lowly UC Riverside. The guys give you numbers and analysis, plus a look at how Tre'Von Willis fits back into the rotation next week and what's going on with freshman Karam Mashour.

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Just like Carlos Lopez did a year ago in the season opener, Karam Mashour was in full uniform on Friday night and went through all of the pregame warm-up routines with his UNLV teammates.

Unlike Lopez in 2009-10, though, Mashour's redshirt fate was not known before the first regular-season contest.

While the Rebels ran roughshod over an overmatched UC Riverside club by a count of 85-41 at the Thomas & Mack Center, the 6-foot-6 Israeli freshman swingman watched from the end of the bench.

"We still haven't decided necessarily what to do with Karam," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "It was all on me tonight. (The coaches) haven't totally decided. Karam, quite frankly, wants to play, which is totally understandable. I just couldn't quite pull that trigger on using those minutes at this point.

"We're still in negotiations on that one."

Kruger met on Thursday with Mashour and his uncle, Jason Awad, to discuss this year's course.

Mashour was impressive offensively in the two exhibition games, and the language barrier he faced when first coming to America less than a year ago is quickly being scaled.

However, Mashour still has a ways to go in picking up the American game. Most notably, his biggest strides have yet to be made on the defensive end.

Plus, right now, it may simply be a numbers game, and the most sensible solution would be for him to redshirt. UNLV is loaded at the wing positions, but next season, he projects out to be a viable replacement for senior slasher Derrick Jasper.

Stay tuned.

"He wants to play, it's understandable, he may still end up playing," Kruger added. "If he doesn't relent, then he'll play. If he was my son, I definitely wouldn't play him, because I just don't see where the minutes are with the depth that we have on the perimeter. But we're not going to redshirt a guy if he doesn't want to.

"He's a great kid, and it'll work out either way."

Another surging sophomore

Getting 25 minutes off of the bench, sophomore Justin Hawkins made the most of them on both ends of the floor.

Hawkins, who in the last month has clearly looked like one of the Rebels' most improved talents, finished with nine points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists with only one turnover.

On defense, he jumped several passing lanes, and on a handful of occasions wound up with transition opportunities.

With the ball in his hands, Hawkins looked far more confident in his 2010-11 debut than he did at any point as a freshman.

Numbers of note

A look deeper into the box score ...

• The only player on UCR's roster who had previously played for the program was senior point guard Javon Borum, who missed last season due to an Achilles injury. He was only 1-of-14 from the floor, notching four points and four assists in 28 minutes off of the bench.

• While UCR was a woeful 15-of-67 from the floor, UNLV was an efficient 32-of-60, including shooting 61.5 percent (16-of-26) in the second half.

Anthony Marshall hit his first 3-point attempt of the season early in the game and was 1-of-4 from deep on the night. It matched his season total from his freshman campaign, as the Mojave High product was just 1-of-23 from long range last year. His stroke looked much smoother this time around.

Derrick Jasper's 13 rebounds topped his previous career high of 12, set last season against Weber State on Dec. 17, 2009. It was the fifth time in Jasper's career spent between UNLV and Kentucky that he's recorded double-digit boards.

• A big question coming into this season was how UNLV would do from long range with Kendall Wallace (knee injury) and Matt Shaw (NCAA suspension) unexpectedly out. The Rebels were a combined 12-of-24 from 3-point territory in the two preseason games and went 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) on Friday night. Oscar Bellfield led the way by going 3-of-5.

• The Rebels recorded nine blocks on the night, seven steals and 23 assists compared to only 12 turnovers in an up-and-down affair that got a bit sloppy here and there.

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  1. Looking at the box score of the Kansas game, it seems as if Elijah Johnson didn't even play, no stats for him.

    Elijah, please transfer back home, UNLV will welcome you back with open arms. Showcase your talents here, the Runnin Rebel faithful await you.

    Rosco and Shabazz with Elijah transfering back home, sprinkle in some Anthony Marshall and you have a team that will go down as Las Vegas legends!

    Anthony... Elijah... Rosco... Shabazz...

    Lights please.....and now, your Runnin Rebels!!!

    The stars are alligned for you guys to do something special in your hometown, don't let an oppurtunity like this slip away. No university or city will ever care about you guys as much as we will, stay home and make us proud.

    Anthony Marshall, please get on the phone and call your friend Elijah, tell him something special is happening in the desert and he should come home. Then get Rosco and Shabazz in on a 3 way phone call and tell them that with a core group of you 4 players that there is no stoping Vegas. It's the wild wild west and you 4 are the new sheriffs in college basketball ready to put the boot to the competition and make the Thomas & Mack as electric as the strip!