rebels basketball:

Dad of top recruit Shabazz Muhammad: ‘Without a doubt, UNLV will be right there’

Gorman product has offers from the likes of Duke and Kansas, but family is interested in Dave Rice’s Rebels


Steve Marcus

Players listen to new UNLV head basketball coach Dave Rice during an introductory news conference Monday, April 11, 2011. From left are Karam Mashour, Brice Massamba, Chace Stanback and Carlos Lopez.

Dave Rice introduced at UNLV

Dave Rice, left, UNLV's new head basketball coach, chats with Regent Jack Schofield before an introductory news conference Monday, April 11, 2011. Former coach Jerry Tarkanian is seated at right. Launch slideshow »

KSNV: Dave Rice Returns

KSNV coverage of Dave Rice's introduction at UNLV, April 11, 11:00 p.m.

The Rebel Room

Rebel Room — The Dave Rice Era begins

Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer talk about the excitement surrounding the hiring of Dave Rice as the UNLV basketball coach. Rice, a reserve on the 1990 national championship team, will look to bring the program back to its ways of playing run-and-gun basketball.

New UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice has already scored a minor victory on the recruiting trail. Not bad for one day on the job.

Small forward Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman High, a consensus top-5 overall recruit by several evaluating services for the class of 2012, will eventually take a recruiting trip to UNLV, his father, Ron Holmes said Monday.

Holmes was in the crowd at the Board Room at the Thomas & Mack Center for Rice’s introductory news conference, saying Rice’s up-tempo style of play and talk of the program’s past successes were appealing.

With the likes of Duke, Kansas and North Carolina heavily pursuing Muhammad, it was widely assumed UNLV would have no chance at landing the athletic 6-foot-6 rising senior.

That is no longer the case

Rice’s younger brother, Grant Rice, is Gorman’s head coach, giving the new Rebels staff a leg up in the process. Holmes said his son is more than interested in UNLV — and that has everything to do with Dave Rice.

“Without a doubt, UNLV will be right there,” Holmes said of the Rebels’ chances to sign his son.

Grant Rice also attended his brother’s introductory press conference, where Dave jokingly said family gatherings would be strained if recruiting doesn’t pan out at Gorman.

“We’ll never run away from the expectations,” said Dave Rice, who returned to UNLV after six years as an assistant at BYU. “We believe we are going to recruit really good players, put together a coaching staff that will recruit across the country and put together really good teams.”

Muhammad, who averaged 25 points per game this past winter in being named the Sunset Region's Player of the Year, would be a good starting point. He has 20-plus scholarship offers and is arguably the biggest recruit in Southern Nevada history. But he’s not the only prospect at Gorman that UNLV will be after.

Gorman is loaded with multiple Division I recruits, including two more from the class of 2012 already with scholarship offers from the Rebels. Forward Rosco Allen, who ranks as the No. 23 overall prospect for the class of 2012, was also offered a scholarship by Rice to BYU. The same with forward Ben Carter.

The coaches aren’t alone in selling the program to locals.

Anthony Marshall, the Rebels’ rising junior guard from Mojave High in North Las Vegas, has become the face of the program and takes great pride in playing for his hometown university. He’s close friends with Muhammad and never hesitates selling him on the program.

“For me, it was just being able to be a role model in the community,” Marshall said. “I wanted to show the younger guys that you could stay here and be successful. For me coming here, it opens the door for younger guys like Shabazz to come here. He is like a younger brother to me, so I am trying to convince him to stay.”

Click to enlarge photo

Bishop Gorman junior Shabazz Muhammad, right, gets instruction on footwork from former Runnin' Rebel Warren Rosegreen during an open workout at Bishop Gorman High School Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010.

Former UNLV player Warren Rosegreen, who played at Chaffey Junior College in California and UNLV when Dave Rice was an assistant, remembers Rice selling him on becoming a Rebel. He said Rice is able to deliver such a strong message because of his sincere passion for UNLV.

“I don’t believe the community understands who they have yet, but they will know,” said Rosegreen, who considers the Rice brothers two of his closest friends. “He brings a lot to the table in getting guys to believe what you want to accomplish. They are very fortunate to get a coach like him. We are on our way back to great things with Dave.”

That passion was obvious to one important observer.

“I already knew the style he was trying to put in place, the coaching staff he wants to bring aboard, it is really exciting,” Holmes said.

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  1. I can't blame SM for wanting to go to an elite program, but it would be a great boost if he stays here, and he knows he will get loads of playing time as well with that.

  2. I think the only thing that would keep him here (and away from the Dukes and UNCs of the world) is a hometown girlfriend.

  3. Like who cares? It's one player and while really strong in Nevada, being good here against high school competition is comparable to being the smartest kid in special ed class. You guys need to worry more about the superstars at some of the big California schools or other 5A+ programs around the nation.

    Too much tunnel vision here people. Vegas isn't the talent pool to be fishing in, it's a pond.

  4. And when Shabazz is still playing dominant ball in AAU tournaments against some of those AAU teams from California with those superstars we "need to worry more about," that doesn't count either? I guess Roy Williams, Coach K and Calipari are all just idiots because they are tripping over themselves trying to get Shabazz to come to UNC, Duke or Kentucky, respectively. I guess random poster X knows more about basketball talent and recruiting than the top college coaches and scouts there are. What don't you get about Top 5 recruit in his class in the country? What don't you understand about two Top 25 recruits in the country playing on the same team? I agree that depth-wise, basketball in Las Vegas isn't what it is in many areas of Southern California, but to say "who cares" is ridiculous. Obviously we'd like to get some of the top talent out of California, but its a pretty big deal to land the best player(s) in your own backyard... especially if they are so highly rated.

  5. you should probably know something about basketball before you talk about it ChFleming. Do you even know how many high school kids out of Vegas are starters on Division I basketball teams?

  6. You UNLV homers really get upset about anything, I guess when your program has been a failure for this long you tend to get a little confrontational.

    Yes, I know quite a bit about basketball. I also know that Nevada has pumped out very little D1 talent in any sport. But when we do, we hear about it about a thousand times a month in the press so it's hard to not know who has done big things because its so rare.

    We'll see in a few years when people are going Sha-who? And a kid with perceived talent who beat up on the likes of Durango and Desert Oasis has to compete against real talent. You guys just keep on dreaming your dream, I guess that's all you local fans really have to go on anyways.

  7. I guess you will know how good Gormon is next year ChFleming. They play on ESPN twice against "Power Schools"

  8. @chfleming,
    gorman plays at various national tournaments as well as 6-8 regular season games against national competition, including findlay prep, a perennial top 5 team nationally.

    i can appreciate that you're a troll and just trying to be a d*ck, and you've certainly succeeded in that regard. woo hoo, you're very punk rock. you and avril lavigne. but you are also wrong. amazingly, retardedly wrong.

  9. Population of Nevada: ~2.6m
    Population of California: ~37m

    Of course more D1 recruits are going to come out of California or states with huge populations.

    UNLV has great athletics and a NCAA basketball, men's golf, Men's tennis single and doubles championships in it's 54 years of existence. 35 teams, ever, have won the men's basketball championship, and there are now 346 teams in D1 ball. UNLV was only around for 33 years before winning the championship, and the only other team to remotely come close was UTEP.

  10. HaHAhaHAhaHa this dude is a joke. What bridge did you climb out from under? All you've done is prove yourself to be a hater. You have to use facts to be taken seriously.

  11. How many 1st team Parade all-americans were from California this year? 0. We got one right here in Nevada. Dantley Walker. Guess where he is going to school? UNLV Baby! For 37 million people bball in cali is hurtin!

  12. Don't feed the trolls. ChFleming = troll

    SM coming to Vegas would be great. I don't know much about Rice, but I have to believe that Rice would actually play his best players rather than pulling a Kruger (i.e.: Steve "Chopper" Jones [nice kid, hard worker, but way too much playing time], Jasper, J-Hawk). However, as Kansas and Ohio State showed, you can't build your team around one-and-done players if you have your eyes set on the national champtionship.

  13. there are plenty of vegas kids that go big time in college. you don't know crap chfleming

  14. In the picture above, THEY LOOK LIKE PRISON INMATES, LOL.

  15. UNLV under Tark invented and perfected "run and gun" basketball / high pressure defense (to create more offense) and Rice knows how to coach that as he learned from the master. I would love to see Rice make Tark an honorary coach, have him give the guys a pep talk before home games and at next years NCAA tourney, sweet 16, final four, etc. Wouldn't that be something!

  16. What's the chances that Rice can hire Michael Peck away from Findlay Prep?? What's the chances that the two or three best players from Findlay Prep get together with the best two or three players from Gorman and ALL agree to sign with UNLV in the next two years?? Shabazz, Roscoe Allen, Anthony Bennett, William Goss, etc. could make for a formidable recruiting class!! Coach Peck plays pressure D and up-tempo offense...just like Rice!! Hire Peck and MAKE IT HAPPEN!!

  17. That's wrong. You build your team around a one and done player when they are the only key missing to your junior and senior leadership team. Had duke not lost Irving earlier then they were at least a final four team. That's what we have right now. So what's the pro's and cons of unlv vs elite programs. Both will get you to the NBA. Elite teams get your name more national exposed usually ( exemption jimmer). At unlv you at the headline locally and nationally. At elite schools your one of three players in head lines. At unlv you create home town revenue and possibly get your jersey retired. At elite schools your legacy last one year. So in my opinion you can blame him if he goes to a bigger school cause the pro's to stay here outway the cons. The key to picking a mid major or any school that hovers around the #25 poll is supporting cast. If we at unlv have the supporting cast to get to the final four then it's a clear choice. If you ask me I think we are only missing the superstar.

    Ps. Jimmer would of never had the recognition he got at any bigger school. He would have been known as a great player but he was in a system that highlighted his talents. No big school would have just handed the reins to jimmer the way rice did Hopefully thats what unlv can do for SM.

  18. @ Djk

    I agree with you on most of your statements. I don't think you can build your entire team around one-and-dones (Kentucky last year with Wall, Cousins, etc. compared to this year) if your goal is to win a national championship. But surrounding an elite player with a good supporting cast can take you to the championship/final four. Anyway, I don't think UNLV can build its program that way because it isn't a national draw like Duke or UNC.

    I also agree that being a superstar at a mid-major is better than being a player at a power school. Just compare AM with Elijah Johnson (Kansas). AM is always in the spotlight, getting coverage, and basically standing out. Johnson was buried on the bench last year. So yes, SM would be better off go to UNLV, staying close to his family/brother, and being a superstar (probably) if Rice runs an up-tempo offensive system instead of a ball-stopping offense like Krugers.

    Last point, what is the rotation for the Rebels next year anyway? The ideal rotation would be about 8 guys, but they can seriously run 10 guys every night. With a deep bench, they should maintain the same defensive pressure like last year, but impliment a ball-pushing offense that constantly attacks and uses movement.

  19. I don't think that unlv can build a team around a one n done regulary (yet). I just think in SM circumstance we can because we would have a veteran team of QT, AM, Lopez and Moser and Shabazz. That's dope on a rope right there. Then add improved other players and maybe breakouts of other players plus hopefully Allen or Carter as freshman as well. That's an elite team.

  20. Rice is coming in at a good time. SDSU is losing a ton of talent, BYU exits stage left. New Mexico looks to be the prime competition for the MWC next season, and the talent coming back already should be enough to win the conference.

    Pair that with some good fortunate vs. non-conference foes, and Rice should come out of the gates with excellent momentum. Maybe that buzz keeps some of that local talent around. If not, given Rice's work ethic and personality, other kids will want to be a part of what he's going on at UNLV.

    That's what Livengood is selling, and right now I'm buying with everything I've seen and heard so far.

  21. I wouldn't discount CSU being in contention either. I don't think they're on our level, but they did steal one last season and Miles is a good coach.

  22. I think its going to be between us and UNM, but I really think it will be our conference to lose. Losing Gary is really going to hurt UNM. SDSU lost a ton and I think CSU will take a small step back with the loss of 1st team all conference forward Andy Ogide.

    As far as Shabazz. One of the biggest things that would benefit UNLV if he came here would be the players he would bring with him. I guarantee that if he committed, it would not be long before some of the other top players at Gorman and Findlay would be hopping on board. Everything I am hearing suggests Shabazz would likely stay for 2 years and Djk is right in pointing out the veterans that would be around Shabazz for his first year. You can't underestimate the impact landing Shabazz might have on future recruiting too. If an elite player chooses a school, that school gets some pub on ESPN and other recruits might give UNLV a second look because "If its good enough for Shabazz..." I still think it is a tall order for us to actually land him, but I think our chances got better with the hiring of Rice.

    And a Dantley Walker update for those who care: Still coming to UNLV!

  23. I love UNLV but Muhammad is not staying and hiring Dave Rice had a lot to do with that.

  24. I think SM is still a longshot but if he actually stays home he would put the rebs over the top, he will be that good as a freshman. I think we'll end up getting Morant from Gorman especially with his relationship w/Hutson. UNLV definately needs 1 of the big 3 from BG. We'll see what happens...