UNLV Notebook: Re-energized Heath Schroyer excited for new opportunity

UNLV awaits Augmon’s decision, Dantley Walker signs, Rebels host weekend visitor and Marshall undergoes wrist surgery


Andy Carpenean / AP

Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer, right, talks with guard Desmar Jackson during a Jan. 25, 2011 game against UNLV in Laramie, Wyo.

Click to enlarge photo

Lincoln County High senior guard and UNLV commit Dantley Walker signs his National Letter of Intent on Thursday afternoon. Walker, who was a first team Parade All-American this season, will go on a two-year Mormon mission and join the Rebels as a freshman in time for the 2013-14 season.

Like Dave Rice, new UNLV assistant coach Heath Schroyer got a good, close look last season at just what the returning group of Rebels is capable of.

One of Schroyer's final games at the helm at Wyoming before he was let go on Feb. 8 was a 74-65 loss to UNLV in Laramie, Wyo., on Jan. 26.

In that game, the Cowboys led by eight after UNLV played one of its more sluggish offensive halves of the season.

What transpired in the game's final 20 minutes was quite the opposite, as UNLV flowed beautifully, shot 65.6 percent and led by double digits in a blink of the eye with everyone having a hand in the act.

"I'm just glad I don't have to play them anymore," he joked. "There's no question that in the second half, it was maybe their best offensive half of basketball all year. They have good players, they gelled really well. I think their chemistry is good, there's good senior leadership and guys who have been around a while. I'm excited to work with them and be around them. I'm very honored to be here."

Schroyer's hiring as the second assistant under Rice was made official on Thursday, as he joined associate head coach Justin Hutson on the supporting staff. Hutson came from San Diego State, giving UNLV a bench that may be thin on head coaching experience, but rich in knowledge of the Mountain West Conference.

"(Dave and I) have known each other for over a decade," Schroyer said. "Just sitting in a lot of gyms together, a lot of bleachers together, I've always admired him, and we've always had mutual respect. I think he's the right guy for this job, and I'm looking forward to helping out any way I can."

Schroyer, who was 49-61 in his four seasons at Wyoming, will arrive in town to begin working either Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. He also enjoyed a successful head coaching run at Portland State from 2002-05 on the heels of assistant stints at BYU, Fresno State and Wyoming.

His specific role on the staff has yet to be determined, but one of Schroyer's potential strengths will be his East Coast recruiting ties, which could help UNLV tap into several areas where it has not had a presence in years.

"I think that we can have a large net in recruiting different areas of the country, recruiting back east, recruiting in the midwest — They're areas I've recruited before," he said. "I think one thing UNLV has is a national draw."

In terms of what he brings as a coach, no one who saw Schroyer in action over the past few seasons will argue that he's not an intense, energetic force on the bench. Rice has noted Schroyer's background as an assistant who can successfully coordinate a defense.

No matter what he's asked to do, Schroyer is ready to make up for the lone blemish on his solid coaching résumé.

"Anytime that you get dismissed or you get fired, it's tough," he said. "For me, I think it took a little bit of time to pick myself up. But I'm definitely ready to go, really energized and excited to be at UNLV. With the staff that Dave's putting in place, the commitment from the administration and the university, it's a great time to be a Rebel."

No word yet from Stacey Augmon

Former Rebel great and current Denver Nuggets assistant coach Stacey Augmon is still mulling over whether to take the final assistant spot on Rice's staff.

The Nuggets' season ended on Wednesday night, and a decision one way or the other should be coming from Augmon by early next week.

Multiple attempts to reach Augmon since Denver's first round NBA playoff exit have been unsuccessful.

On top of the open assistant coaching post, Rice also has a director of basketball operations position to fill. The assistant job is expected to be taken care of first.

Dantley Walker signs

Lincoln County scoring sensation Dantley Walker signed his National Letter of Intent on Thursday afternoon and immediately faxed the paperwork over to UNLV.

Now Rice and his staff will wait.

Walker, who averaged 36.2 points and 10.4 assists per game this season as a senior and earned first team Parade All-American honors, will leave later this summer for a two-year Mormon mission. Where he'll be headed has yet to be determined, but Walker will return in time to join the Rebels as a freshman in the 2013-14 season.

Walker originally committed to former coach Lon Kruger earlier this spring, then did so again when Rice, who was recruiting him to BYU, informed him a couple of weeks ago that the offer still stood.

Rice and staff host weekend visitor

While UNLV waits on a decision from USC transfer Bryce Jones, Rice and his staff are making moves to fill their second open scholarship for next season.

Utah transfer J.J. O'Brien, a 6-foot-7 swingman who as a freshman averaged 6.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22 games as a freshman, is on campus this weekend for a visit.

The Rebels were left with a second opening for the 2011-12 campaign when Canadian forward Grandy Glaze requested a release from his Letter of Intent earlier this month.

O'Brien, who hails from Alta Loma, Calif., was slowed last season by injuries, but Rice sees him as a strong potential fit in his uptempo offensive system.

As for Jones, his originally scheduled official visit to Gonzaga, which was already pushed to this weekend, is now going to begin on May 10. He's expected to decide between Gonzaga, UNLV and San Diego State. Like O'Brien, the 6-foot-5 Jones will have three years of eligibility remaining as a redshirt sophomore starting with the 2012-13 season.

Marshall goes under the knife

On Friday morning, UNLV guard Anthony Marshall underwent successful surgery to remove a cyst from his left wrist.

Marshall is expected to miss roughly four weeks of action on the practice floor.

The junior-to-be averaged 9.7 points, four rebounds and three assists per game last season and should be a prime contributor in a new system that his game appears to be a perfect fit for.

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  1. FYl......Congratulations to Coach Kruger and the OU staff for recruiting an absoulte 0 star athlete Casey Arent. Rivals has him as the 1440 best recruit for the 2011 class, with 0 stars. Good Riddance coack Kruger.

  2. Glad to see Walker sign still, we gonna need his shooting touch. Seems like things are coming together nicely for the team.

  3. Two stories in two days! Is it my birthday or what? This is an important off season Ryan, so keep up the good work and keep the stories coming. Are you the beat writer for football too? Just wondering.

  4. lets hope Walker gets his mission call to New York City and uses his p-day (free time, once a week) to hone his game against some playground legends. Of course, probably not going to happen as the missionaries are only allowed to play half court. lol.

  5. JJ is going to be a great player. I was very impressed with him this year. He would make a great addition.

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  7. Glad to know Walker signed his letter of intent. Nevada players doing right by Nevada is always a great thing. Augmon - we need you buddy, drive down here Dave Rice style and take what's yours!

  8. DW will be a good player when he finally hits campus. I think Schroyer isn't too bad of a hire as long as he can get some recruits from the DC, Baltimore area. DC & B-More put out some serious tough ballers, let's see what he can do. Much easier to recruit for UNLV then for Wyoming. I would love to see Augmon come home but I'm sure he would have to take a significant pay cut to come on staff here. Although he bleeds Rebel red money might be the main factor especially in this economy, I don't know its just speculative. Whoever the last assistant will be I hope its someone who understands the UNLV culture & tradition, preferrably a successful former player.

  9. HIRE MICHAEL PECK for the final Assistant!! Get that Findlay pipeline going strong!! Peck and Rice worked together in Spoonhours last season and share similar philosophies of pressure defense and up-tempo offense!! Lock Anthony Bennett and Co. up and we're on our way!! Give Peck the Director of Basketball operations too...ALL his players go to class AND graduate!! Solid coach...solid citizen!!