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rebels basketball :

UNLV receives first commitment for class of 2013 from 6-foot-8 Christian Wood

Palmdale, Calif., native will transfer to Henderson’s Findlay Prep for his final two years of high school

Updated Saturday, July 2, 2011 | 1:30 a.m.

Hear from UNLV commit Christian Wood

Over the next four weeks, Dave Rice and his UNLV coaching staff will travel across the country and back, scouting and evaluating dozens of potential recruits. Much of the focus will be placed on targeting who to go after the hardest in the class of 2012 in order to fill five vacant scholarships.

But before they hit the road next Tuesday, they received their first commitment from the 2013 crop, landing a pledge from gifted 6-foot-8 wing Christian Wood.

Wood, a Palmdale, Calif., native who played at William J. Knight High last season and goes by 'Chris,' will be quite familiar with Las Vegas by the time he attends his first class at UNLV two years from now. It was also confirmed on Friday that he'll be transferring to attend Findlay Prep in the Henderson foothills for his final two years of high school.

Wood bears a striking physical resemblance to Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant. Oddly enough, that's whose game he strives to emulate, as Wood has already established him as a strong slasher and smooth outside shooter.

If you're looking for a UNLV-related comparison, though, you might not have to look much further than a man who was key in securing the commitment for the Rebels — first-year assistant coach Stacey Augmon.

"He played in the NBA, so that's a big thing for me," Wood said. "He knows how the game is going to be, what the practices will be like. He can set me up for the future.

"It feels great. I (committed now) because of the coaching staff. I like them all, and they've coached great players like Jimmer (Fredette) and Kawhi (Leonard). I'll be happy to be around them."

Wood got a chance to first get to know the staff while taking an unofficial visit to campus last month, leaving the trip with a scholarship offer in-hand.

"I liked their style of play," he said.

Added his uncle, Derek Stewart: "We pretty much fell in love with the school and their staff. Christian wanted to be one of their first recruits under the new coaching staff."

Other schools that have shown significant interest in Wood so far include USC, Arizona, Utah, Louisville and Colorado. However, Stewart, who along with Wood's mother has helped raise him since he was born, said that the 3.5-hour drive from Palmdale to Las Vegas was appealing, too, allowing the family to attend the bulk of his home games at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Augmon had a major hand in landing Wood, and it was more than his lengthy résumé as a collegiate all-American, professional standout and NBA assistant coach that did the trick. He has a long-standing relationship with Kenny Story, who coaches Wood on the AAU circuit with the Southern California All-Stars.

While he'll play a major role in Wood's development once he's officially in the fold at UNLV, from the sound of it, so too will Jason Kabo — the program's strength & conditioning guru.

"My weakness is my strength," said Wood, who checks in right now at just 185 pounds. "I have to get stronger."

Still, it's not what Wood is now that has so many schools calling, but rather what he could be down the road. At the moment, ESPN scouting services have him ranked as the No. 37 overall prospect in the 2013 class and 11th at his position.

He'll likely be well-served by playing on such a loaded roster at Findlay Prep over the next two seasons. In recent weeks, the Pilots have added two top senior prospects to their squad for the 2011-12 campaign in point guard Dominic Artis and big man Brandon Ashley — also California transplants.

If the commitment holds, it could prove to be a major turning point for the UNLV program in the recruiting world, as grabbing a top-tier West Coast prospect might help the Rebels contend with the traditional powers for many more of them over the coming years.

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  1. Terrific pick-up Coach Augmon!!!!


  2. I'm so excited for this new program!

  3. Looks very good but today's flaky kids decommit all the time. Hold your breath until the signed LOI comes in.

  4. It might sound corny but The Plastic puts down the first charge. UNLV is gonna be the bomb.

  5. Off to a great start!

  6. I agree it's great we're getting the attention of high level recruits, but until the LOI is signed, I'm not opening any champagne or anything.

  7. Get him to Findlay Prep so he will be able to spell his name and at least know what city he is in and well... whats the difference the results will be the same on Maryland Pkwy. as they have in the past.

  8. Homer, "the result will be the same", must have meant NCAA tourneys and national championship, right? I mean that was the result if our past. Or maybe we will become the most aired college sports team in America again. You know like we were in the 80's (I wouldn't hold my breath for that without espn). that's what I knew you meant.

  9. Here's a look at some of his game. Not bad.


  10. Great grab for UNLV. He seems like a humble, respectiful player (besides being very talented) - you can never have too people like that on your team.

  11. UNLV will run an NBA type offense-defense ...run and gun, open, with half court sets thrown in for good measure. Augmon will get these kids ready for the NBA. Rice is the x and o guy who knows how to coach the run and gun nba type offense. This program can make it to the top again if they can find 5 future NBA kids from here or Cali mostly that want to defend "their turn" and get the credit for putting UNLV back on the map. Face it, the NCAA has been hating on UNLV for decades because it introduced what was to become the new NBA style to college basketball vs "the old school" NCAA with mostly rich white kids from Duke and the ACC mixed in with a few talented black players like MJ. The NCAA the way I see it is run by old country club millionaires who want to keep things the same or hang on to the past the best they can. To them, UNLV represents "the beginning of the end" to the way college basketball used to be, and for that reason, they will always put UNLV in a bracket come tournament time where they have to face the overall #1 or 2 in the second round. Wouldn't it be nice if they had the type of talent that would make them think twice about doing that?

  12. "their turn" was a typo, meant to say "their turf"

  13. Nice pick up, looks like we'll have some good athletes on this team. I guess we just wait to see if Rice and Co. can get them to produce and buy into the system.

    Although I live and die Rebs', my "other team" is Fresno and heard Bracken Funk decided to leave the program. He's a solid player and wouldn't mind seeing UNLV reach out to him.

  14. The Rebels are back! Rice, Augmon and Hutson are going to bring some big boys to town, good pick up, and Run Rebels Run....wish we could still kick the crap out of BYU, with Rice here that continued rivalry would be awesome...I love pouring some beer on those Provo people.

  15. It appears that Stacey is already giving the rebels an edge in recruiting. Way to go plastic man!