Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 | 10:12 a.m.
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Less than a week after UNLV suffered another early loss in the NCAA Tournament, it notched another victory on the recruiting trail.
Five-star forward Dwayne Morgan had an event at his high school Wednesday morning and made his announcement, committing to the Rebels over finalists Maryland and Georgetown. The live stream for the class of 2014 small forward was so popular that the site showing it, DMVElite.com, crashed before the announcement.
The difference for Morgan was the attention the Rebels paid to him. UNLV was his first offer and the coaching staff stayed persistent more than hometown favorite Maryland, whom Morgan wrote didn't "recruit me as hard as UNLV or Georgetown."
"Throughout my recruitment UNLV stayed the most consistent and involved," Morgan wrote on zagsblog.com. "There were about two games that they were not in attendance for this past summer."
The team’s first 2014 commit is a coup for UNLV, which convinced another East Coast kid to travel west. Morgan, ranked No. 13 in his class by Rivals, attends St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, the same school as UNLV freshman guard Daquan Cook, who hosted Morgan during his visit in February.
Redshirt sophomore Roscoe Smith, a UConn transfer, is also a Baltimore native. Throw in freshman Savon Goodman, a Philadelphia native, and by the time Morgan steps on campus, about a third of the scholarship players could be from the East Coast.
UNLV assistant coach Heath Schroyer, a Maryland native, is the Rebels’ recruiter for that region.
Morgan visited UNLV on Feb. 9 for the 64-55 victory against New Mexico. Watching most of the game next to his mother, Tabitha Chambers, a former forward at Clemson, Morgan saw a lot to like.
“They like to get it down the floor and everybody on the team can pretty much shoot, and I can shoot for my size,” Morgan said in February. “That would be a perfect fit.”
Morgan, who will likely be a McDonald’s All-American next season, also said he wasn’t made any promises about playing time.
“They said nothing would be given to me, I’d have to prove it,” he said.
Despite the end-of-season disappointments in the NCAA Tournament the past two years, the current coaching staff hasn’t lost many battles on the recruiting trail.
Last year, they got Katin Reinhardt early, convinced Bryce Dejean-Jones this was a good place to transfer and then beat out Kentucky and Florida for Anthony Bennett. To top it off, the Rebels added Goodman and Roscoe Smith.
That rolled into this season, when UNLV did very well when it got players to take a visit. Jelan Kendrick, Kendall Smith and DeVille Smith all made commitments immediately after visiting campus. The Rebels didn’t get Jermaine Lawrence, though that may not count as a loss since they had pulled back earlier in the race. The only down-to-the-wire battle they lost was Isaac Hamilton, who took his talents to El Paso, Texas.
Including transfers, Morgan is the eighth top-100 player to commit to UNLV during Rice's tenure and the fourth ranked in the top 15.
With a guard-heavy class coming in this year, Morgan provides some more size for the future. He’ll combine with Bishop Gorman grad Demetris Morant and current Findlay Prep forward Chris Wood in the front court. That would also be Khem Birch’s senior year, though a stellar junior campaign could propel him into the NBA draft.