UNLV basketball:

Rebels expected to stay in the running for pair of Florida players


Sam Morris

Showtime Ballers Dwayne Bacon knocks the ball out of the hands of New Heights Djabril Diallo during their game at the Las Vegas Fab 48 tournament Friday, July 25, 2014.

Showtime Ballers vs New Heights - Fab 48 Tournament

Showtime Ballers Dwayne Bacon drives to the basket against New Heights during their game at the Las Vegas Fab 48 tournament Friday, July 25, 2014. Launch slideshow »

The long-term benefits of adding Ryan Miller to the coaching staff this offseason will bear themselves out over time. The immediate impact is easier to quantify, though, and that includes getting UNLV involved with players Miller was recruiting while at Auburn.

That includes a class of 2015 duo out of Lakeland, Fla., who have been playing very well this week at Bishop Gorman High for the Showtime Ballers at the Fab 48. Corey Sanders is a 6-foot-1 point guard and Dwayne Bacon is a 6-foot-6 wing, and both have the Rebels on their radar.

“They’re slowly but surely becoming a big-time organization,” said Bacon, who now plays high school basketball at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.

Bacon and Sanders used to play on the same team in Florida but have transferred to other schools. This year, Sanders is expected to play at George W. Jenkins High in Lakeland, where he will try to continue the development he focused on during the summer season.

“Showing the colleges I can run a team,” Sanders said. “You’ve got to lead a team in college; that’s what they want to see. It starts with the 1.”

Sanders is ranked No. 64 in his class by 247sports.com while Bacon checks in at No. 24. They both have several options and plan to trim their lists by early August.

Bacon said his interests were too many to name and planned to go down to 10 schools. Sanders listed UNLV, Rutgers, Wichita State and Texas A&M as some of his top schools. Sanders plans to cut his list to five.

This process appeared over for Sanders last September because he made a verbal commitment to Central Florida. However, a month later he decommitted when his stock started to rise. Now he has incoming UNLV freshman Rashad Vaughn, a friend from various events, making the pitch for the Rebels.

“Rashad came, and Rashad’s one of the top players in the nation, so they’ve got to be good,” said Sanders, who texts frequently with Vaughn. “He’s doing a little recruiting, I guess.”

While Bacon and Sanders certainly play well together and would be comfortable continuing that at the next level, they’re not selling themselves as a package.

“Whatever happens, happens,” Bacon said.

There are too many moving pieces to say what will happen in their recruitment, but some clues should be coming with those lists in the next week or two. UNLV is expected to make the initial cut for each player — though that’s certainly not a guarantee — and it will be interesting to see whether any other school appears on both lists.

Sanders is learning about UNLV from Vaughn and said he planned to swing through campus before leaving town. Bacon admitted that he didn’t know a lot, although he mentioned that Anthony Bennett going No. 1 overall in 2013 caught his attention.

Bennett’s draft status always figured like it would be beneficial on the recruiting trail, as did Vaughn’s commitment. Throw in Miller hitting the road and opening some new doors for UNLV, and the Rebels’ recruiting success under coach Dave Rice seems like it won’t miss a beat.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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