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UNLV Basketball:

Rebels’ coaching staff keeping busy on the recruiting trail


Las Vegas Sun

UNLV head coach Dave Rice and assistant coach Todd Simon talk during the Bishop Gorman vs. Findlay Prep basketball game Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, at South Point. Gorman won 76-72 in overtime. Rice’s brother Grant Rice is the Gorman coach, while Simon previously coached Findlay Prep.

The most important priority for UNLV coach Dave Rice and his staff right now is getting prepared for the upcoming season. The overall task of building and sustaining a program requires more than that, though, and UNLV's coaches are also looking toward the future.

With a No. 1 overall pick on the resume and the program’s highest-ranked recruiting class on campus, Rice and his staff are keeping busy working on the future in the class of 2015. That includes a visit in a couple of weeks from one of their top two targets, four-star guard Jalen Coleman.

Coleman is coming to Las Vegas on Sept. 12. The 6-foot-3 guard from Indiana has other trips scheduled to Notre Dame (Sept. 5) and Illinois (Sept. 27).

The Rebels also have October visits scheduled with another pair of guards. On Oct. 3 it’s Justin Robinson out of Maryland coming to visit, and a week later on Oct. 10 it’s Jarvis Johnson out of Minnesota. Robinson has already visited Virginia Tech while Johnson is visiting Minnesota this week.

The Rebels could also hear this month from guard Eric Davis, who came to campus in August and is also considering Texas, among others. And UNLV is still in the mix for other guys, including Oak Hill Academy guard Dwayne Bacon and forward Elijah Thomas out of Texas.

Locally, the Rebels are still working on their other top 2015 target, Stephen Zimmerman. A senior at Bishop Gorman High, Zimmerman scheduled his five official visits for out of town destinations but he will have an in-home visit with the Rebels on Tuesday.

Post players, especially a guy of Zimmerman’s caliber, are even more important for the Rebels considering what’s happened the past month. First, Gorman’s Chase Jeter committed to Duke, although that had been considered a foregone conclusion. Then Findlay Prep forward Horace Spencer, another UNLV target, committed to Auburn during coach Bruce Pearl’s first hours being able to talk to recruits following his three-year show-cause penalty.

Two days before their midnight meeting, Spencer’s AAU teammate and friend Mike Cohen committed to the Tigers in the class of 2016. “I never thought I would be recruited at this level,” Cohen told Philly.com. "It's kind of a surprise to me, but they offered and I accepted.”

Considering the high turnover rate lately it’s impossible to say how many scholarships the Rebels will need to fill next season. That’s a question they won’t be able to answer for a while but they would like to start by getting at least one in the fold.

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

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