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Rebels Basketball:

Local events will have UNLV’s coaching staff trailing targets all over town

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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.

Updated Wednesday, July 22, 2015 | 3:06 p.m.

Two years ago, UNLV coach Dave Rice entered the summer’s final recruiting period with one open scholarship and no plans to use it on an incoming player. Then Jamal Aytes happened.

A quick refresher: Aytes was the rare graduated senior playing one final tournament to get some extra looks, and a solid performance on a Dream Vision squad that included current Rebel Stephen Zimmerman put him on UNLV’s radar. He committed to UNLV weeks later and is probably best remembered as having one of the shortest tenures in program history — Aytes transferred to BYU less than four months after signing — though he’s also an example of what can happen when a staff has a spot available and it keeps its options open.

This week is the final recruiting period of the summer and, as usual, tournaments featuring some of the top players in the country will take over gyms across the Las Vegas Valley starting tonight. And following those players from gym to gym will be UNLV’s coaching staff, which once again enters the end of July with (seemingly) one open scholarship.

It’s only seemingly open because class of 2016 commit Justin Jackson could still decide to reclassify to the class of 2015 and fill that last spot. That option has been on the table for months, but Jackson wanted to play one more year with his Canada Elite teammates before making a final decision.

Monitoring Jackson this week will be one of the staff’s top priorities, but there are a lot of other players, including some they don’t really know about yet, they will keep their eyes on. Here are some of the names to follow at the Adidas Super 64, Fab 48 and the Bigfoot Hoops Las Vegas Classic:

CLASS OF 2016

Jackson is the headline but with him already committed the Rebels must also focus on who could potentially join him, assuming he stays in the class of 2016.

Skylar Mays is a point guard who recently transferred to Findlay Prep after taking an official visit to UNLV. Mays originally committed to LSU before backing out.

And an interesting battle could be found Friday morning at Bishop Gorman High when Jackson’s Canada Elite faces WeR1, which features 6-foot-10 UNLV target Sedee Keita. Keita’s teammate, class of 2017 guard Trevon Duval, is another player who the Rebels are watching.

Click to enlarge photo

Findlay Prep forward Justin Jackson brings the ball up the court at Bishop Gorman High during the 2013-14 season. Jackson, a top-30 player in the class of 2016, committed to UNLV.

Justin Jackson, 6-9, F

Team: Canada Elite

Tournament: Fab 48

Location: Bishop Gorman High

When: Wednesday — 8 p.m., Court 1 vs. Team Loaded; Thursday — 3:30 p.m., Court 2 vs. New York Panthers; Friday — 10:50 a.m., Court 3 vs. WeR1 and 9:20 p.m., Court 1 vs. Team Takeover

Deandre Hunter, 6-7, F

Team: Philly Pride

Tournament: Fab 48

Location: Bishop Gorman High

When: Thursday — noon, Court 2 vs. Each 1 Teach 1 Elite and 8:10 p.m., Court 3 vs. 1Nation; Friday — 3:30 p.m., Court 1 vs. Mo Williams Elite

Sedee Keita, 6-10, F

Team: WeR1

Tournament: Fab 48

Location: Bishop Gorman High

When: Thursday — 2:20 p.m., Court 2 vs. Team Takeover; Friday — 10:50 a.m., Court 3 vs. Canada Elite and 8:10 p.m., Court 1 vs. New York Panthers

Skylar Mays, 6-2, G

Team: Mo Williams Elite

Tournament: Fab 48

Location: Bishop Gorman High

When: Thursday — 10:50 a.m., Court 2 vs. 1Nation and 9:20 p.m., Court 3 vs. Each 1 Teach 1 Elite; Friday — 3:30 p.m., Court 1 vs. Philly Pride

Mario Kegler, 6-7, G and Tyson Carter, 6-5, G

Team: MBA Hoops

Tournament: Super 64

Location: Cashman Center

When: Wednesday — 7:40 p.m., Court 4 vs. Oakland Rebels; Thursday — noon, Court 4 vs. Game Elite and 4 p.m., Court 6 vs. Upward Stars Southeast

Click to enlarge photo

Super 7 Boys: Troy Brown, Centennial HS

CLASS OF 2017

This class probably doesn’t have the same firepower as the locals in the class of 2015 — headlined by Ray Smith, Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter — but it’s not too far off.

The best bang for your buck would be to follow the Las Vegas Prospects, who have two top 40 locals and two Findlay Prep players who UNLV is following. There’s also the Las Vegas Knicks 16U, featuring Desert Pines High’s Greg Floyd Jr.

Outside of the guys who play in town, one interesting prospect is 6-foot-9 forward Andre Rafus. He's a versatile big man who until recently went to school at Baltimore’s St. Frances Academy, the same school as current Rebels Dwayne Morgan and Daquan Cook.

O’Shae Brissett, 6-8, F, Troy Brown Jr., 6-6, G, Markus Howard, 5-11, G and Charles O’Bannon Jr., 6-5, G

Team: Las Vegas Prospects

Tournament: Las Vegas Classic

Location: Rancho High

When: Wednesday — 8:25 p.m., Court 2 vs. Elite Basketball; Thursday — 11:15 a.m., Court 1 vs. BBA Hoops (at Desert Pines High); Friday — 9:05 a.m., Court 1 vs. Mac Irvin Fire

Greg Floyd Jr., 6-7, G

Team: Las Vegas Knicks 16U

Tournament: Las Vegas Classic

Location: Cimarron-Memorial High

When: Wednesday — 6:15 p.m., Court 1 vs. DE AIM; Thursday — 9 p.m., Court 2 vs. IE Rize; Friday — 6:50 p.m., Court 1 vs. Flite

Click to enlarge photo

Greg Floyd Jr. lays up the ball during practice with the Las Vegas Knicks, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team, at Clark High School Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Floyd, a sophomore at Desert Pines High School, picked up a basketball scholarship offer this week from UNLV. ..

Tristan Clark, 6-8, F

Team: Pro Skills Elite

Tournament: Fab 48

Location: Bishop Gorman High

When: Wednesday — 6:30 p.m., Court 1 vs. DC Premier; Thursday — 9:40 a.m., Court 2 vs. BABC and 7 p.m., Court 3 vs. NY Jayhawks; Friday — 2:20 p.m., Court 1 vs. Team Breakdown

Trevon Duval, 6-1, G

Team: WeR1

Tournament: Fab 48

Location: Bishop Gorman High

When: Thursday — 2:20 p.m., Court 2 vs. Team Takeover; Friday — 10:50 a.m., Court 3 vs. Canada Elite and 8:10 p.m., Court 1 vs. New York Panthers

Andre Rafus, 6-9, F

Team: Team Melo 16U

Tournament: Las Vegas Classic

Location: Eldorado High

When: Thursday — 9:05 a.m., Court 1 vs. Elfrid Payton Elite and 9 p.m., Court 2 vs. Hoops4Health Bulldogs; Friday — 10:10 a.m., Court 2 vs. AZ Power Black

Donnie Tillman, 6-6, F

Team: Detroit Stars

Tournament: Las Vegas Classic

Location: Rancho High

When: Wednesday — 8:25 p.m., Court 1 vs. Team Melo; Thursday — 10:10 a.m., Court 2 vs. Delray Blazers; Friday — 6:50 p.m., Court 1 vs. TJ Ford Elite Blue (at Desert Pines High)

P.J. Washington, 6-7, F

Team: Team Celtics Select/Pangos

Tournament: Fab 48

Location: Desert Oasis High

When: Wednesday — 5 p.m., Court 1 vs. 1Nation (w/ Belmont Shore 17U); Thursday — 9:40 a.m., Court 3 vs. Team Blueprint 16U and 5:50 p.m., Court 1 vs. Greenwood Elite 16U; Friday — 1:10 p.m., Court 1 vs. The City

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

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