Sunday, July 22, 2018 | 8:03 p.m.
UNLV received its first commitment from the Class of 2019 on Sunday afternoon, when point guard Ethan Anderson announced his intention to become a Runnin’ Rebel.
The 6-foot-1 point guard from Fairfax (Calif.) tweeted his commitment:
Anderson’s stock is all over the place when it comes to recruiting rankings — ESPN lists him a 4-star player, while Rivals has him as a 3-star prospect and 247 Sports rates him as the No. 277 player in his class — but he is a heady floor general from a winning program. He led Fairfax to a 23-10 record as a junior and was a driving force in the team’s run to the semifinals of the California state open division playoffs.
Anderson takes pride in leading his teams to victories and lists that quality near the top of his self-scouting report.
“I consider myself a playmaker,” Anderson said. “I love to drive the ball, I can shoot mid-range, dunk, I love passing the ball and getting my teammates open. And I can do whatever it takes to win. I talked to coach Menzies and I told him I’ll do whatever it takes. I won’t be selfish and look for my shots. Whatever I have to do to win.”
Anderson said UNLV assistant coach Eric Brown called him on the first day colleges were allowed to contact him in the summer after his sophomore year, and that he has grown comfortable with the Rebels’ staff over the past year.
When it came time to make his decision, Anderson narrowed his choices to UNLV, Oregon State and Colorado.
He said his strong relationship with head coach Marvin Menzies was a strong factor in making up his mind to commit to UNLV.
“What stood out to me the most was how they handled the recruiting process,” Anderson said. “Marvin Menzies talked to me about how he was going to shoot straight and be honest, never sugarcoated, and I just fell in love with that honesty. That’s what made the difference.”
Anderson also cited his friendship with current UNLV freshman Bryce Hamilton as a plus in the Rebels’ favor. The two Southern California natives played on the same 10-under travel ball squad and have stayed close ever since.
“I talked to [Hamilton] a lot the past few days about UNLV and how the coaches operate,” Anderson said. “He said he likes the school and the environment. He said he loves it. I’m going to love playing with him. I feel we can get a lot accomplished at UNLV.”
A few quick thoughts on Anderson’s commitment:
With seniors Shakur Juiston and Kris Clyburn set to graduate after the 2018-19 season, UNLV will have at least two open scholarships to fill for next year. With Anderson’s commitment, that number is trimmed to one open spot.
While the number of openings could change between now and next summer due to players leaving the program early, it’s still set to be the smallest incoming class of Menzies’ tenure. Before his first season, Menzies had to bring in 10 new recruits; Before his second season, Menzies brought in seven recruits (eight if non-scholarship player Noah Robotham is included); For the 2018-19 season, UNLV will welcome four incoming freshmen.
The ongoing reduction in class size is a sign of stability for the program. With 13 scholarships available every season, a balanced team should be bringing in between 2-4 newcomers each year. It looks like Menzies has gotten UNLV past the point of constant offseason upheaval, and now the Rebels are settling into normal recruiting waves. That’s a good sign for the rebuilding process.
UNLV will go into the 2018-19 season with sophomore Amauri Hardy and Robotham, a senior, as its two options at the point guard position. So it makes sense to add a primary ball-handler in the Class of 2019 to assume Robotham’s spot (if not his scholarship) going forward.
Menzies has said his intention is to build the program with high school recruits who project as four-year players at the collegiate level, and Anderson fits that mold. In fact, aside from Brandon McCoy (and juco additions Shakur Juiston and Anthony Smith), every player Menzies has added over the last two offseasons has been a “program player.”
That philosophy is in stark contrast to the way Eric Musselman is recruiting at UNR, and given that the Wolf Pack are enjoying incredible success with Musselman’s transfer-heavy approach, there is pressure on UNLV’s young prospects to develop and start winning Mountain West games.