Thursday, April 25, 2019 | 2 a.m.
It’s no secret that UNLV is in the market for outside shooting. With new coach T.J. Otzelberger set to install his super-charged spread offense, the ability to knock down 3-pointers is at a premium as he heads out on the recruiting trail.
Just look at some of the players UNLV has recruited so far in the few short weeks Otzelberger has been in charge. His first commit was Jonah Antonio, a noted long-range sniper who attempted 7.0 triples per game last season and made 40.9 percent of them. One of Otzelberger’s first high-school targets was Caleb Grill, a Kansas product who set a school record for career 3-pointers. And the Rebels are also courting South Dakota State transfer David Jenkins, a guard who shot 45.8 percent from deep last year.
So it seems obvious that Otzelberger would reach out to the most dynamic shooter coming out of Las Vegas in the Class of 2020: Bishop Gorman guard Noah Taitz.
Taitz is an accomplished 3-point marksman, but he’s also much more than that. The 6-foot-3 rising senior can handle the ball, get to the basket and finish above the rim, and he’s a savvy passer as well. That skill set makes him an absolutely perfect style fit for Otzelberger’s system, even more so than some other local prospects who may be ranked higher in a vacuum.
Swaying Taitz to commit to UNLV will be an uphill battle for Otzelberger. Though Taitz said he’s still early on in the recruiting process, some favorites have already emerged. He has taken official visits to Stanford and Washington and said they are the two programs recruiting him the hardest.
“Right now I’m still open to all schools, but it’s mostly Pac-12 schools recruiting me and a lot of West Coast schools,” Taitz said.
Otzelberger has been to the Bishop Gorman gym to watch practice, including a trip that ended in a scholarship offer for Taitz’s teammate Mwani Wilkinson. Taitz and Otzelberger also had an in-person meeting last weekend.
“I’ve been in communications with UNLV as well,” Taitz said. “Obviously it just started a few weeks ago with coach T.J. getting hired, but we’re building that relationship.”
Keeping Taitz in Las Vegas may not be in the cards for the Rebels regardless of the coaching change. The 16-year-old is a serious student, which would seem to give an institution like Stanford an advantage over UNLV.
“It’s a life decision for me, so it’s not just basketball. It’s basketball and academics. My GPA is good. I take school seriously.”
Taitz, who is rated as the No. 151 player in his class by 247Sports, is playing AAU ball for Las Vegas Elite this summer. In addition to Stanford and Washington, he also has offers from St. Mary’s, USC, San Diego State and UNR.