November 19, 2019 Currently: 77° | Complete forecast

Runnin’ Rebels draw energy from preseason showcase


Steve Marcus

Deja West tosses a baton during the Runnin’ Rebels Scarlet & Gray Showcase at Sam Boyd Stadium Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.

Runnin' Rebels Scarlet & Gray Showcase

Mbacke Diong (34) during the Runnin' Rebels Scarlet & Gray Showcase at Sam Boyd Stadium Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. Launch slideshow »

The action on the court was a little confusing, but there was no mistaking the energy surrounding UNLV’s preseason showcase on Saturday. With rows of fans ringing a temporary court set up outside Sam Boyd Stadium, the new-look Rebels introduced themselves and had fun doing it.

Junior guard Amauri Hardy was part of a three-person team that won a somewhat convoluted shooting contest, and after the hour-long festivities he and his teammates sat for an extended autograph session.

In between the shooting exercises, head coach T.J. Otzelberger addressed the crowd and implored them to attend the team’s exhibition game against West Coast Baptist College on Oct. 25 and the regular-season opener against Purdue Fort Wayne on Nov. 5.

Hardy said the Rebels were excited to participate in the fan-friendly event.

“It definitely gives you a boost of energy and something to look forward to,” Hardy said. “I think this was a phenomenal event for us. We’re introducing a lot of new players, introducing a new coach, so I think this was great. Going into my third year, I definitely had fun with it.”

Some future Rebels had fun with it, as well. Class of 2020 commit Donavan Yap was in the stands, and the 4-star Arbor View guard said it was important for him to show he’s part of the program.

“I just wanted to show support and that I’m already a Rebel,” Yap said. “Even though I still have another year in high school, I’m close with all the guys and coaches, so I thought it was the best thing to do.”

Otzelberger and his assistants made a point to greet Yap before the event tipped off.

“Our relationship has definitely gotten stronger,” Yap said. “I feel like they’re really interested in trying to get me better and I can’t wait to be here next year.”

Class of 2020 commit Nick Blake and Class of 2021 commit Keshon Gilbert were also in attendance.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at

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