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June 16, 2021

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UNLV adds big man Victor Iwuakor via transfer portal

Kevin Kruger

Courtesy UNLV

Kevin Kruger, an assistant basketball coach the past two seasons at UNLV, was elevated to head coach on March 21, 2021. Kruger was part of UNLV’s Sweet Sixteen team in 2007. That squad was coached by his dad, Lon.

UNLV added a third incoming transfer on Monday, as former Oklahoma big man Victor Iwuakor will join the scarlet and gray for the 2021-22 season.

Iwuakor’s commitment was announced by UNLV, along with the signings of former West Virginia point guard Jordan McCabe and former Texas forward Royce Hamm.

Iwuakor was a three-star prospect in the Class of 2019, rated the No. 152 player in the nation by 247 Sports. The 6-foot-7 forward had offers from schools such as Baylor, Florida and Arkansas, but the athletic big man ultimately chose Oklahoma.

UNLV coach Kevin Kruger is looking to rebuild the roster through the transfer portal, and he appears to be targeting players from power-conference teams who could be more productive against Mountain West competition. Iwuakor, McCabe and Hamm all fit that description, and all will be eligible immediately next season.

In a statement, Kruger highlighted their experience at the Division-I level.

"We are extremely excited to have Royce, Victor and Jordan join the UNLV family," Kruger said. "They all bring NCAA Tournament experience and understand the work that it takes to get there."

In two years with the Sooners, Iwuakor averaged 2.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.3 blocks per game. He only got 10.8 minutes per contest this season, with one start. His best performance came on Dec. 22 against Texas Tech, when he posted eight points, 10 rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes off the bench.

Kruger should have plenty of intel on Iwuakor, as new UNLV assistant Carlin Hartman was on staff at Oklahoma the past five years and was the lead recruiter on Iwuakor. And Kruger’s father, Lon Kruger, was the head coach at Oklahoma, so UNLV must know what it’s getting with Iwuakor.

Here’s where UNLV’s 2021-22 roster stands as of now:

Returning players

Marvin Coleman

Moses Wood

Nick Blake

Reece Brown

Incoming transfers

Jordan McCabe

Royce Hamm

Victor Iwuakor

Incoming recruits (signed)

Arthur Kaluma

Keshon Gilbert

Guards David Jenkins and Bryce Hamilton and center Mbacke Diong could still return. Jenkins is in the transfer portal but is still considering UNLV, Hamilton is waiting on feedback from the NBA Draft process, and Diong could still choose to exercise an additional COVID year, per new NCAA rules.

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

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