Las Vegas Sun

June 26, 2019

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Mike Grimala

UNLV beat writer

Mike covered high school and college sports for The Boston Globe and ESPN.com before moving to Las Vegas in 2012 to cover UNLV athletics for RunRebs.com. Mike is a Massachusetts native, a graduate of Northeastern University and a fan of all Boston sports teams (though he’s not as obnoxious about it as you’d imagine).

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Story Archive

2020 recruit Jhaylon Martinez: UNLV basketball is 'top priority'
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
In the wake of getting his first commitment from the Class of 2020, it looks like UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger could be closing in on landing another prospect ...
Aces win ugly, outlast Seattle, 60-56
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
The Aces escaped with their ugliest win of the season on Tuesday, as A’ja Wilson scored a go-ahead basket in the final minute to lead Las Vegas to a 60-56 win over the Seattle Storm ...

Q+A: UNLV's Desiree Reed-Francois on Otzelberger, Sanchez, apparel contract, power conference and more
Sunday, June 23, 2019
With Desiree-Reed Francois recently completing her second full year as UNLV’s athletic director, she sat down with the Sun for an exclusive interview about her performance, her new basketball coach, the status of her football coach, her vision for the future and more ...
Aces rebound with blowout win over Dallas Wings, 86-68
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Las Vegas got back on track on the defensive end of the floor and Liz Cambage got a little personal satisfaction as the Aces rolled to an 86-68 win over the Dallas Wings on Saturday ...
Aces disappear late in 95-72 loss to Washington
Thursday, June 20, 2019
The Las Vegas Aces got beaten up by one of the WNBA’s best teams on Thursday night, as Washington came into the Mandalay Bay Events Center and hammered the home team from the opening tip ...

Reed-Francois: T.J. Otzelberger hire was a year in the making
Thursday, June 20, 2019
As Desiree Reed-Francois worked in her office on March 15, 2018, she found herself increasingly distracted by a first-round NCAA Tournament game that was on TV. One of the teams played with such verve that ...

Exploring UNLV's options for final open scholarship
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
week into summer workouts, the UNLV basketball team is operating a bit short-handed. Not only are the Rebels waiting on grad transfers Elijah Mitrou-Long and Vitaliy Shibel to finish their course work at Texas and Arizona State ...
Vegas Play of the Day: Marlins at Cardinals
Monday, June 17, 2019
The fifth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun’s sports staff is now under way, effective July 1 ...

Aces dominant in 100-65 win over New York
Friday, June 14, 2019
The opening weeks of the season haven’t gone as expected for Las Vegas, but on Friday the Aces looked very much like the super team that was promised as they routed the New York Liberty, 100-65 ...

Local recruit Nick Blake commits to UNLV
Friday, June 14, 2019
T.J. Otzelberger has prioritized local recruiting in his first few months on the job, and that strategy paid off on Friday when Las Vegas native Nick Blake became the first ...
Busy recruiting week for UNLV with visits from Nick Blake, Jhaylon Martinez
Friday, June 14, 2019
This is shaping up to be a busy week on the recruiting front for UNLV, with two key prospects visiting campus as T.J. Otzelberger looks to lock down his first commitment from the Class of 2020 ...

Vegas pipeline: New UNLV basketball coach looks to the local prep scene to build program
Thursday, June 13, 2019
T.J. Otzelberger hasn’t coached a game at UNLV yet, but the hard work of building the program back into a contender began the the minute he accepted the job ...
Vegas Play of the Day: Bruins vs. Blues
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
The fifth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun’s sports staff is now under way, effective July 1 ...
UNLV basketball set to open summer workouts under Otzelberger
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Summer school is about to begin for the Runnin’ Rebels, as UNLV’s first team workout under new coach T.J. Otzelberger is set for Monday. The NCAA’s offseason calendar gives teams an eight-week window ...
UNLV 2019-20 schedule set as Mountain West releases dates
Thursday, June 6, 2019
One day after UNLV announced its 2019-20 non-conference schedule, the Mountain West released its re-shuffled lineup of games for the upcoming season ...
UNLV announces improved basketball schedule for 2019-20
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
When UNLV announced its non-conference schedule last summer, the 2017-18 slate was revealed to be so weak that there was almost no need for the Rebels to play the regular season. With a ...
For Nick Blair, finishing career at UNLV was easy an decision
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Convincing Nick Blair to stay at UNLV for his senior season was a relatively simple process. The Las Vegas native came to the table with one stipulation for new coach ...

Vegas Play of the Day: Bruins vs. Blues
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
The fifth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun’s sports staff is now under way, effective July 1 ...
What will next shoe deal mean for UNLV athletics?
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
After months of speculation, UNLV will announce its next sports apparel contract sometime in the next week. Shoe deals can be highly influential in the world of college athletics, and with multiple companies jostling for position, the dollar amounts seem to keep going up. What impact will the next apparel deal make on Rebels athletics? Also known informally as a “shoe deal,” an apparel contract gives ...
Another open scholarship for UNLV as Djordjije Sljivancanin leaves team
Monday, May 27, 2019
Another roster spot has opened up for UNLV basketball, as head coach T.J. Otzelberger revealed that Djordjije Sljivancanin is stepping away from the team this season. Sljivancanin, who signed with the Rebels ...
Las Vegas Aces win season opener over Los Angeles, 83-70
Sunday, May 26, 2019
The Las Vegas Aces have the most vaunted starting lineup in the WNBA, with two MVP candidates in the frontcourt, another All-Star scorer on the wing and two former No. 1 overall picks making up the backcourt ...

17 predictions for the Las Vegas Aces
Sunday, May 26, 2019
The Aces’ second season in Las Vegas tips off on Sunday when they host the Los Angeles Sparks (5 p.m., Mandalay Bay Events Center), and there’s a very good chance the campaign will end with A’ja Wilson, Liz Cambage and Bill Laimbeer ...

Is Las Vegas ready for larger-than-life Liz Cambage?
Saturday, May 25, 2019
Liz Cambage doesn’t happen quietly. The 6-foot-8 center is not only one of the best and most physically dominant basketball players in the world, she’s also got a big personality ...
Vegas Play of the Day: Braves at Cardinals
Friday, May 24, 2019
The fifth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun's sports staff is now under way, effective July 1 ...
With sophomore Marvin Coleman now on scholarship, UNLV roster set
Thursday, May 23, 2019
After an eventful 10 weeks that saw the majority of the UNLV basketball roster test the transfer market, it appears as though the Rebels finally have a full roster — for now. From the time Marvin Menzies was fired on March 15, UNLV has had 16 players either enter ...
T.J. Otzelberger: David Jenkins commitment is ‘monumental’ for UNLV
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
UNLV has had an active offseason, with a coaching change, transfers, schedule announcements and incoming recruits keeping the program in the news on a daily ...
How does new commit David Jenkins impact UNLV basketball?
Monday, May 20, 2019
David Jenkins is UNLV-bound, as the coveted transfer from South Dakota State chose the Rebels on Saturday. It’s a big deal for the program, as Jenkins can legitimately make ...
Aces up: Las Vegas’ WNBA team looks poised to break through in year two
Sunday, May 19, 2019
The Aces are back for their second season in Las Vegas after narrowly missing the playoffs in 2018, and no WNBA team appears more poised for a breakthrough campaign. With the first public look at the team set for ...
Coveted transfer David Jenkins commits to UNLV basketball
Saturday, May 18, 2019
New UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger has hit his first home run on the recruiting trail, as star transfer David Jenkins committed to the Rebels on Saturday. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard made the announcement ...

Otzelberger adds Vitaliy Shibel as grad transfer
Thursday, May 16, 2019
UNLV basketball added another recruit on Thursday, as former Arizona State forward Vitaliy Shibel signed with the Rebels as a grad transfer. Shibel started 22 games as ...
UNLV guard Trey Woodbury begins transfer process
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
UNLV guard Trey Woodbury has entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal, according to a source. Woodbury, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, played in 22 games as a freshman in 2018-19 and scored 1.4 points per game. The move comes as a surprise, as Woodbury was the first Rebel to commit to staying at UNLV after ...
UNLV basketball adds UCLA to schedule
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
UNLV basketball has added another potential quality opponent to its non-conference schedule, as the Rebels will play a home-and-home series with UCLA beginning in the 2019-20 season ...

Grad transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long commits to UNLV basketball
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
One day after wrapping up an official visit to UNLV, grad transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long committed to the Rebels for his final collegiate season. Mitrou-Long, a 6-foot-1 guard who played at Texas last year, made the announcement via his Twitter page. Mitrou-Long played in 36 games for Texas last season, including nine starts. He scored ...
UNLV is the first to offer Desert Pines guard Milos Uzan
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
When it comes to recruiting a prospect, it’s usually better to be early than late. That’s the strategy UNLV appears to be taking with Desert Pines guard Milos Uzan. Uzan just wrapped up his freshman year for the ...
Vegas Play of the Day: Sharks vs. Blues
Monday, May 13, 2019
The fifth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun's sports staff is now underway, effective July 1 ...

Mbacke Diong sticking with UNLV basketball
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Mbacke Diong is staying with the Runnin’ Rebels, as the young big man removed his name from the NCAA transfer portal on Saturday, according to a source. Diong averaged ...
Vegas Play of the Day: Rockets vs. Warriors
Friday, May 10, 2019
The fifth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun's sports staff is now underway, effective July 1 ...

Coveted transfer David Jenkins is 'very excited' ahead of UNLV visit
Friday, May 10, 2019
UNLV coach T.J. Otzelberger won’t have to wait long to find out if David Jenkins is joining the Runnin’ Rebels. Jenkins will be on campus this weekend for an official visit ...
Top transfer target David Jenkins set to visit UNLV
Thursday, May 9, 2019
UNLV is gearing up for the most important recruiting battle of T.J. Otzelberger’s tenure so far, as South Dakota State transfer David Jenkins will be in town for an official visit this weekend, according to a source. Playing in Otzelberger’s perimeter-oriented system, Jenkins scored 17.8 points per game while making 42.0 percent of his ...
Roster reset: A look at UNLV basketball's offseason moves
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
It's been almost two months since UNLV basketball's season came to an end (and more than a month since T.J. Otzelberger was hired), and the Runnin’ Rebels’ roster remains in flux. Two incoming recruits have signed, one former Rebel has transferred, and a handful are still in ...
Vegas Play of the Day: 76ers at Raptors
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
The fifth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun’s sports staff is now under way, effective July 1 ...
Caleb Grill chooses Iowa State over UNLV
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Caleb Grill has made his college decision, and it's a surprising one for anyone who expected him to follow T.J. Otzelberger to UNLV. Grill took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to announce that he ...
Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua leaving UNLV for Baylor
Monday, May 6, 2019
The Runnin’ Rebels roster continues to morph throughout the offseason, as Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua announced on Monday that he is leaving UNLV and ...

How does the NCAA transfer portal work?
Eight of UNLV's 11 returning scholarship players have entered the portal this offseason
Monday, May 6, 2019
The busiest place for basketball news this offseason has been, without a doubt, the NCAA transfer portal. It seems as though players are entering and exiting the portal on a daily basis, and UNLV has been no exception — eight of the Rebels’ returning scholarship players have put their names in the portal since the ...
Coronado's Jhaylon Martinez emerging as big target for UNLV basketball
Friday, May 3, 2019
Jhaylon Martinez is not your typical big man. The 6-foot-11, 245-pounder may play center for Coronado, but his skill set goes beyond that of ...
Analysis: Jonah Antonio adds much-needed shooting to UNLV roster
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
It speaks volumes that the first commitment T.J. Otzelberger received as UNLV’s head coach came from Jonah Antonio. Otzelberger’s offensive system is predicated on stretching the defense with outside shooting, and that’s precisely why the coach identified ...

Deep Vegas roots might give UNLV assistant Slocum edge in recruiting
Monday, April 29, 2019
The 40-year-old DeMarlo Slocum is connected in Las Vegas, and to such depths that it should have a tangible impact on the Rebels’ ability to attract top local recruits ...

Recruiting is 'life decision' for UNLV target Noah Taitz
Thursday, April 25, 2019
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 ...
Vegas Play of the Day: Golden Knights at Sharks
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
The fifth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun’s sports staff is now under way, effective July 1 ...
Reno native Moses Wood ready to suit up for UNLV basketball: ‘I’m all red, baby’
Monday, April 22, 2019
Wood may have ties to the north, but it didn’t take him long to sound like a lifelong Runnin’ Rebel after committing ...