Meet Nick Blake


It seems lately the best high school and prep basketball talents in Las Vegas eluded UNLV. It was frustrating to watch Troy Brown opt for Oregon, or Shabazz Muhammad head off to UCLA. Even lately Jalen Hill of Clark decided it was in his best interest to play at Oklahoma, and Julian Strawther of Liberty wanted to play for Gonzaga. It undeniably stings when that level of talent goes out and finds success away from UNLV and Las Vegas. 

Many coaches from the high school ranks in Vegas have been vocal about the former UNLV staff under Marvin Menzies just not being all that invested in keeping locals local. Kylah Martinez, mother of one of the hottest prospects in the west, Jhaylon Martinez, (A UNLV commit for 2020 and former Coronado big man) has gone on record as saying, “I hear from Marvin at Grand Canyon more than I ever did while he was at UNLV.” So perhaps it’s not all that surprising that these kids travel elsewhere for the collegiate experience. 

One thing I know for certain is that a pipeline is created by creating and cultivating relationships. Doesn’t matter where it is. If you prioritize, and make sure a kid is loved and wanted by your school implicitly, there’s a better than good chance they choose your program when it is all said and done. 

Interview - Meet New Rebel Nick Blake | Franchise Sports Media

It just so happens that TJ Otzelberger decided that the best pipeline that he could create and cultivate was one that existed in his new school’s backyard. He knew that by prioritizing the top flight local talent that they’d start flocking to the hometown Runnin’ Rebels. Turns out that plan has worked. Already for 2020 Nick Blake and Donavan Yap have committed to UNLV. Top transfer and former Findlay Pilot, Donnie Tillman, came back home as well. 


Representing Franchise Sports Media, I was lucky enough to sit down with Nick Blake and talk to him about just what it means to stay home for college, his relationship with Otzelberger, and how he sees this UNLV program building itself back towards prominence. He had some stellar answers below. 


Nick Blake


JW– When did UNLV get involved with your recruitment?

NB- After the first live period in April.

JW- How is your relationship with coach Otzelberger and the staff, and what role did it play in you choosing UNLV?

NB- My relationship with the Coaching Staff is amazing. I feel like I’ve connected with all of them in terms of goals and expectations for the future and it was the pinnacle in my decision.

JW- As a local player committing to play for your hometown team, describe what makes the opportunity special to you.

NB- Being able to play in front of the people I grew up with and for my city is just something you can’t top.

JW- Will you actively recruit other locals and try to persuade them to follow in your footsteps? If so, who?

NB- Yes, I’m trying real hard for Jhaylon Martinez and Mwani Wilkinson.

JW- In your opinion, what are your primary strengths as a player?

NB- My Scoring, playmaking, and versatility.

JW- What are some things you feel you need to work on to get better?

NB- Continuing to get better playing without the ball. Coming off screens and reads.

JW- What are some of your goals on the basketball court while you attend UNLV?

NB- First & foremost win!MWC Champions is a real goal of mine for our team next year. Individually I’d like to get MWC Freshman of the Year and make 1st All-Conference.

JW- Besides basketball, what are you looking to get out of your collegiate experience?

NB- Becoming the student I want to be academically & looking forward to being able to reach so many new people and touch their lives. Whether it be through basketball or just community outreach.

JW- Now that you have chosen UNLV, what is your message to Rebel fans?

NB- Get ready to get back to the old UNLV winning ways !


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