unlv basketball recruiting 2020
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

UNLV Basketball Recruiting Update: 5/28/20



The 2020 recruiting class was a stacked one for the Runnin’ Rebels.


Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

All in all, the UNLV staff loaded up on 8 newcomers altogether. Add them to David Jenkins Jr and Moses Wood, who sat out last season due to transfer rules, and that’s 10 new bodies who will be suiting up for the 2020-21 campaign. Only Bryce Hamilton, Mbacke Diong, and Marvin Coleman return for TJ Otzelberger’s 2nd season in the desert as players who have contributed in a UNLV jersey. 

So what does that mean for recruiting the 2021 class? 


As it stands UNLV doesn’t have a single opening in terms of roster spots for 2021-22. Mbacke Diong is the only listed senior for 2020 and local point guard Keshon Gilbert from Durango High School has already committed to the Rebels. On paper, that means UNLV is done recruiting for this cycle. However, UNLV is actively pursuing multiple players for 2021 despite not technically having a single scholarship to offer. 

Roster turnover is something with which Rebels fans should be very familiar (overly familiar even). Whether it’s transfers or early entree into the NBA draft, UNLV has seen more than its fair share of players exiting the program before their eligibility expires. At this point, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the UNLV staff is preparing for such an outcome. 


Nothing is set in stone, but the word I’m getting is that Bryce Hamilton is garnering NBA interest after his breakout sophomore season.


unlv basketball recruiting
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

Hamilton was unguardable, particularly in MWC play where he averaged just shy of 21 points per game. Last I heard, he was on the radar for both the Celtics and Nuggets. It never came to fruition obviously, but Hamilton did briefly flirt with the idea of going pro this offseason. If he has another big season, Hamilton will most likely be hearing his name called somewhere in the NBA Draft next June. 


David Jenkins Jr is arguably the best shooter in the country. At South Dakota State he scored 19.7 points per game while shooting an absurd 45% from downtown. The reports coming out of UNLV’s practices last season were that Jenkins regularly dominated his Rebel teammates, and even with Bryce Hamilton sharing the same court, it was Jenkins who was far and away the best player wearing Runnin’ Rebel gear. Since that’s the case, you can almost guarantee that Jenkins Jr will be receiving NBA interest of his own. Don’t be surprised if an early entree to the draft is in the cards for Jenkins as well


By my estimation and from what I’m hearing, there will be at least 3 scholarship openings come next offseason. 


So who could be filling these spots beside the aforementioned Keshon Gilbert? Here’s a list of possible candidates. 


unlv basketball recruiting
Photo Credit: Max Preps

Zaon Collins- The elite point guard from local powerhouse Bishop Gorman is the top priority for the UNLV staff. Collins is a gamechanger who, without exaggeration, can elevate the Rebels to a Sweet 16 level team based on his abilities alone. Collins is a complete floor general, 3-level scorer (meaning he can score in the paint, midrange, and from beyond the arc), and is a superb athlete. His dunks on Youtube are a sight to behold. The Rebels are in excellent shape in this recruitment and are considered by many (myself among them) as the leaders to land him. 


Glenn Taylor– The UNLV staff has focused on local talent, and there are few Las Vegas prospects more versatile or talented than Cheyenne’s Glenn Taylor. Standing at 6’6, the scoring machine played point guard all last season and can literally do it all on the basketball court. Keeping Taylor home to play his college ball would be a gigantic recruiting coupe for Otzelberger. Schools like USC, San Diego State, Washington State, and UNR would all love to steal him away. 

David Joplin- A native of Wisconsin, Joplin is a 6’7 stretch 4 who is tailor-made for Otzelberger’s system. Joplin has a smooth shooting stroke and is deadly from the perimeter. He’s also a good athlete who can cause chaos running off-ball screens and slashing to the basket where he’s more than capable of playing above the rim. Wisconsin, Butler, Georgetown, and DePaul are among the schools coveting him. 


Photo Credit: Twitter

Duncan Powell- Formerly committed to Arkansas, the multifaceted forward reopened his recruitment and is highly sought after. Powell is 6’8 and is another Swiss Army Knife type of performer. In the footage, I’ve seen Powell often times rip down a strong rebound and take it upon himself to advance the ball up the floor. He’s very adroit with his ball-handling, and his court vision is extremely advanced for his size. His offensive skill is also unique in that he likes to bang in the paint like an old school power forward. TCU, Illinois, and St Louis have all shown a keen interest. 

Anthony Swift- Another local, Swift is a 6’7 forward who was key to Desert Pines’ state title run last season. Although they came up short, Swift showed he has high-major upside. Swift can play with his back to the basket, as well as step out and produce with his midrange game. Swift has also shown he can run the floor and he is often the recipient of an assist from fellow UNLV target, Milos Uzan. 


Jaden Byers- Byers is a quick, shifty, and crafty point guard from Rancho Christian in Temecula, California. At 6’2 Byers really excels at attacking the basket where he’s a high-level finisher. He’s probably more of a backup option to Collins at this point, especially considering UNLV already has Keshon Gilbert in the fold

Ethan Speaker- As of right now Speaker does not hold a scholarship offer from UNLV, but I do expect that to change. The staff has been in contact, and there is mutual interest. Speaker plays at Boulder City High School where he has had some dominating performances against the best Las Vegas has to offer. He’s had multiple 20 point, 20 rebound performances, and he’s deadly off the bounce and as a shooter. At 6’6, Speaker’s size, his athleticism, and more importantly, his all-around ability make him a prime candidate to be a late bloomer who sees multiple D1 offers come his way.


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-Jeff Waddilove – Franchise Sports Media

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