Caleb Grill
Courtesy: USA Today

Committed: UNLV Men’s Basketball – Caleb Grill


The 3rd time was the charm when it came to TJ Otzelberger finally getting to coach Caleb Grill.


The first time Grill committed to Otzelberger was out of high school when he was looking to be a South Dakota State Jackrabbit. Soon after he pledged to the Summit League school, UNLV lured Otzelberger away to be the Rebels’ head basketball coach. Grill reopened his recruitment as a result.

Getting a commitment out of Grill was a testament to the recruiting prowess of the Rebels’ new head man. As soon as he was back on the market, BIG 12 schools like Iowa State and Kansas State wanted him to play basketball in a Power 5 conference. The 2nd time didn’t go so well for Otzelberger. Despite having an excellent relationship and UNLV as a finalist for the high-end 3 Star guard, Grill decided to stay closer to his Kansas home. He committed to Iowa State.

While Grill played for the Cyclones, he appeared in 29 games. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.7 rebounds per game and shot 32% from 3 point range. Even though he was most certainly apart of Iowa State’s plans, Otzelberger got another opportunity to recruit Grill, this time out of the transfer portal. Wichita State and Creighton threw their hats into the arena also but to no avail.


What does this mean for UNLV? 


His stats won’t jump off the page at you, but at 6’3 Grill is athletic, strong, and is BIG 12 battle-tested. Otzelberger prioritized Grill on three different occasions, and he believes that he can be an integral part of the high octane offense he wants to install over the next couple of seasons.

The scholarship situation is a tricky one. UNLV now has nine new incoming players, and they still have 15 spots that have been filled.  As most of you know, the scholarship max for a men’s collegiate basketball team is 13. Former Utah transfer Donnie Tillman is expected to vacate his scholarship, and it’s been rumored for a long time that he will test the NBA draft waters and turn pro.

Even with that departure, the Rebels still need another scholarship to open up. As of right now, I don’t expect any more players to hit the transfer portal, and once UNLV does get down to 13, I suspect one of the incoming freshmen will be asked to prep for a season. If that doesn’t happen, it’s even possible that a 2020 pledge could reopen their recruitment.

Right now UNLV is loaded at guard. Bryce Hamilton is coming off a strong campaign that saw him earn First Team All-MWC honors. There’s no reason to doubt that he won’t repeat that feat, but there’s also a strong possibility he is the MWC Player of the Year next season. You also have David Jenkins Jr gaining eligibility after sitting out as a transfer from South Dakota State. It’s no secret that Jenkins was hands down the best player in practices, and is widely regarded as the best player on the Rebel roster. Those two will be a devastating backcourt.


They’ll be one of the best backcourts in the nation. On top of that, highly touted guards Nick Blake and Donavan Yap will be arriving on campus as well.


So what does that mean for the roster? For one, depth will not be an issue. More than that, though, it means continuity. When you have ridiculously talented players like UNLV does in Hamilton and Jenkins, that also means NBA scouts have eyes on your talent. I know for a fact that a handful of NBA franchises are interested in Hamilton already, and that only more will follow in their wake. As for Jenkins, he’s arguably the best shooter in the country. He very easily could use his above 40% 3 point averages to shoot his way into the draft.

Early departures have decimated past Rebel teams, but Otzelberger and his foundation of guards create stability through continuity. Barring a waiver, Grill will sit one season and then have three more to go. If by chance, UNLV does lose some talent prematurely, they’ll be stocked and ready for it.

Caleb Grill     Caleb Grill     Caleb Grill     Caleb Grill     Caleb Grill      Caleb Grill 

-Jeff Waddilove – Franchise Sports Media

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