Posts Tagged ‘hoops’

On April 11, 2011 at 4:00pm former Runnin’ Rebel player and Assistant Coach for UNLV and BYU Dave Rice was announced as the new Head Coach of UNLV replacing Lon Kruger.  It was an exciting day for the older Rebel faithful as well as the new Scarlet and Grey bloods in the Board Room at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Athletic Director Jim Livengood announced Rice as the “right fit at the right time, having an outstanding resume, excellent leadership abilities and passion both on and off the court.”

All local media was well represented as well as the Board of Regents, President Neal Smatresk, Coach Jerry Tarkanian, Brad Rothermel, all athletic department personnel, current as well as ex-players, ex-politicians, and a bevy of Rebel supporters from around the city.

Dave Rice said “it is a great day for UNLV, it’s family and that it’s all about the Runnin’ Rebels and not about myself.”  He stressed many times his appreciation for Tarkanian and all he learned from him as a player on two Final Four teams in 1990 and 1991, National Championship team in 1990, as well as his tutledge as an assistant when Tark approached him after graduation and told him, “I think you can become a great coach some day.”

Coach Rice quickly mentioned that Justin Hutson, assistant coach from San Diego St., has already been signed to a contract and was the one of the best recruiters in the Southern California areas.  He also served as the great defensive mind of the top 10 ranked Aztecs this year limiting opponents to 58.6 points per game and 39 percent shooting.

Also on his list of potential staff members is former UNLV great and current Denver Nuggets assistant Stacey Augmon.  He was called immediately but had a major concern of how soon he would have to be in Las Vegas as he wanted to stay with his team as they gear up for the NBA playoffs.

In his moderate in length yet humble speech Rice commented on his reasons for coaching instead of following the path of his master’s of business administration degree that he earned and he mentioned that he “loves the competition, but mainly I love the impact I can have in the young men’s lives as my coaches had in me.”

He felt that it was very key to build a strong, trusting relationship with the players now, that they are a great group of kids that have a ton of hard work ethics and effort and was very appreciative that they showed for the press conference.

Rice also expressed a deep need to “build upon the tradition that Coach Kruger had left behind” and then answered the question that thousands of Rebel fans alike have been asking: What will be the style of play?

His response: “We’re going to get out and run–everything will be up tempo.  It will be Runnin’ Rebel basketball.  We will defend as hard as we can on one end, then push as fast as we can to the other. But most importantly we want to be consistent.”

Again he modestly thanked the coaches he had been under at UNLV and that he was “humbled by all the people in the room and am very excited to be back at UNLV and in Las Vegas.”

Dave brings with him to Las Vegas his wife Mindy who graduated from UNLV and their two sons, Travis, 13 and Dylan, 8.

He closed his first oration as a head coach in Division I men’s basketball by stating that “it is our program, not mine, I am just a caretaker and honored to be a part of Runnin’ Rebel Basketball again.”

Afterwards he was asked a few “softball” type questions by the media then convened for some one-on-one interviews and an even larger fan-appreciation event held next door at the Cox Pavillion where around 300+ UNLV fans were introduced to their new head coach.

I personally feel that Dave Rice has an excellent chance to succeed here and brings a lot of game knowledge, experience, and zeal to a program that has been left full and ripe by the previous coach Lon Kruger.  There will not be much of a honeymoon period for Dave as this program has been in the Top 30 nationally for the last five to six years and returns a plethora of starters, talent and incumbent recruits.

The staff that he assembles will be critical to his prosperity and Rice has already taken a huge step in that direction with his first hire and those already contacted.

His temperament for bringing back the life-blood and roots of the very foundation that built this school into a national basketball powerhouse with the amoeba defense and fast break offense will not only excite the players and fans for years to come, but recreate the Runnin’ Rebels of lore and vault them to a higher level of distinction.

Let’s start with the biggest news of the weekend: Melissa Leo dressed as a doilie dropping the FIRST EVER F bomb at the Oscars!  Hard to believe its the first but in that stuffy, stick-in-the-rear, pompous atmosphere it just may have been. Hathaway I thought was a great even though she had a boulder for a co-host.  I guess the only time Franco can be entertaining is when HIS supporting cast is a rock!

Speaking of entertainers, why is everyone up in arms about Cam Newton’s comment? Ok yes he is an athlete most importantly, but don’t we buy tickets for these professionals to “entertain” us?  Why do movie, television, and musical entertainers get a free pass to act any way and say anything they want? We also as a society allow them to make millions of dollars with zero resentment.  Yet professional athletes are held to some different standard and are scrutinized on everything they do and say.  No I’m sorry Mr. 30-50±-year-old overweight guy sitting in your easy-chair still wearing your too small Letterman’s jacket, YOU CAN’T PLAY LIKE THEM!  They are the elite of their trade just like Oscar winners are on the big screen.  Yes they are entertainers and if any player acted half as bad as Charlie Sheen who exudes his “don’t give a care” attitude they would be ripped to shreds by the media, fans and suspended while Sheen banks his $45 million per year doing a suitcase full of blow and a television show. 

And then of course there’s that little flame in Miami they call the Dream Team that just got whacked at home like a mob boss in a season ending scene of the Sopranos.  By the Knicks none the less!  Yes the trio of Heat ballers who continue to disappoint their fans and loyal servants of King James serfdom that has a losing record against winning teams and is a pathetic 5-11 in games decided by 5 points or less, including 0-7 versus Boston, Dallas and Chicago.  No I’m not anointing New York the crown either but Chauncey Billups was a HUGE part in that trade as an experienced dynamic Point Guard who still has a little “heat” left of his own. By the way, just saw a replay at the end of that game, D-Wade was WIDE OPEN for the 3pt shot, when LBJ did not pass and missed, he dropped his head and walked off!  Body language says alot.

Dang man, where did that win go?

Unfortunately, as a UNLV fan, I have to give massive props to the Jimmer and crew at BYU for winning a beast of a game in Aztec country essentially dominating from wire to wire and making their case for a #1 seed in the Big Dance.

And now back to the NFL combine, who are we as fans and media to just continuously beat down and scrutinize these 20+year-old kids who are working their tails off to excel in areas of a physical nature that we can only dream of?  Lighten up!  Tell the stories, ask a few questions, that’s fine.  But let the NFL teams and organizational heads handle the hardcore interviews since THEY are the ones investing millions in them and their team’s futures, not you.  The performances these guys are putting on are nothing short of amazing for their size.  How about 49 reps with 225 lbs., or a 4.44 sec 40 yard dash by a 250 lb Defensive Lineman? Let the professional seers handle these young kids lives and destinies instead of flying around like vultures looking for some raw meat to gorge upon.  But one last note, as I highly respect the commentators and their vast knowledge of the game which exceedingly outweighs mine, can we stop using the word “athletic” as an adjective?  I think by this point, they really ALL are.