by Jake Runyon (@jakerunyon)
Lets just get the one bad grade out of the way.
Cody Doolin, D+: So Cody didn’t have his best game, big deal. He still was an important leader for UNLV last night. Arizona’s length, and half court pressure gave him some trouble, but we won’t run into very many teams even capable to defend like that. Cody is, and will continue to be the rebels’ floor General.
Jelan Kendrick, B: If you look at the stat sheet, it wouldn’t seem like Kendrick had any impact on the game. (0 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists), but in the second half, when UNLV was using the zone defense, his length frustrated Arizona’s Stanley Johnson. Kendrick has done a great job identifying ways he can help UNLV, even if it means he doesn’t fill up the stat sheet.
Christian Wood, A+: Christian Wood used to be “young KD”, but last night he looked like “young Kareem”. He hijacked the game from Arizona, and he wasn’t going to give it back. Key stat for wood? 4/4 from the charity stripe.
Goodluck Okonoboh, A-: The best thing about Goodluck’s defense is that he isn’t just a shot blocker. He is strong and has good feet. Arizona’s bigs could not get anything going all night because he flat-out would not let them. His offensive game might have been more important than his defense. His aggressive play forced Rondae Hollis-Jefferson into foul trouble.
Rashad Vaughn, A-: Some players at UNLV have their trademark moves. Carlos Lopez Sosa had the pass fake. Anthony Bennett had those thunderous dunks. Wendell White had that baseline jumper. Rashad Vaughn has the floater in the lane. It is a beautiful shot, and it displays why he should be in the NBA next year. He can also attack the rim, has a midrange game, and can knock down contested 3s.
Pat McCaw, A-: The freshman continues to surprise. With Doolin struggling, McCaw was able to step into the PG role, and really control the game when it mattered most. In the postgame interview, Rice talked about how clutch McCaw was running the pick and roll in the second half; making the right read on almost every single play.
Dwayne Morgan, B: He didn’t play that many minutes but he was a key figure in a call that changed the game. Kaleb Tarczewski pulled down a rebound, and in effort to create space, he elbowed Morgan hard in the face. Hope he is alright, and ready to go against SUU on Saturday.
Jordan Cornish, B+: What Jordan Cornish did last night will never be seen on a stat sheet, but it was as important in this game as anything. After Stanley Johnson picked off a pass and was going the other way for an easy bucket, Cornish raced to the defend the rim, and in doing so, committed a hard foul on Johnson. Cornish didn’t back down, and let Johnson know that he had to earn his points. Refs had to separate the two, and handed out double-technicals. Cornish set the tone of the game on that play, and in the process, got into the head of Arizona’s elite freshman.
Coach Rice, A: Everyone associated with UNLV is happy about last night’s win, but I doubt anyone is more pleased than Dave Rice. Beating a top ranked team is always a good thing. When that team is regional recruiting rival, it is even better. I know a lot of Dave Rice skeptics who will still find ways to point out Dave Rice’s flaws, but a result like last night will keep the critics quiet at least for a little while. Rice had a gameplan for tonight, and it was executed well by the players.