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April 11, 2013UNLV head coach Dave Rice had one more recruiting battle to win before the Runnin' Rebels' offseason officially began and the roster was set.
According to sources, that battle was officially won on Wednesday when Carlos Lopez-Sosa decided that he would return to Las Vegas next season and play his senior year as a Rebel.
Had Lopez-Sosa not decided to return to UNLV, it would've left the Rebels without a proven backup center to Khem Birch. It would've also forced Rice and the staff's hands to try and recruit a big man at a time when there isn't much left in terms of quality.
Lopez-Sosa's junior season didn't pan out the way the Puerto Rico native envisioned. He saw his time and numbers dwindle after two semi-productive years as a spark plug off the bench. It was a career-low in both minutes per game (8.8) and points per game (2.2).
There is a reason for optimism, though, for Lopez-Sosa. Despite the fact that Birch has the inside track on the starting center position, Lopez-Sosa is definitely going to see the court next year. At 6-foot-11, Lopez-Sosa is the tallest player on the UNLV roster and should be a factor off the bench in both the center and power forward spots.
A lack of playing time has been due to an inability to be a factor in the rebounding department, offensively or defensively. Lopez-Sosa averaged just 1.3 boards a game as a junior, with a season-high of five coming in a game against New Mexico.
If Lopez-Sosa is able to improve this aspect of his game over the summer, he may turn out to be the first big man off the bench when the fall rolls around.
The roster is now set for the 2013-14 season. Now that the Lopez-Sosa situation is clear, there are no more scholarships available and no more doubts about who might be staying or going.