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April 18, 2013

A closer look at 2013 class

JELAN KENDRICK, F, INDIAN HILLS COMMUNITY COLLEGE

WHAT WE KNOW - Of the five players in the UNLV recruiting class, Kendrick is the most heralded and ready to make an impact from the moment he steps on campus..... The Runnin' Rebel program is Kendrick's fourth stop and should be his last.... Known as a slasher, UNLV fans can't expect a sharpshooter, as Kendrick shot a poor 20% from beyond the arc and 60% from the free throw line as a sophomore.... A bit of a wildcard, as seen by his numerous college stops, Kendrick, who was a former McDonald's All-American, can score in a variety of ways and get to the charity stripe. He shot five or more free throws in 15 of the 22 games he competed in last year.

WHAT TO EXPECT - Kendrick is the toughest of all the new Rebels to predict. It could be feast or famine with this signing, although UNLV head coach Dave Rice had to know that when he took the commitment. A wing forward that can play numerous positions, Kendrick is the exact type of athlete Rice wants in the game for his up-tempo style.

PREDICTION - This could go either way and there wouldn't be a surprise - Kendrick could start every game next year or be relegated to bench duty and hardly see game action. It will all be on his commitment to the team and system.

DANTLEY WALKER, G, LINCOLN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

WHAT WE KNOW - Walker can really fill up the basket on the offensive end. He broke nearly every scoring record in Nevada prep history.... He was on a LDS mission in the Portland area the past two years after being recruited by former UNLV coach Lon Kruger.... Despite playing against inferior competition, Walker's numbers in high school were astonishing. During his senior season, Walker scored a season-high 73 points in one game, while also notching more than 60 points on two other occasions.

WHAT TO EXPECT - A member of the 2011 recruiting class, it wouldn't be a surprise if Walker needs to take a little time to acclimated to Division I hoops. At 5-foot-11, there's also the question of what position Walker is best suited for. The point guard spot is most likely, but there is a major logjam at that position for minutes. Walker will be challenged to find a way to guard the type of athletes that he will see at this level.

PREDICTION - There was once a time that I didn't believe that Walker would end up at the UNLV campus. It now appears likely that he will. He doesn't make for a good redshirt candidate because he just sat out two consecutive years. As of right now, I couldn't see much more than Walker getting mop up duty once a game is nearing its conclusion.

DEVILLE SMITH, G, SOUTHWEST MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGE

WHAT WE KNOW - DeVille was the final player that committed in the 2013 class and is the third member of the class that was originally a 2011 member... A former four-star point guard in high school, DeVille turned heads when he delivered a 25-point performance on the road at Arkansas during his freshman campaign at Mississippi State.... DeVille is small in stature (5-11, 175 pounds), but is lightning quick and has the ability penetrate the defense and make defenses collapse on him.

WHAT TO EXPECT - There's no chance that Rice would've been able to talk DeVille into signing with the Rebels if he wasn't going to give him a fair shake at the starting point guard spot. UNLV beat out both Baylor and West Virginia for his services and he would likely of started at either spot next year. DeVille's style seems to perfectly compliment what Rice wants from a point guard - he can pressure the ball on defense and can really dictate the pace on offense.

PREDICTION - The starting point guard job will be DeVille's to lose. He will get every opportunity to earn the nod and be in the starting line-up whenever UNLV plays its first game next November. If someone is able to beat him out, I would call it an upset

CHRISTIAN WOOD, F, FINDLAY PREP

WHAT WE KNOW - Ranked No. 40 in his class, Wood joins Anthony Bennett as the highest ranked recruits that the Rebels have been able to lure from the Findlay Prep program.... Wood was Rice's first high school recruit when he got the UNLV gig, despite the fact that Wood was just a sophomore at the time.... Listed at 6-foot-10, Wood is only 17 years old and still continuing to grow. He already will be the tallest player on the UNLV roster.... More of a guard than a forward at this point, Wood has unlimited range on his jumper well past the 3-point line.

WHAT TO EXPECT - Oozing with potential, Wood could easily turn out to be the crowned jewel of this recruiting class. Built similar to NBA superstar, Kevin Durant, Wood's ability to step outside and shoot the ball with ease should create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. His length makes him a valuable weapon on the defensive end in the paint. Not nearly a finished product, his national ranking is based more on potential than it is where his game currently stands. He needs to get stronger and better on the boards to be true factor at the college level.

PREDICTION - It's not often that a player with this type of ranking would be considered a quality redshirt candidate but that's probably what Wood is at the moment. That shouldn't slow fans from having high expectations for Wood, though. He has the ability to be an All-American type player once he puts on more weight and learns the Division I game. The sky is limit for Wood over the next four or five years as a Rebel.

KENDALL SMITH, G, DEER VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL

WHAT WE KNOW - Kendall is a dynamic combo guard that has good size (6-2, 175 pounds) and playmaking ability.... He became a major scoring threat as a senior in high school, notching 52 points in a game.... His stock soared during his last year at Deer Valley, ultimately choosing UNLV over UCLA and UConn. Prior to his senior season, Kendall was weighing over schools like Hofstra, Portland, Long Beach State and Pacific.... During his first game as a senior, Kendall scored a game-tying bucket to send the contest into double overtime before hitting the game-winner. He tallied 48 points that night.

WHAT TO EXPECT - Kendall is the freshman with the best chance to play right away, either in a backup role at the one or two guard positions. He is a late bloomer that has really started to figure out his game and peak at the perfect time. With his size, Kendall won't be a liability on the defensive end and shouldn't need too much time to adapt to his new surroundings.

PREDICTION - Kendall is a potential four-year player that, if he continues to improve the way he has over the last year, should be competing for minutes right away.



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