KATIN CLUTCH - Katin Reinhardt is a freshman, yet still showed all the signs of why coach Dave Rice needed Reinhardt so badly.
Reinhardt is a fearless competitor that wants the ball in his hands when the game is tight, which is something that the Runnin' Rebels lacked a season ago.
Even though it was just an exhibition, Reinhardt bailed out UNLV twice last evening with a pair of deep 3-pointers to give the Rebels a chance at victory.
It's an attribute that you simply can't teach. Some players have it, some don't. Reinhardt surely does. This is the same guy that led his Mater Dei high school squad to a California State Title by hitting nine 3-pointers with a broken shooting hand in the finale.
When the game is close, expect Reinhardt to be on the floor. Give props to his teammates for recognizing his ability and getting him the ball down the stretch last night. Reinhardt will do the rest.
THOMAS RESURGENCE - Quintrell Thomas' career hasn't gone exactly the way he planned it to go, even all the way back to his freshman campaign at Kansas University, so you have to respect the fact that he has worked hard this offseason to become a main cog in what will be his final march through the collegiate ranks this year.
The fifth-year senior acknowledges that he doesn't do a whole lot of leading through talk. He lets his actions speak for himself.
If that's the case, Thomas did a solid job on Wednesday. The New Jersey native showed off a renewed vigor on the boards and offensive end by notching 14 points and collecting 10 boards after coming off the bench.
Thomas is going to be vital member of this team, especially until sophomore transfer Khem Birch becomes eligible in December. Thomas wasn't starting in the exhibition but you can expect that to change in order to give the Rebels a chance to defend the post early and get some scores out of the post with Mike Moser and Anthony Bennett determined to hang around the perimeter.
MAKING A STATEMENT - Bryce Dejean-Jones has been fighting stereotypes since he arrived on the UNLV campus more than a year ago.
He has been called selfish. Some have said he was a ball hog. We've even heard that he could be that combustible part that could potentially keep the Rebels from reaching their full potential.
In his first action as a Rebel, Dejean-Jones knocked down all those walls during his 14 minutes of game action.
What were some of the adjectives that you can use to describe BDJ's play against Dixie? Unselfish. Playmaker. Team oriented. Distributor.
It was all the things that people weren't expecting. The fact that he was the most willing to change his game for the good of the team is quite telling.
Dejean-Jones shattered all those stereotypes last night without having one of his five shots drop through the net. That speaks volumes of where Dejean-Jones' head is at - and it's in the right place.
RICE'S REACTION - It was the most upset I've seen head coach Dave Rice after a game in what is now his second season as UNLV's head man.
And his reaction was definitely justified.
Rice isn't just the head coach for the Rebels. He is also a fan of the team. He has as much pride and passion as the many devoted supporters that visit our site, Rebel-net.com, on a daily basis.
When he doesn't see UNLV do what he thinks it's capable of, it's upsetting to him. Letting off the gas and not playing with the enthusiasm and passion for the game that the Rebels need to be successful, obviously, makes him quite ticked off.
This is now Rice's squad. Gone are the majority of former coach Lon Kruger's roster, and in their place are Rice's "guys". You can tell that he expects more from them. He expects them to go out there and dominate, playing with intensity for a full 40 minutes.
The message should be loud and clear after a second half where Dixie State outscored UNLV by 17 points to force an overtime session. Don't expect Rice to put up with it. You can already see that players are going to be held accountable.
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