Runnin' Rebels Picked Second By MW Media
Oct. 12, 2011
DENVER, Colo. (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV men's basketball team was picked to finish second in the Mountain West in 2011-12 as the league released its preseason media poll and all-conference team on Wednesday at the league's media day being held at The Mtn. studios.
Conference media selected New Mexico as the preseason favorite to win the league this season. The Lobos received 22 of 26 first-place votes and 203 points for the top spot in the poll. The Runnin' Rebels received the remaining four first-place votes and 183 points, and were followed by San Diego State, who garnered 158 points for third place. Colorado State received 119 points to finish fourth, followed by Air Force (78) in fifth, Wyoming (68) in sixth, TCU (64) in seventh and MW-newcomer Boise State (63) in eighth to round out the poll.
The Runnin' Rebels had an overall record of 24-9 last year and finished in third place in regular-season MW action with an 11-5 conference mark. UNLV made its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five years in March.
Under first-year head coach and former Runnin' Rebel national championship team-member Dave Rice, the Runnin' Rebels return seven players, including four starters, from last season that averaged 11 minutes or more per game, and the squad returns 76.5 percent of its scoring from a year ago along with 70.9 percent of its rebounding. UNLV was ranked in the top 25 for multiple weeks last year and closed out the season in the top 25 in the nation in home attendance (No. 23) for the third straight year as well as again being No. 1 on the West Coast.
Four seniors and one sophomore representing three institutions were chosen for the preseason all-MW team. New Mexico's Drew Gordon received Preseason MW Player of the Year honors, while San Diego State's Xavier Thames collected Preseason Newcomer of the Year accolades and New Mexico's Hugh Greenwood earned Preseason Freshman of the Year kudos.
Bellfield is a three-year starter at guard for the Runnin' Rebels. He has started a total of 99 games at UNLV, including 78 straight. He was named third-team All-MW in 2010-11 and averaged 11.2 points per game last season, while leading the team in assists (3.7 apg), 3-pointers made (66), free-throw percentage (.833) and minutes played (33.7 mpg). He also scored in double figures in 22 games last season.
Stanback is a two-time third-team All-MW honoree and has started 66 of 67 games at UNLV. He is the Runnin' Rebels' top returning scorer (13.0 ppg) from a year ago and he led the team in rebounding (5.9 rpg) and field goals made (162). He scored in double figures in 22 games last season, including five contests with 20 or more points.
Gordon, New Mexico teammate Kendall Williams, and TCU's Hank Thorns were the other members of the preseason all-conference team.
Single game tickets for UNLV Runnin' Rebel basketball are scheduled to go on sale Monday, Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. More information will be released in the coming days. Season tickets are currently on sale starting as low as $105. Great seats are still available in the lower plaza level for season tickets as well. UNLV hosts Washburn for an exhibition game on Nov. 1 with Opening Night being Nov. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center vs. Grand Canyon. To purchase tickets, call (702) 739-FANS (3267) or visit unlvtickets.com.
The Mountain West will begin its 13th season of basketball competition on Friday, November 11.
Preseason Player of the Year
Oscar Bellfield (6-2, 185, Sr., G, UNLV) - Three-year starter at point guard for UNLV. Has started a total of 99 games in a Runnin' Rebel uniform, including 78 straight. Named third-team All-Mountain West in 2010-11. Averaged 11.2 points per game last season while leading the team in assists (3.7 apg), 3-pointers made (66), free throw percentage (.833) and minutes played (33.7 mpg). Scored in double figures in 22 games last season.
Chace Stanback (6-8, 210, Sr., G/F, UNLV) - Two-time third-team All-Mountain West honoree. Has started 66 of 67 games at UNLV. Is the Runnin' Rebels' top returning scorer (13.0 ppg) from a year ago. Led the team in rebounding (5.9 rpg) and field goals made (162) in 2010-11. Scored in double figures in 22 games last season, including five contests with 20 or more points. Has shot 40 percent or better from the field in each of his previous three seasons, entering the 2011-12 campaign with a .454 conversion rate.
Hank Thorns (5-9, 165, Sr., G, TCU) - Named third-team All-Mountain West in 2010-11. Led the league and ranked fourth nationally in assist average (7.0) last season. Also led the MW and ranked No. 12 in the NCAA with a 2.71 assist-to-turnover ratio. Was the only player to finish the 2010-11 campaign ranked among the nation's top-12 in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. Finished No. 2 on the MW's single-season chart for total assists (225) in 2010-11.
Kendall Williams (6-3, 180, So., G, New Mexico) - Received 2010-11 MW Freshman of the Year honors. Became the sixth freshman in MW history to score 400 points in his rookie season, netting 406. Averaged 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game in 2010-11. Was the only freshman to rank among the MW's top-10 in seven categories. Led the Lobos with 55 3-pointers.
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Preseason Freshman of the Year