UNLV Basketball is at the halfway mark of its season, hoping to add some more wins
UNLV Hoops fans. We’re already halfway through the 2021-2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball season, and your Runnin Rebels are off to a solid start.
This season, UNLV is 8-0 against weaker opponents. The early season wins were close on the scoreboard. Their wins were by comfortable margins. Through out the teams four-game winning streak, they’ve beat Seattle, Hartford, Omaha, and San Diego. They beat each team by double figures.
Regretfully, UNLV didn’t have the same luck with stronger opponents. They haven’t beat any major teams. They are 0-5 against Michigan, Wichita State, UCLA, SMU, and San Francisco. All of those battles were determined by an average of 15.2 points.
The men’s basketball program came into the new year under a newly hired head coach in Kevin Kruger. The Runnin Rebels have been an improving team in the recent year. They have made some noise in the offseason. Taking advantage in his inaugural season, Coach Kruger decided to build his roster through the transfer portal along with recruiting a freshman. This earned him a very experienced and talented team to work with right away.
About Coach Kruger
Kruger may only be in his first-year as a head coach, but he sure is a disciplinary, no-nonsense type of coach. He had the primary task at hand when he was hired at UNLV.
Krugr played collegiate basketball at Arizona State from 2003-2006. He played for 3-years and transferred to UNLV to play for his dad Lon Kruger. He made most of the situation in his 1-year of eligibility. Kruger led the Runnin’ Rebels to the Sweet-16 NCAA tournament. After that season, he declared for the NBA Draft.
Kruger went undrafted in the 2007 NBA draft despite being a great shooter at UNLV. He was invited to the training camp of the Orlando Magic. He was eventually cut from the team. He signed with the Utah Flash. The Flash were the NBA D-League affiliate to the Utah Jazz. Kruger later joined Okapi Aalstar where he played from 2011-2012. Then club is in a Belgian professional Basketball League located in Europe.
Kruger would never make the NBA in his entire pro-career. After a short hiatus, he decided to enter the coaching route.
Players to Watch
Donovan Williams, the 6’7″ wing has been brought in as of late. Averaging 18.3 points on 58.1% shooting over the last four-games. Williams was promoted to the starting line-up against San Diego and recorded 20-points on 7-of-12 shooting.
Inconsistent shooting and making baskets was a concern for Williams in his two years at Texas. His drive and expectation was never in question. If he comes through for UNLV in the second-half of the season, UNLV will be looking good!
Victor Iwuakor, the junior transfer from Oklahoma was absent from the entire first half of the season due to a shoulder injury. Their frontcourt suffered in his loss. Senior center Royce Hamm has been dependable, but junior David Muoka is young and not ready for considerable playing time yet. Senior center James Hampshire is done for the year with a shoulder injury.
With Iwuakor being back on the court now, he has been killing it in the two-games he has played in. In just 15:48, Iwuakor has been playing, UNLV’s defense has been unstoppable. They allowed only 15-points on 26 defensive possessions (0.58 points per possessions).
At 6’7″ Iwuakor can help with the defense while shoring up the rebounding. If he can stay healthy, he can help UNLV be a better team in the second half of the season.
Click here to check out the second-half of your UNLV Basketball team’s schedule
Let’s Go Rebels!