UNLV Basketball: 2021-22 season preview and outlook for Runnin’ Rebels

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UNLV Basketball Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in three seasons, UNLV Basketball found themselves in need of a head coach. TJ Otzelberger flew the coop to take the head job at Iowa State, leaving UNLV on the hunt again. They tabbed assistant coach and son of former Rebels’ coach Lon Kruger, Kevin Kruger to be the next head coach.

While the move was met with some skepticism from the fanbase who wanted more of a name. Kruger wasted little time this summer building his roster and despite the (perhaps) unrealistic expectations of the fanbase, the new head coach has built an intriguing roster for this season.

When the coaching change was made, 10 players on the roster and a number of recruits left the program, leaving Kruger with a lot of work to do. Thankfully for Kruger, leading scorer and assist man Bryce Hamilton returns as does senior Marvin Coleman who played in just six games last season.

As much as the transfer portal hurt Kruger and UNLV, it also helped him rebuild the roster in a hurry by adding eight transfers. The names that were brought in may not ring a bell to a lot of fans, but Kruger hopes that they can help UNLV from taking a step back in the Mountain West.

Royce Hamm, Jr. and Donovan Williams come over from Texas and fellow Big 12 competitor Victor Iwuakor joins them from Oklahoma. David Muoka is a big man from Lamar who averaged 5.4 points and 6.8 rebounds last season and guard Mike Nuga was Kent State’s second-leading scorer and rebounder in 2021. Justin Williams from Hawaii and Jordan McCabe from West Virginia are two more guards that should add backcourt depth.

For the second time in three years, UNLV has had to hit the reset button, here is a look at what Kevin Kruger’s version of the Runnin’ Rebels will look like.

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