Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | 2 a.m.
It’s been almost two months since UNLV’s season came to an end (and more than a month since T.J. Otzelberger was hired), and the Runnin’ Rebels’ roster remains in flux. Two incoming recruits have signed, one former Rebel has transferred, and a handful are still in the NCAA transfer portal.
A quick look at where the roster stands today and how it could shake out in the immediate future:
This group is made up of players who have announced they are returning to UNLV for the 2019-20 season, plus a couple of incoming recruits who have signed letters of intent.
Amauri Hardy, junior guard
Hardy entered the transfer portal, but after removing his name he appears set to become the focal point of the UNLV offense this season.
Bryce Hamilton, sophomore guard
After playing on a short leash as a freshman, the former 4-star recruit will get a fresh start under Otzelberger.
Trey Woodbury, sophomore guard
Woodbury was the first current player to tell Otzelberger he intended to stay at UNLV, and he never entered the transfer portal. If he makes 3’s, he’ll play a lot.
Cheickna Dembele, senior center
Dembele removed his name from the portal and is now the only player on the roster with any size. As of now, he’s your starting center.
Nick Blair, senior forward
The coaching change couldn’t have worked out any better for Blair. The former walk-on possesses small-ball skills that will be better suited for Otzelberger’s scheme, and the new coach put him on scholarship.
Jonah Antonio, junior guard
Antonio will be eligible immediately after spending a year at the junior college level. He’ll play a lot and be expected to stretch the floor.
Moses Wood, sophomore guard (redshirt)
Wood is the Rebels’ future stretch-4, but he’ll have to sit out the 2019-20 season as a redshirt after transferring from Tulane.
These players are still in the transfer portal, exploring their options. Some could still return to UNLV, while others seem like locks to leave and open up additional scholarships.
Joel Ntambwe, sophomore forward
Ntambwe has been on several official visits since entering the transfer portal and he also declared for the NBA draft, so it seems like he is exploring every possible road out of UNLV. It would be an upset if he returned to the Rebels.
Shakur Juiston, senior forward
Juiston has also taken visits and appears unlikely to return to UNLV. Expect this scholarship to open up soon.
Mbacke Diong, junior center
Of all the players still in the portal, Diong probably has the best odds to come back to UNLV. And the Rebels would welcome him with open arms, as the team needs his defensive ability around the rim.
Tervell Beck, junior forward
With the timing of Beck’s entry into the transfer portal, it seems like he is on the way out for sure. He and the new coaching staff had plenty of time to get to know each other and he still decided to test his options, which means either he or Otzelberger (or both) were not enthusiastic about Beck’s place on the team.
Not all of these players were going to survive the offseason under Marvin Menzies. It’s a gloomy aspect of college sports, but if Otzelberger needs a scholarship at some point this summer, these are the candidates to be recruited over.
Djordjije Sljivancanin, senior center
Sljivancanin hasn’t played in a game since February 2017. Three national championship games have been played since then.
Ben Coupet, junior forward
After a redshirt season, Coupet appeared in nine games in 2018-19 and logged just 38 minutes. As a non-shooter, it’s hard to envision him carving out a role under Otzelberger.
Jay Green, junior guard
It’s looking more and more like Green was brought on board in order to give Menzies an inside track on recruiting his younger brother, 5-star prospect Josh Green. That didn’t work out — Josh ended up committing to Arizona — and Jay hasn’t produced a ton in his first two seasons (62 minutes, five made field goals).
These are the guys who will not be back next year, either due to graduation, transfer or other circumstances.
Noah Robotham, guard
Robotham was technically a walk-on player last year, so his graduation does not affect the scholarship count.
Kris Clyburn, guard
Clyburn graduated after three years on the perimeter for the Rebels.
Tchamwa Tchatchoua, forward
He announced his transfer to Baylor on Monday, making him the first UNLV player in the portal to confirm his departure.
NCAA rules allow for 13 scholarship players.
There are seven players guaranteed to be on the roster next year, and three more who will return unless Otzelberger decides to recruit over them (Green, Coupet, Sljivancanin). That accounts for 10 scholarships as of now.
Diong looks like the only portal player with a real chance of returning, which would bring the scholarship count up to 11. That leaves two open spots for incoming recruits.
One of those spots was intended for Class of 2019 guard Caleb Grill, but he spurned UNLV in favor of Iowa State on Monday. Another could be ticketed for South Dakota State transfer David Jenkins, who is considering UNLV along with Gonzaga, Oregon, UCLA, Washington State, Memphis and South Dakota State.