While they have only played three exhibition games, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about the Rebels this season, including a sneak preview of what their offense is going to look like. While still a work in progress, UNLV has shown glimpses of how their offense will operate, in the second season, under coach Kruger. In a previous article, we discussed who would pick up the scoring load in the absence of all world guard Bryce Hamiliton who led the team in scoring a season ago with over 21 per game. One answer to that could be, everyone, as several Rebels have shown the ability to put the ball in the bucket. While the team’s Scoring Alpha remains to be seen, one thing that has become abundatly clear, is that the Rebels offense operates much more effectively when they get man and ball movement. Here are a couple clips that highlight exactly that.
Half Court Execution
- DHO Weave to Initiate – This looks like this will be a common theme of the UNLV offense, using dribble handoff action to begin the offense.
- Quick Ball Movement – The ball is moved and reversed with 5 quick passes allowing for a weak side attack.
- Side Ball Screen – After the ball reversal, the Rebels enter into a two – man game, using David Muoka to set the side ball screen for Luis Rodriguez.
- 2 Man Game – After setting the ball screen Rodriguez slides down to the block, timing his post up with the ball reversal. After the ball is dumped in he is playing 1 on 1 with his back to the basket.
- Everything But – I love everything about this possession but the finish. The Rebels show patience using almost every second of the 24 shot clock. Muoka gets a point blank look inside but misses. We’ll chalk the miss up to early season rust, but if the Rebels can execute like that, then they have a great chance to have an efficient offense this season.
Easy OB Under Baskets
Great offensive teams have a knack for scoring on dead ball plays, especially from underneath their own bucket. You can tell a lot about a program and a staff by how they execute their OB unders. In this set the Rebels execute simple screen the screener action to perfection, getting one of their best shooters Luis Rodriguez wide open for an easy look.
- Patience – Keshon Gilbert is smart. He doesn’t rush to take the ball out. Instead he patienly waits until all his teammates are set, allowing him to use the full 5 seconds.
- Deception – Rodriguez actually starts out this play on the block which is rare for a 3 point shooter. He does an excellent job of setting a cross screen proving that it’s a lot easier to get open, when setting a good screen.
- “Big Guard” – I see why they call freshman Keshawn Hall the Big Guard. He doesn’t really hit his man with the screen, but he’s so massive that it takes forever for the defender to get around him.
- Shot Prep – Rodruguez does a terrific job of coming off, sticking his foot in the ground and being ready to shoot.
- Finish the play – Because of his shot preperation, Rodriguez is able to get his shot off over a fast closing defender, keeping his eyes on the rim and knocking down the shot.
Man Ball Movement
In my humble opinon, this was one of the best possesions the Rebels had during the trip. They begin the offense with the same DHO action they displayed earlier. Unable to turn the corner, Jackie Johnson does a tremendous job of keeping his dribble alive, allowing them to reset and continue the action, eventually finishing the play with a screen and role finish by Isaiah Cottrell.
- DHO DHO – The Rebels really work this Dribble Hand Off Action forcing the defense to defend both ball and body movement from the begining of the play.
- Sprint to Screen – Isaiah Cottrell doesn’t just walk up and set a screen, he races to hit his defender. Because of his willingness to sprint into his screen, his defender is a littler futher in drop coverage than he would like.
- Patience – Again we see another example of a player playing with Patience. Johnson is defended well as he attempts to turn the corner, but rather than force it, he simply backs the ball out and restarts the set.
- Talent wins – Cottrell does a decent job of setting the ball screen for Keyshawn Hall but it’s actually Halls ability to threaten 3 defenders that makes this play. He then hits Cottrell with a pinpoint pass getting his big man unguarded with two feet in the paint.
- Finish – This is the easy part, Cottrell finishes the play with one of the easiest baskets he’ll have all year.