UNLV Runnin' Rebel fans had their focus on a local basketball game Thursday night and those players that they were following closely didn't disappoint.
The outcome of the Findlay High at Bishop Gorman had little effect on what UNLV faithful thought about the effort given by a slew of Rebel recruits that competed in the game.
Findlay remained undefeated by beating the home Gaels by a 88-63 margin, but the performance's of UNLV-signee Carlos Lopez, and recruits Victor Rudd, Cory Joseph and Shabazz Muhammad left everyone in attendance pretty impressed.
Lopez had a solid all-around game by scoring 9 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field. He also chipped-in three rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Competing against a center nearly four inches shorter than him, Lopez showed off some deft moves around the basket. He backed down his man on a couple of occasions and easily scored with a soft hook that he has been working on.
Rudd, who has turned into UNLV's primary target for it's last scholarship available in 2009, led all scorers on the floor with 22 points. Rudd knocked down a couple of 3-pointers and also had a couple of slam dunks in traffic that wowed the crowd.
After being on the road for the better part of a month, Rudd acknowledged that he hasn't been thinking too much about recruiting and that it is pretty much the same place that it was before the road trip (a list that includes UNLV, Memphis, Marquette, Oregon State, Arizona, Providence, Gonzaga and South Florida).
What he did acknowledge was the fact that he was glad to be home and not still traveling around the country for a couple weeks. "I'm happy we didn't have to travel to far for this game. You kind of get tired of flying everywhere," Rudd said. "But the trip did bring us closer together."
The humble Rudd said that he didn't have what he considered to be one of his better games, even though he was pretty dominate for much of the contest.
"I was in cruise mode today. I didn't really want to do too much," Rudd said.
Muhammad, who is freshman playing on the Bishop Gorman varsity team and has been rumored to already been offered by UNLV, came off the bench and instantly ignited the Gaels attack.
The smooth-stroking lefty nailed a trey to get started and followed that up with the highlight of the night when he threw down a thunderous dunk over Findlay guard Cory Joseph.
Muhammad finished the game with 20 points (7-of-10 from the field) and made 4-of-6 from the free throw line.
"We played real well tonight," Muhammad said of the Gaels' effort. "(Findlay) is a really good team. But we played hard. We just have to keep practicing and we'll continue to get better."
Showing off a wide-range of skills, including shooting the long-ranger, finishing in traffic and slamming one home if given the opportunity, Muhammad said that his strongest asset right now is his jump shot, but admitted, "I have to keep working on it, though."
With it being so early in the recruiting process for Muhammad it's difficult to say how things will turn out for him in regards to UNLV.
However, if he continues to improve from where he is at currently, the sky is the limit for Muhammad and every big school will be recruiting him soon enough.
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