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Basketball Transfers

UNLV’s Kevin Kruger Overhauls Roster for Second Season

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Kevin Kruger

After completing a solid 18-14 campaign and finishing top-5 in the Mountain West during a very tight season within the conference, UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger has risen to the occasion for year two bringing in seven transfer additions. This rebuilt roster will look fairly different from the 2021-22 Runnin’ Rebels with only five total returners but as the MWC continues to grow—producing four entrants for last season’s NCAA Tournament—UNLV and its second-year head coach have shown they intend to grow with it and stay competitive.

UNLV Transfer Additions:

LUIS RODRIGUEZ, OLE MISS

6.6 PPG / 5.5 RPG / 1.8 APG

ELIJAH HARKLESS, OKLAHOMA

10 PPG / 4.1 RPG / 1.7 APG

ELI PARQUET, COLORADO

6.9 PPG / 2.4 RPG / 1.4 APG

ISAIAH COTTRELL, WEST VIRGINIA

4.2 PPG / 2.8 RPG / .5 APG

JACKIE JOHNSON III, DUQUESNE

9.5 PPG / 1.5 RPG / 1.2 APG

SHANE NOWELL, ARIZONA

.8 PPG / .8 RPG / .3 APG

First to announce their arrival was former Oklahoma and Cal State Northridge guard Elijah Harkless who joins with one year of eligibility remaining after starting 23 games for the Sooners last season. Harkless provides Kruger with an instant backcourt leader after losing Bryce Hamilton to a professional career but can also score efficiently which will prove highly effective alongside a solid passer and ball handler in Jordan McCabe.

Next to declare their transfers to Paradise, Nevada were Colorado’s Eli Parquet and Duquesne’s Jackie Johnson whose additions both built on the already well-established guard depth within UNLV’s roster. Parquet; a former Pac-12 All-Defensive selection, is a graduate student who’ll lead a lockdown defense for the Rebels while Johnson is seen as more of a long-term prospect for the program after managing a standout freshman season for the Dukes highlighted by shooting 38% from three.

Rounding out Kruger’s April transfers was Ole Miss’ Luis Rodriguez who despite struggling with injuries, has become one of the top defensive players in the SEC having averaged 1.6 STLPG as a redshirt junior. At 6-foot-6, Rodriguez will look to lead alongside Parquet on the defensive side of things and brings a mismatch opportunity against undersized guards but is versatile and can also play as more of a forward.

With his fifth and sixth signees, Kruger was able to add a pair of former top-100 prospects in four-star power forward Isaiah Cottrell following two seasons at West Virginia, and four-star shooting guard Shane Nowell who spent just one season with Arizona. Cottrell returns home to Las Vegas after a solid sophomore season starting 28 games and according to Kruger himself, Cottrell will provide physicality, athleticism, and an interior threat. While Nowell arrives having battled for minutes as a freshman, making just nine appearances for the Wildcats but should be a high potential prospect for UNLV over the next few seasons.

And lastly, to build on their front-court depth the Rebels recruited one of the nation’s top JUCO products in Karl Jones, a 6-foot-10 forward who brings two years of eligibility to the program. Averaging 10 PPG and 8.2 RPG last season, Jones also added 2.8 BKPG and was an elite rim protector at the JUCO level but can also score at a high clip managing 64% from the field as a 29-game starter for LA Southwest.

TRP’s Projected Lineup for UNLV:

Jordan McCabe, G

Elijah Harkless, G

Luis Rodriguez, G/F

Isaiah Cottrell, F

David Muoka, C

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