Dave Rice, UNLV practice facility get props


Team USA’s basketball team held its final pre-Olympics press conference Friday and a few of the coaches entrusted with leading the Americans to gold spoke about UNLV’s new practice facility and the head coach who now guides the Rebels.

“They’re doing great,” said Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team practiced at the Mendenhall Center before departing for Europe. “They have a brand that Jerry (Tarkanian) started and a national championship level. When you have that and a community that loves the game and is committed to the game, you have a chance. Obviously, (UNLV coach Dave Rice) is very organized. He’s an outstanding young coach. They will keep doing well. It’s all there.”

Said Team USA assistant and Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim: “(Rice) has done a tremendous job with the players they have (signed). It’s a great place to have a program. The (new practice facility) really helps. We opened ours three years ago and it’s a big reason we’ve had three of our best recruiting years since then. Players can go in 24 hours a day. It’s a huge advantage. No question, that stuff really helps you.

“I told our athletic director for years we needed a practice facility and he said, ‘Well, you’re winning without one.’ So I said, 'Well, maybe we can win more with one.' And that’s what usually happens. Kids who are 18 -- you can talk about academics, you can talk about whatever you want -- if they see a nice building, it influences them. Kids are impressionable. That’s how kids make decisions.”

(Ed Graney is covering the Olympics in London for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney. More Olympics coverage can be found at lvrj.com/olympics.)