When Kevin Olekaibe looks at his mother, the lessons of his favorite book — “To Kill a Mockingbird” — must be plain as day. When he watches her comb his father’s hair, brush his teeth, feed him, cleanse him, talk to him, read to him.
The fifth straight win was as impressive as the previous four, which is to say UNLV’s basketball team has found a consistent rhythm in beating opponents it should. Teams that just aren’t very good.
He said it often the first month of this basketball season, said it after the 21-point home loss to UC Santa Barbara, after the close win against Nebraska-Omaha, after not getting it done against visiting Arizona State and Illinois, after playing tough but falling at Arizona.
UNLV lost its third basketball game of a young season Tuesday night because in the most critical of moments, it became sloppy defensively. It exhibited poor technique. It was Cal in the NCAA Tournament all over again.
It’s not a rebuilding year. It’s a waiting game. UNLV’s basketball team isn’t young. It’s new.
In the second game of a third season under its current coaching staff, with what has been lauded as the best basketball team Dave Rice has featured at UNLV, this is today’s reality: The Rebels on Tuesday night were dominated by UC Santa Barbara out of the Big West Conference.
Point guard. Shooting guard. Combo this and that. Whatever. Kendall Smith can play.
I was looking for Lewis Skolnick at one guard spot and Dudley “Booger” Dawson at small forward. But it wasn’t Adams College that UNLV’s basketball team welcomed Tuesday night. It was Adams State. The Rebels might have preferred a group of nerdy Tri-Lambs.
Play hard. Play together. The request might seem overly simplistic for college basketball players owning a wealth of ability, but Dave Rice knows that continuity most often comes before prosperity.
The college basketball season is a grind, for so long beginning with a practice on Oct. 15 and, for those teams competent enough to qualify for a postseason tournament, not ending until the calendar had passed into March and the madness had commenced.