When the number of Mountain West games is 18 and your program hasn’t won a regular-season league championship in forever, any mark on the left side of a win-loss column is cherished inside a locker room.
The quote goes like this: Seize the moment, because some opportunities don’t come twice.
It was following a game at the Maui Invitational in November when UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford, his team having just lost to Wake Forest, spoke about the Bruins being assessed 28 fouls.
It all made sense before Wednesday, how this week might play out for UNLV’s basketball team, how important it could prove in regards to the postseason, how a winnable game against Arizona State would be followed by an extremely difficult one at Arizona.
I suppose the best thing that could have happened for UNLV’s basketball team Wednesday night would have been for no one to discover those AAA batteries and duct tape needed to fix the shot clocks at Thomas & Mack Center because when you spend nearly $50 million on renovations, it must be tough making sure all the lights work.
The story behind why Derrick Jones Jr. wears No. 1 can be found on Page 43 of your trusty UNLV basketball media guide. It’s simple reasoning, not some profound wisdom that has a long and intense and complex story behind it.
The lesson is this: That a week and a month and a few months from now, and perhaps into the madness of March, UNLV’s basketball team can take from a December game in south-central Kansas along the Arkansas River a definite truth about opposing an elite point guard.
College basketball seasons develop in stages, from closed-door scrimmages to exhibitions to home and neutral matchups. To the most important games of all.
They came to paradise, as much for anything, to learn about themselves. What they do well. What they need to improve. What they are today. What they might become tomorrow. UNLV’s basketball team headed home late Wednesday having answered some of those questions a 3-0 start against inferior opponents presented
UNLV forward Ben Carter is the lunch pail and hard hat kid. He’s that guy. He’s the one who doesn’t question orders, a coach’s son who not only can play, but more importantly, knows how to play. There is a big difference.