Former UNLV big man Lou Amundson to make Las Vegas return

Updated June 3, 2017 - 6:24 pm

The last time I saw him up close and personal, he had a big bandage on his hand, and nasty stuff was oozing from it. Lou Amundson was playing for UNLV then. He had a staph infection and sat out an entire season.

This was before the man bun. Before the ponytail. Before he went undrafted, but wound up playing in the NBA anyway. Not for 10 days, not for one season, or two or three. But for nine seasons.

In 2014-15, when he started 35 games of the 41 he played for the Knicks, the former Rebels’ big man became the 12th player in NBA history to perform for 10 teams. Which is a pretty nice accomplishment, considering most people thought Lou Amundson never would play for one.

Next month, he’ll be playing in the TBT West Regional at Desert Oasis High School. TBT stands for The Basketball Tournament. It pays $2 million to the winning team, and later-round games are televised on ESPN. Amundson needs the exposure more than he needs the money.

At 34, he seeks more pro minutes. If not for an NBA team, then for some squad overseas. He says he loves to travel.

“This year, I didn’t play much,” Amundson said during a telephone chat. “I waited for an NBA job, but it just didn’t happen. I went over to the Philippines; it was great, but it was a short stint.”

He doesn’t know much about TBT. He doesn’t know much about the team for which he will play. He thinks it is based back East.

“There are some high-level guys who will be part of it,” he said. “It will be cool to see some people (in Las Vegas) that I haven’t seen in a while.”

Amundson said he was proud of having played for 10 NBA teams, and proud, too, of the man bun. “I’m the one who started it; now they’ve got a term for it,” he said with a laugh.

He was asked if the man bun would make a comeback in Las Vegas. Doesn’t look like it.

“Short,” Lou Amundson said about the current length of his hair. “Like sophomore year at UNLV.”

Dorm chasers

It’s kinda cool that Desiree Reed-Francois, UNLV’s new athletic director, temporarily is residing in a women’s dormitory to interact with students and/or save her cash-strapped program a few dollars on lodging during her transition from Virginia Tech.

See what Mike Hamrick started.

Hamrick was the Rebels’ AD in 2009 before moving on to the same job at Marshall, where he, too, slept in the women’s dormitory for a spell. A cynical Rebels fan might say that would rank as one of his biggest accomplishments.

His presence in the women’s dorm raised eyebrows, according to Marshall’s student newspaper.

“Excuse me, sir, I’m not trying to be rude, but what are you doing?” a female student asked.

Hamrick said he was doing his laundry.

He explained that he’d be living there awhile, and that also he was the school’s new athletic director. He may or may not have asked to borrow some fabric softener.


— Modern-day Aquaman Michael Phelps was in Las Vegas playing cards with buddies in the World Series of Poker this past week, continuing the Phelps’ family relationship with our city. When he still was in training, Phelps would reach out to retired UNLV swim coach Jim Reitz so he could work out on the down low at Buchanan Natatorium. Whitney Phelps, Michael’s older sister, swam the butterfly for the Rebels during the late 1990s.

— Mark Brandon, who owns a Las Vegas State Farm Insurance business, has been named to the All-Century football team at Toledo, where he was a defensive back from 1981 to 1984. Brandon’s other claim to fame: He intercepted the last pass of Randall Cunningham’s college career during UNLV’s 30-13 victory over the Rockets in the 1984 California Bowl. “I’ve got a picture in my office. I still give him a hard time,” Brandon said.

— While the College of Southern Nevada did not mount another miracle comeback at the JUCO World Series, coach Nick Garritano said it still was a season to remember. In addition to winning conference, region and district championships, CSN had six Academic All-Americans and 19 players with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. “It was a great year,” he wrote on Twitter in thanking Coyotes fans for their support. “Not the ending we wanted but proud of our program.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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