The Associated Press has yet to release its first Top 25 poll for the coming season, but UNLV has appeared in several rankings already this year.
The latest one might have the Rebels picked the highest of all.
Cleveland Plain Dealer basketball writer Elton Alexander picked UNLV No. 13 in his preseason rankings on the paper’s Web site.
"Coach Lon Kruger has found his calling amid the glitz and glamour of Vegas," Alexander wrote with his pick.
The rest of his list can be found at blog.cleveland.com/sports/2008/10/college_basketball_top_25.html.
Guard Tre’Von Willis is no stranger to being part of a team with high expectations.
As a freshman at Memphis, Willis was on the squad that went 33-4 and advanced to the Elite Eight.
While he sees some similarities with the expectations being placed on the upcoming UNLV season, he says he hasn’t really talked to his teammates about his past experience.
"We’re aware of it, but we’re not looking at what everybody else is doing or saying," Willis said. " We just come out here and concentrate on ourselves and try to get better as a team each and every day."
After transferring, Willis was able to practice with the team last year but could not participate in games. He is looking forward to the opportunity to compete again.
"I’m excited," Willis said. "I can’t wait to get started."
He doesn’t have to wait too much longer. UNLV has an exhibition game against Washburn on Nov. 11 and will open the regular season against San Diego on Nov. 15.
UNLV did not get as much respect from the "Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook."
The publication, one of the most comprehensive in the industry, offers an in-depth look at every team in the nation.
The Rebels did get the nod as the top team in the Mountain West Conference but were left out of the top 25.
Massamba injury not serious
Freshman Brice Massamba had to have his left hand and wrist taped but was able to return to practice.
"Darris (Santee) hit me on a nerve, so it got swollen. I’m fine," Massamba said after practice.
UNR guard cleared of wrongdoing
A petty larceny case against UNR’s leading returning scorer, Brandon Fields, was dropped Tuesday.
Fields was suspended indefinitely by coach Mark Fox after he was one of three Wolf Pack players cited in an Oct. 15 shoplifting incident in Sparks.
A school spokesman said Fox indicated Fields remains suspended, according to the AP. The junior guard averaged 12.4 points per game last season.
Neither of the other two players involved had their charges dropped.
Freshman London Giles pleaded guilty, and fellow freshman Ahyaro Phillips pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.