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Familiar faces playing summer hoops in Sin City

Summer in Las Vegas should be renamed “Hoops Central.” Between USA Basketball, NBA Summer League, AAU Tournaments and the Desert Reign Summer League, there’s plenty of basketball to keep the basketball lovers, like myself, busy.

The Desert Reign Pro City Summer League is most exciting for UNLV fans because it showcases old and new Rebels. It started 2 weeks ago and goes through July 22.

I went to the opening night of Desert Reign at Sawyer Middle School on June 18. It’s free to the public, but there is a guy there selling BBQ and t-shirts to help pay for the event.

Some of the ex-Rebels participating were Kevin Olekaibe, Wink Adams, and Anthony Marshall. There were some former Rebels in the stands, as well, like Chris Popoola, Grant Rice and Trevor Diggs.

I also got a good look at new Rebels Jordan Cornish, Cody Doolin, Jerome Seagears, Goodluck Okonoboh and Ben Carter on the court. Rashad Vaughn and Christian Wood were there in the house too, supporting their new UNLV teammates.

Many other local kids who left Las Vegas for college basketball are back in town for the summer and suiting up in Desert Reign. I saw Sam Johnson (Legacy/Minot State), Mike Thompson (Canyon Springs/Boise St.) and Pierre Jackson (Desert Pines/Baylor).

It was great catching up with my Rebel friends, most of whom I haven’t seen since basketball season ended. I hope to see more of you out there in the next few weeks.

Speaking of Pierre Jackson, he was traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Philadelphia 76ers on NBA Draft night last week, so he won’t be playing in Desert Reign any longer. But he could be back when the Sixers come to town for the NBA Summer League.

Also on draft night, only two Mountain West players — UNM’s Cameron Bairstow and SDSU’s Xavier Thames — heard their names called. However, several, including former Rebels Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith, have signed free agent contracts since then. Birch has signed on with the Washington Wizards and Smith with the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams are slated to play in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Another former Rebel, Mike Moser, signed a free agent contract with the Boston Celtics, who will play their summer league ball in Orlando.

Summer League games in Las Vegas run July 11-21 and you can find the full schedule here. You can purchase tickets at unlvtickets.com. I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends play in the Thomas & Mack, this time with the big boys.

Well, Rebel fans, I hope you’re keeping cool and having a great summer. I hope you renewed your football tickets because it’s going to be a great year for Coach Bobby Hauck and his team. They are #RebBlooded and ready to take care of the Mountain West this year. I’ll see you soon and GO REBELS.

Follow Lori Cox on Twitter @UNLVgirl.

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