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Freshman guards could make immediate impact at UNLV

Updated October 2, 2018 - 5:30 pm

The ending to his high school career wasn’t what Trey Woodbury envisioned.

Now, though, he has a fresh start at UNLV, a new chance to create a different, more memorable storyline.

“I think definitely that’s given me a little more motivation, but mainly because I haven’t played in a while,” said Woodbury, who played at Clark. “So it’s exciting to get out here and get up and down the floor. It’s exciting for the season to come up. It’s a little motivation for sure.”

Woodbury and Bryce Hamilton could be the impact backcourt players the Rebels need as they help replace graduates Jordan Johnson and Jovan Mooring.

The 6-foot-4-inch freshmen won’t be asked to do it all because senior Noah Robotham and sophomore Amauri Hardy could be the starting guards when the Rebels open their season Nov. 10 against Loyola Marymount at the Thomas & Mack Center. But Woodbury and Hamilton will be needed to produce at some point.

“Optimistic is probably the most accurate word to describe them, but they’ve got a long way to go,” UNLV coach Marvin Menzies said. “They’re freshmen. I don’t want to put too much on them too early. I like the fact they have some guys around them that they can learn from and grow from, and I think that will be the key. How fast they develop and how fast they mature is kind of a joint deal. It’s how much we demand out of them, but also how much they demand out of themselves.”

Woodbury was a three-star recruit at Clark, a two-guard known for a strong outside shot and the ability to get to the basket. He averaged 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a junior at Clark, but was dismissed from the team midway through his senior season after breaking an undisclosed team rule.

UNLV never wavered in its commitment to Woodbury, who had chosen the Rebels over Arizona State, Southern California and Texas Christian, among others.

“I feel like I have great chemistry with these guys,” Woodbury said. “It feels like a family already, and I’ve only been here a couple months.”

Like Woodbury, Hamilton can score from different parts of the court. He isn’t as strong from outside as Woodbury but is a better slasher who often plays above the rim.

Finding different ways to score should benefit a team looking to replace the 27.4 points averaged by its departing guards.

“I don’t know my role yet,” Hamilton said. “Whatever Coach needs me to do, I’ll do to help the team win.”

Hamilton was listed by 247Sports as a four-star recruit out of Pasadena (California) High and was given a three-star designation in its composite rankings. He also had scholarship offers from UNR, Ohio State, Utah, Arizona State and Colorado before deciding to sign with UNLV.

“When you interject freshmen into a program, typically they’ve got to pay their dues and bide their time a little bit until an opportunity comes,” Menzies said. “But this is a particularly talented class, so I’m not going to not play (Woodbury and Hamilton) because they’re freshmen. I’m going to play the best players, so it’s up to them to determine if they’re one of the best players.”

More Rebels: Follow all of our UNLV coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Rebels and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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