Senior Noah Robotham is expected to be the starting point guard at UNLV this season. And he recently turned down a scholarship. Why would a player do such a thing?
Well, for one, Robotham grew up in Las Vegas, played at Bishop Gorman High School and loves the idea of representing his hometown team, even if it means paying his way for the second year in a row.
Second, he figured passing on a scholarship would allow the program to recruit another player.
“I’ve been here for a year and I started a lot of relationships,” said Robotham, who started three seasons at Akron before leaving for UNLV last year and sitting out under NCAA transfer rules. “I wanted to play at home. I love Las Vegas. I love being here.”
Robotham and senior forward Shakur Juiston represented UNLV at Mountain West media day Tuesday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“In this day and age, for a young man to turn down a scholarship is very rare,” coach Marvin Menzies said. “It happened once in my career before with Al Faux at San Diego State. We won the Mountain West tournament here in Vegas (in 2002) with Al hitting some big shots.
“Maybe we’ll get a little deja vu going on.”
The Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge ends after this season, and the MW is evaluating whether to establish a similar arrangement with another league. One possibility is the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“We’re looking any way we can to improve Mountain West nonconference schedule to help our institutions with their budgets and get them a good game instead of having to buy games,” league senior associate commissioner Dan Butterly said.
He said there was no movement to go to 20 league games as other conferences have done, but the MW will move its league tournament back a week in 2020 so that it doesn’t conflict with a major Las Vegas convention. That means playing some conference games Dec. 4-7.
Watching from afar
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson is paying attention to the college basketball corruption trial in New York. It’s the first of three federal trials that put a spotlight on alleged cheating in the sport.
“We’ve let it go too long to allow the AAUs and others to dictate our model, particularly in the summer,” Thompson said. “So now this is coming to bear that there are issues.”