UNLV’s Rice shores up another strong recruiting class

Dave Rice has been talking about a faster-paced style of play, and in the meantime, the UNLV basketball coach is not slowing down on the recruiting trail.

The Rebels’ most recent commitment — 6-foot-2-inch point guard Jaylen Fisher from Bolton High School in Memphis, Tenn. — all but guarantees Rice’s incoming class in 2016 again will rank among the nation’s best.

ESPN.com ranks Fisher the No. 34 player in the senior class, and Rivals.com ranks him No. 55. Fisher picked UNLV over Arkansas, Baylor, Indiana, Louisiana State and Memphis.

“UNLV was the right fit,” Fisher told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I weighed the pros and cons, and just the success coach Rice has developing his players. Even (the players) who aren’t going to the NBA, they’re getting better.”

Stephen Zimmerman might be the next to leave early for the NBA. The 7-footer from Bishop Gorman headlines the Rebels’ current freshman class, and speculation will persist all season that he plans to be a one-and-done college player.

With only two seniors, guards Ike Nwamu and Jerome Seagears, set to leave the program, the UNLV coaching staff is obviously expecting two more scholarship players to depart for one reason or another.

Fisher is the fourth commitment for 2016. He joins Carlos Johnson, a 6-4 guard from Findlay Prep, former Findlay Prep forward Justin Jackson and Christian Vital, a 6-2 guard from Oakdale, Conn., in next year’s recruiting class. Jackson also has been ranked as a top-50 prospect.

Entering his fifth season, Rice has produced two NBA Draft picks. Anthony Bennett went No. 1 overall to Cleveland in 2013, and Rashad Vaughn was the No. 17 pick by Milwaukee this year. Khem Birch, Roscoe Smith and Chris Wood left UNLV early to turn pro but went undrafted.

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.

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