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Rice on a roll: Heralded recruit Goodman picks UNLV

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When Dave Rice was hired back in April of 2011 to replace Lon Kruger as UNLV’s head basketball coach, popular opinion at the time suggested that the Runnin’ Rebel program could soon see an uptick in its recruiting efforts.

Some 14 months later, even the most ardent of Dave Rice’s early supporters probably weren’t expecting this.

On Friday, the recruiting freight train engineered by Rice added yet another big piece to an already impressive haul when Savon Goodman, an ultra-athletic 6’-6” forward out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, committed to UNLV.

In landing Goodman, the nation’s #72 ranked prospect in the 2012 class according to rivals.com, Rice & Co. have scored their latest recruiting coup. A one-time Villanova commit, Goodman only recently showed up on the Rebel coaching staff’s radar.

However, after an official visit to UNLV’s campus last week, Goodman chose to make the call on Friday, becoming the fifth and final member of an absolutely loaded Runnin’ Rebel recruiting class.

In addition to Goodman’s pledge, UNLV has already signed 5-star, top 10 forward Anthony Bennett, 4-star, top 40 combo guard Katin Reinhardt, as well as a pair of 3-star prospects in point guard Daquan Cook out of Baltimore, and local Bishop Gorman product Demetris Morant.

And if Rice’s collection of high school newcomers isn’t remarkable enough, the 2012-13 Runnin’ Rebels will also be welcoming in a trio of highly touted transfers in Bryce Jones and Khem Birch – both of whom will likely be starters for UNLV this season – as well as UConn transfer Roscoe Smith, whose eligibility for next season depends on the outcome of an NCAA waiver request.

Adding Goodman to the mix, the Rebels have now further strengthened what was already expected to be one of college basketball’s best and deepest frontcourts.

At 6’-6”, 210 pounds, Goodman is a physical and aggressive player on both ends of the floor, capable of playing either forward spot. The Constitution High School standout also excels in the open court, an ability that will surely serve him well in Rice’s fast paced offense.

When Dave Rice was hired back in April of 2011, he brought with him a link to UNLV’s past. He also brought along a renewed sense of hope that the Runnin’ Rebel program may one day rediscover its past glory.

If Rice’s efforts on the recruiting trail to this point are any indication, that hope may find itself rewarded sooner rather than later.

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