Who would have thought Anthony Bennett could start the season this way? Yes, we knew he would be good, but his performance has been almost superhuman—19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. And he’s an aggressive big man who’s almost never in foul trouble. That’s just not normal for a freshman.
• After Mike Moser dislocated his elbow against Cal in early December, I thought the team would struggle a bit; after all, Mike—along with Anthony Marshall—is the Rebels’ leader. But the team has done well in his absence, and other players are stepping up to help. Meanwhile, Moser continues to lead from the sidelines, keeping everyone pumped up and in tune with the game. You’ve got to admire a player like Moser—he’s not selfish; he cares about his teammates.
• Marshall seems to be settling into his role as the full-time point guard. Sometimes I see him thinking too much, but that’s not an easy spot to come in and dominate.
• More good news arrived for the Rebels when Khem Birch became eligible in mid-December and began contributing right away. He has shown that he can play alongside AB, and he’s a great defender. It makes you wonder what it will be like with Moser back in the line-up. (Scary, isn’t it?)
• Katin Reinhardt and Bryce Dejean-Jones are two more good options in the offense; they’ve had challenging starts, but both have shown flashes of greatness. Consistency will be the key for them.
• All in all, I would have to give the Rebels an “A” so far. But let’s not forget the conference season is just around the corner—and, with the Mountain West now one of the nation’s premier conferences, everything is about to get much more difficult.
Robert Smith, a star point guard for the Rebels from 1974-77, is part of the UNLV broadcast team on ESPN Radio 1100.