The Seven Most Beloved Benchwarmers in Rebel History

The top seven benchwarmers in Rebel history

Leon Symanski earned his master's from UNLV in 1994.It’s always the stars that get the glory, but some of the most popular players in UNLV history were guys who rarely left the bench. Here’s a look at some of our favorites:

Benchwarmers_Rice1. Dave Rice – Even before becoming UNLV’s head coach in 2011, Rice was a source of pride for Rebel fans. The 6-foot-4 guard didn’t get much court time in his two seasons (1989-91) as a UNLV player, but he was a member of two Final Four teams, a two-time UNLV Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Rhodes Scholar candidate. Rice averaged just 1.4 points in 38 games with the Rebels, including two scoreless minutes in UNLV’s 103-73 victory over Duke in the 1990 national championship game.




2. Leon Symanski – The 6-foot-8 forward played in 36 games over three seasons (1984-87) with the Rebels, totaling just 131 minutes and averaging little more than one point per game. But he has become one of the most successful former Rebels off the court, earning his master’s in public administration from UNLV in 1994, graduating as part of the first class of UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law in 2001, and now working as an attorney for Craig P. Kenny & Associates in Las Vegas. Symanski also founded the UNLV Legends Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance for former Rebel basketball players.

Benchwarmers_Jones3. Steve “Chopper” Jones – The 6-foot-1 guard only played one season for UNLV (2009-10) after transferring from Arizona State, averaging 1.5 points in 34 games, but the son of former NBA player Steve “Snapper” Jones quickly became one of the most popular Rebels for his relentless hustle and positive attitude. He now is the assistant in basketball information and technology for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.




Benchwarmers_Emerzian4. Bryan Emerzian – A four-year Rebel (1988-92), Emerzian was the last man on the bench on some of the greatest teams in UNLV history. The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 0.35 points in 43 career games, and was a favorite of coach Jerry Tarkanian for his Armenian heritage. He is now a commodities broker and lives in Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Benchwarmers_Jeter5. Chris Jeter – The 6-foot-8 forward scored just 70 points in 60 games over four seasons (1987-91), but he will always hold a special place in Rebel history for head-butting a Utah State player before punching another toward the end of UNLV’s 124-90 victory over the Aggies on March 1, 1990. Jeter, who was suspended three games for his actions, played three scoreless minutes in the Rebels’ 30-point rout of Duke in the 1990 NCAA title game. His son, Chase, a 6-8 sophomore forward at Bishop Gorman High School, has already received a scholarship offer from UNLV.

Benchwarmers_Milke6. Mike Milke – The 6-foot-3 guard was a member of the Rebels’ Hardway Eight team of the mid-1970s, even if he wasn’t one of the illustrious eight. But whenever UNLV had a big lead at the Convention Center, the crowd would begin a chant of “Mil-keee” to spur coach Jerry Tarkanian to put him in the game. Milke averaged 1.5 points over 73 games in four seasons (1974-78) before becoming a physical education teacher at Hyde Park Middle School.




Benchwarmers_Porter7. Matt Porter – Another supporting cast member during the Hardway Eight era, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 1.4 points in 47 career games over four seasons (1974-78).







TOP: Leon Symanski earned his master’s from UNLV in 1995 after playing 36 games over three seasons with the Rebels.

  • Chad Golden

    Don Weimer; Travis Bice.

  • Joe Rodak

    Gary Graham

    • Jamie Cortez

      Gary Graham played. Definitely not a benchwarmer

  • ESS

    Scottie Hoffman. He’s a recent one, but he was definitely a Kruger’s Korner favorite.

  • H Waldmans plumber

    Melvin Love!

  • Runnin like a Rebel

    Rice? HAHA

  • Western Hotel Casino

    I can tell you right now I don’t have a single memory of anyone caring about Dave Rice let alone being beloved. On that team alone Bice/Joyce/Emersion were more beloved. This ranking is pandering to current coach for sure

  • Capiche?

    Pandering? If you didn’t love everyone on that championship team, even the guy that dampened the towels for Tark to moisten his dry mouth during the games, you’re not a true Reb fan. At the Western Hotel Casino, do you decide whose gonna win at craps or crap out at the blackjack table? Go back to your buffet line and leave the RunReb lists to the professionals…capiche?

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