As part of our season wrap-up, we’ll be going through the Rebels’ roster one by one and assigning grades for each player, based on their performance this season. We’ll start with the guys who won’t be back next year, and then work our way up to the returning players in the coming weeks.
Today’s entry is senior Quintrell Thomas, a New Jersey native who spent his freshman season at Kansas before transferring to UNLV for the final three years of his college career.
REBELS REPORT CARD
Player: Quintrell Thomas
Stats: 32 games, 12.4 minutes, 3.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 48.8 FG%, 0.4 blocks
Expectations: Coming into the season, Thomas was expected to provide backup minutes at center and power forward. He wasn’t counted on to be a scorer off the bench, but as the Rebels’ strongest, most physical big man, coaches hoped he would provide an interior presence on the defensive end.
Performance: Thomas lived up to the expectations and fulfilled his role this season, and even contributed a good deal more while Mike Moser was out with his elbow injury. Thomas stepped into the starting lineup during that time and solidified the interior, allowing freshman Anthony Bennett to focus more on scoring. When Khem Birch became eligible and Moser came back toward the end of the season, Thomas was buried on the bench but never complained. And when Dave Rice called on him for post defense in the Mountain West tournament, Thomas once again delivered in extended minutes. His offensive contributions were minimal, but when he limited his turnovers, he didn’t hurt the team too much on that end.
Final Grade: B+
This grade is heavily weighted toward Thomas’ defense — the Rebels never asked him to score — but as a defensive specialist he performed above and beyond the team’s expectations. He was UNLV’s top post defender (0.459 points per possession allowed on post-ups, best on the team) and gave Rice a very valuable chess piece whenever the Rebels went up against a team with an inside scorer. Thomas came off the bench and started with equal effectiveness, and never made waves off the court, despite the fact that he could have made a good case for more playing time. So his grade gets a slight bump for conduct. It will be interesting to see how the Rebels fill this role next year, as Khem Birch could end up as the only legitimate center on the roster if Carlos Lopez-Sosa opts to transfer. Thomas was the safety net whenever something went wrong (injury, ineligibility, foul trouble, etc.) with one of the starters, and that was a valuable asset.
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