Carlos Lopez-Sosa Can’t Seize Opportunity in Final Season

Carlos_Lopez-Sosa

As part of our season wrap-up here at RunRebs.com, we’re going through the Rebels’ roster one by one and assigning grades for each player based on their performance this season.

Today’s entry is Carlos Lopez-Sosa, a senior center who saw his minutes decline from last year.

REBELS REPORT CARD

Player: Carlos Lopez-Sosa
Position: Center
Year: Senior
Stats: 28 games, 7.3 minutes, 1.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, 0.2 blocks, 35.9 FG%

Expectations: Lopez-Sosa could have transferred after last season, but instead chose to return to UNLV to fight for minutes in the frontcourt rotation. A fifth-year senior, he entered the preseason with the inside track on being the primary backup at power forward and center.

Performance: Lopez-Sosa capped off a truly odd collegiate career in 2013-14. As you can see from the chart below, his career arc basically trended in the opposite direction than one would expect from a four-year player:

Online Graphing

He peaked as a freshman in terms of playing time and usage rate, and then produced less and less every year, concluding with his performance this season: 1.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in just 7.3 minutes per game.

Lopez-Sosa opened the year backing up the 4 and the 5, and his high point came when he played a season-high 19 minutes in the Rebels’ Jan. 15 win at New Mexico (their best win of the year). But he was passed on the depth chart midway through the season by freshman Chris Wood, who brought more offensive punch and more rim protection to the table. It’s hard to argue with that demotion, as Lopez-Sosa shot just 35.9 percent from the floor and turned the ball over on 18.5 percent of his possessions (third-worst among UNLV regulars, ahead of only Daquan Cook and Kendall Smith—both point guards who handled the ball much more than Lopez-Sosa).

Given one final chance when starting power forward Roscoe Smith was sidelined for the Rebels’ regular-season finale at Nevada-Reno, Lopez-Sosa played 16 minutes but failed to score (0-2 FGs) while turning the ball over twice. Lopez-Sosa played just one minute in the next game, the Mountain West tournament win over Wyoming, and he did not play at all in the season-ending loss to San Diego State the next day.

Needs Improvement: Someone who only watched UNLV practices and skipped the games could have been led to believe that Lopez-Sosa was a valuable contributor for the Rebels. On the practice floor he often showed good mobility and activity for a 7-footer, and his varied offensive arsenal was effective in the post and the mid-range area. But whether it was nerves, lack of confidence, or just the increased intensity of the opposition, he was never able to translate that success to game nights. The action sometimes appeared too fast for him, and his rushed shots around the rim often resulted in misses or turnovers.

Future Forecast: Lopez-Sosa’s somewhat tumultuous time at UNLV has come to an end after five years, so there’s no real future to forecast here. But as the last player on the roster who bridged the Lon Kruger and Dave Rice eras, his departure is notable.

Final Grade: D+
It feels wrong to grade someone so poorly on their way out the door, but it really was a disappointing campaign for Lopez-Sosa. He came back for his senior year with a chance to earn a solid role in the rotation and make a difference as the first big man off the bench, but his game regressed and he was passed on the depth chart. It’s hard to go any higher than a D+ here (coincidentally the same grade Lopez-Sosa received last year).

Previous entries:
Daquan Cook (March 25): B-
Demetris Morant (March 24): C-

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