UNLV received its second commitment of the week and its third in 11 days when Class of 2016 guard Zion Morgan pledged to the Rebels on Thursday.
The 6-foot-4 Chicago native took to Twitter to announce his decision:
After a tough recruiting process and discussing with my family and coaches, I’ll be attending UNLV this year! ⚪️🔴⚫️🏀 pic.twitter.com/qrKfyyuQwt
— Zion Morgan (@IsoZmo) May 12, 2016
Morgan is the fourth high school recruit to commit to new UNLV coach Marvin Menzies, and the fifth player overall. Ben Coupet, Cheickna Dembele and Jaylan Ballou are the other prep pledges, while Kris Clyburn was mined from the juco market.
Morgan, a 3-star prospect according to Rivals.com, originally committed to Valparaiso before his senior season, but backed off and de-committed during the winter. After Morgan enjoyed a productive senior campaign and made the Chicago Sun-Times All-City Team as a fourth team selection, Menzies worked quickly to court him.
Take a look at Morgan’s highlight video, and below that we’ll get into what his commitment means for UNLV:
My kind of town
If the past few weeks are any indication, Chicago is quickly becoming a pipeline for the Rebels. First, the Rebels made the cut as one of the final eight schools for elite 2016 point guard Charlie Moore. Then UNLV landed a commitment from 6-foot-7 swingman Ben Coupet, a promising wing defender. And now they’ve got Morgan on board.
The main cog powering the Rebels’ reach into Chicago is Rob Jeter, the newly-hired assistant who recruited the area hard during his time as head coach at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. But Menzies also deserves credit for being able to connect so quickly with players. Sure, he has a ton of playing time to offer, and lesser recruits are going to love hearing that, but that only works when the recruits are excited about playing for the head coach. We’re seeing the type of cache Menzies possesses on the recruiting trail.
The Rebels now have seven players under scholarship for next year: Dwayne Morgan, Tyrell Green, Jalen Poyser, Kris Clyburn, Cheickna Dembele, Ben Coupet and Zion Morgan. Jaylan Ballou has verbally committed, but could end up as a preferred walk-on. That leaves six spots still open for now, and there are still areas of need in terms of roster construction.
Zion Morgan will help bolster the backcourt, as he and Poyser are the only two players capable of being lead ball-handlers. The wings look good, numbers-wise, with Green, Dwayne Morgan, Clyburn and Coupet taking up four scholarships. Dembele is the lone big man.
With the remaining six spots, look for Menzies to target at least one more true big man, and maybe two. He’ll also need to add at least two more bodies to the backcourt mix, with one of them being a true point guard type. Charlie Moore is obviously the big name to watch at point guard, while Jordy Tshimanga is an intriguing new option at center.