UNLV basketball:

Rebels recruits enjoy varying levels of success in Findlay-Gorman matchup

Christian Wood, a 2013 commit from Findlay, excelled vs. Gorman’s Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter, who both have UNLV offers

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Leila Navidi

Christian Wood of Findlay Prep dunks the ball during their boys basketball game against Bishop Gorman at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas on Monday, January 7, 2013.

Findlay Prep vs. Bishop Gorman Boys Basketball

Fallou Ndoye of Findlay Prep goes for a shot during their boys basketball game against Bishop Gorman at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas on Monday, January 7, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Sitting at half-court in the South Point Arena on Monday night, UNLV coach Dave Rice had a good view of the future.

Rice was one of several college coaches, including UCLA’s Ben Howland and BYU’s Dave Rose, on hand to take in Findlay Prep’s 65-45 victory against Bishop Gorman. The game that drew upwards of $200 last year was devoid of the same star power this year but it was still an important matchup in the recruiting world.

There were a lot of Division I players on the court, and three of them have a connection to the Rebels. Findlay’s Christian Wood, who scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds, is already committed to UNLV. He’s one of four players — including Dantley Walker, Jelan Kendrick and recent commit Kendall Smith — set to join the team next season.

“(Wood’s) a terrific shooter from long-range yet he’s added to his game,” Rice said of the 6-foot-10 senior. “He’s getting stronger and just the experience of being part of a high-level high school program is going to give him a chance to step in and play minutes for us right away.”

UNLV also has scholarship offers out to two Gaels: sophomores Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter. Here’s a quick look at how all three of them performed Monday:

Christian Wood

Here’s the sequence that best sums up Wood: Two made free throws (he was 10-for-10 on the night), a 3-pointer, two blocks and rebound, all within basically two possessions.

“I’ve still got a lot to work on in my game, but that’s what I can show,” Wood said.

Like the rest of the Pilots, Wood looked out of sync against Gorman’s zone defense in the first half. When Findlay could get out and run it looked like the vastly superior team and that’s the type of style that eventually allowed Findlay to break the game open with a 21-7 third quarter. Wood was a big part of it.

Like Mike Moser can do for UNLV, Wood can go up, grab a rebound and then start his own fast break down the court. It’s a useful skill that Wood certainly hasn’t mastered — he often gets out of control in traffic — but there are flashes of it there.

“He’s so unique with his length,” Findlay coach Todd Simon said. “Sometimes I think he underestimates himself on how high he can go get something. He’s been great.”

That plus the easy finish on a second-half alley-oop offer glimpses that confirm why UNLV fans are so excited to add Wood to the program next season. Much like current Rebels redshirt freshman Demetris Morant, a Gorman grad, Wood would benefit from a year in the weight room. The difference is Wood is stepping into a much more open situation in the front court — Moser, Findlay grad Anthony Bennett and Quintrell Thomas will likely all be gone — and he’s also much more developed on offense than Morant was at this stage.

Like Dave Rice said, Wood will get a chance to contribute immediately.

Stephen Zimmerman

Just by stepping on the court, Zimmermann affected the game as much as any other player in Monday’s game.

Click to enlarge photo

Stephen Zimmerman, right, of Bishop Gorman tries to get around Benas Griciunas of Findlay Prep during their boys basketball game at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas on Monday, January 7, 2013.

“He battled and took it right to them,” said Gorman coach Grant Rice, Dave’s brother. “He was as good as anybody out there. The stats won’t show it, but defensively they had to make some adjustments because of him.”

Standing at 7-feet, Zimmermann stood his ground in the paint and didn’t bite on fakes. Findlay’s big men had to know where he was at whether he was guarding them or not, as did the Pilot guards on drives into the lane.

Offensively, Zimmerman struggled to find much rhythm against a physical man-to-man defense that tried, and mostly succeeded to push him away from the basket.

He may have lost his cool in the second half when he was whistled for an elbow that hit Wood and kick started that nice sequence, but that’s part of the learning process.

Chase Jeter

Jeter, the son of former Rebel Chris Jeter, didn’t have the same impact as the other two guys. Still, at 6-foot-10 and maybe a tad over 200 pounds, he’s got the build and athleticism of someone worthy of high-level interest.

When Zimmerman was off the court it was Jeter who stepped into center of the zone defense and showed some good instincts.

“Chase is coming around,” Grant Rice said. “He went out there and played hard. A lot of good things ahead for Chase Jeter.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. I wish I would've been able to watch the game last night, but I was watching Notre Dame getting a beat-down.

    Also, Christian Wood isn't a commit. He's a signee. He already signed his letter of intent.

  2. Looks like alot of empty seats.. I would have went but thought it would have been sold out! Go figure

  3. Just a quick comment about next year's players...recent articles reference only 4 players set to join the team next year (Walker, Kendrick, Wood, K. Smith). I realize that technically Morant and Roscoe Smith are already members of the team, but I think they should at least be mentioned when referring to incoming players for next year as they'll be on the court for the first time next year.

    Go Rebs!