Basketball Wiki
UNLV Runnin' Rebels
School Name: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Location: Las Vegas, Nevda
Arena: Thomas & Mack Center
Capacity: 18,776
Conference: Mountain West
Head coach: Lon Kruger

The UNLV Runnin' Rebels are a NCAA Division I men's basketball team who play at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their most recent appearance in the NCAA Tournament was in 2008 where they reached the Second Round but lost to eventual champion Kansas.

UNLV is the third-winningest program by percentage (.713) in Division I history — ranking behind Kentucky and North Carolina and ahead of Kansas, Duke and UCLA. UNLV is 33-15 all-time in the NCAA tournament with a .688 winning percentage. In July 2008, ESPNU named the program the eighth most prestigious collegiate basketball program in the nation since 1984.[1]


In 1990, UNLV won the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship by beating Duke University by a record-setting margin of 103-73, becoming the first team to score over 100 in the championship game. Before becoming a basketball powerhouse in the late 1970s, UNLV was often referred to as "Tumbleweed Tech" due to its relative obscurity. Led by famed coach Jerry Tarkanian, the Runnin' Rebels were among the most exciting teams in the nation. They consistently led the nation in points scored, turnovers forced, and most importantly - wins.

Tarkanian was suspected of violating numerous NCAA regulations, and was forced out in 1992 by then-president Robert Maxson. In 1998 the U.S. Supreme Court forced the NCAA to pay Tarkanian $2.5 million for violations stemming from its investigation of UNLV. On November 26, 2005, for his achievements as coach of the Runnin' Rebels (he was 509-105 in 19 years as head coach), the basketball court at the Thomas & Mack Center was renamed Jerry Tarkanian Court.

The years after Tarkanian's departure were tumultuous. UNLV hired former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino to replace Tarkanian, but after a 15-13 season in 1993-94, he was let go. The community was outraged to discover that Massimino had been awarded a secret contract [2] — a deal that ultimately led to Maxson's departure from UNLV.

Massimino was replaced by well-respected Tarkanian assistant Tim Grgurich, but he lasted just 7 games in 1994 before resigning. Howie Landa and Cleveland Edwards finished the 1994-95 season for UNLV. The team hired UMass assistant Bill Bayno for the 1995-96 season.

Bayno was an excellent recruiter, bringing in future NBA talent including Shawn Marion, Tyrone Nesby, and Keon Clark. But the Rebels only made the NCAA tournament twice in Bayno's 5-plus seasons, losing in the first round both times. Bayno was let go in 2000, after the NCAA found that UNLV had violated rules while recruiting Lamar Odom. Odom ultimately chose Rhode Island over UNLV.

It was in the wake of Bayno that UNLV began looking for a well-respected coach to act as an anchor for the program. The school intensely pursued former New York Knicks coach Rick Pitino, who ultimately spurned the university before choosing to work at Louisville. Former Saint Louis coach Charlie Spoonhour replaced Bayno for the 2001-02 season, compiling a 54-31 record before resigning in the middle of the 2004 season.

The anchor turned out to be Lon Kruger, who came to Las Vegas after an unsuccessful stint as the coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Kruger is 91-42 since taking the helm at UNLV in 2004, with a 3-2 record in the NCAA tournament.

Final Four Squads


Known as the “Hardway Eight,” this was the team that put UNLV on the map as a nationally prominent program. With players such as Lewis Brown, Glen Gondrezick, Larry Moffett, Eddie Owens, Robert Smith, Sam Smith, Tony Smith and Reggie Theus, the Rebels ran themselves to a record of 29-3 and a spot in the 1977 Final Four at the Omni in Atlanta. UNLV’s record-setting team established NCAA marks for most points in one season (3,426), most 100-point games (23) and most consecutive 100-point games(12). The Runnin’ Rebels won their first-ever West Regional Championship and advanced to the national semifinals. An 84-83 loss to North Carolina in the semifinals ended the championship dreams, but a 106-94 triumph over North Carolina-Charlotte gave UNLV third place and a positive end to the season. The squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987..


The 1986-87 edition of Runnin’ Rebel basketball was a special one as it became the first team to end the regular season as the nation’s top-ranked team. Led by Freddie Banks, Jarvis Basnight, Armon Gilliam, Gerald Paddio and Mark Wade, the Rebels ran through the Pacific Coast Athletic Association with a perfect record of 18-0. The team’s only regular-season loss came at Oklahoma, 89-88. UNLV entered the NCAA Tournament as the top seed in the West Region, breezing through the first three rounds. The Rebels received a big scare in the regional final when they were forced to overcome an 18-point deficit against a scrappy Iowa squad. The 84-81 triumph earned UNLV a spot in the Final Four at the Superdome in New Orleans. Banks shined in the semifinal matchup with Indiana, connecting on a tournament-record 10 3-pointers, but it was not enough as the Rebels fell to the eventual champions, 97-93. The loss ended UNLV’s season with a record of 37-2. The squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.


The season it all came together for the Runnin’ Rebels was 1989-90. Future NBA star Larry Johnson transferred from Odessa College, joining Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon, David Butler and Anderson Hunt. The Rebels began the season ranked No. 1 in almost every poll and rolled through the competition. UNLV suffered a surprising loss at New Mexico State and finished the season as co-champions of the Big West Conference. However, Johnson and Co. flexed their muscles in the Big West Tournament, running away with the title and the No. 1 seed in the West Region. In NCAA Tournament play, the Rebels toughest game came in the third round at Oakland, Calif., when Ball State hung tough before falling 69-67. UNLV also ended Loyola Marymount’s cinderella season with a 131-101 thrashing in the regional final. The win set up a semifinal match with Georgia Tech at McNicholls Arena in Denver. Trailing by seven at the half, UNLV rallied for an 89-80 triumph and a date in the championship. The 1990 NCAA Championship was all UNLV as an 18-0 run midway through the second half sent Duke reeling as the Rebels ran up the most lopsided victory in championship history, 103-73. Hunt was named Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four for his performance as the Rebels finished the season 35-5. The squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.


Billed as one of the greatest teams of all time, the 1990-91 squad became the first team in 12 seasons to go undefeated in the regular season (27-0). A perfect record of 18-0 captured the Big West crown and earned the Rebels the No. 1 seed in the West Region. UNLV also flexed its muscles in a rout of then-No. 2 Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Rebels rolled through regional play with wins over Montana, Georgetown,Utah and Seton Hall before a showdown with Duke in the Final Four at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis. Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley and Christian Laettner kept the Rebels in check all evening and ended UNLV’s dreams of back-to-back championships and the first perfect season since Indiana in 1976. The 79-77 loss ended UNLV’s season with a record of 34-1. The team was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

Recent Years

On Dec. 9, 2006, UNLV won a significant road game at University of Nevada, Reno 58-49, ranked No. 20 in the nation at the time. It was the first time UNLV had won a game on the road vs. a ranked opponent since the No.1 Runnin' Rebels won at No.12 University of New Mexico 86-74 on Feb. 25, 1991, the year UNLV finished 34-1 under coach Jerry Tarkanian with a 79-77 loss to Duke University in the NCAA semifinals being their only defeat. A win later that year on ESPN at Texas Tech as Bobby Knight attempted to set the all-time coaching wins mark put UNLV in NCAA tournament contention, and winning the Mountain West Conference tournament sealed their bid. The Runnin' Rebels ultimately lost to Oregon in the Sweet 16 after defeating Georgia Tech and upsetting Wisconsin. The team finished 14th in the polls.

UNLV Rebel Girl

On March 15, 2008, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels won the 2008 Mountain West Conference Basketball Championship defeating No. 24 Brigham Young 76-61. Wink Adams scored a game-high 23 points and was given the MVP title. This was the only time of the season they beat a ranked opponent.

They were a No. 8 seed for the 2008 NCAA Tournament and played Kent State on Thursday, March 20, 2008, beating them with a final score of 71-58. UNLV had the lead the entire game and held Kent State to a tournament record 10 points in the first half. Next, they faced top-seeded and eventual national champion Kansas on March 22, 2008. The Runnin' Rebels ended the first half above expectations, trailing 29-34. However, Kansas controlled the second half and denied UNLV their fifth straight second-round win, winning the game 75-56.

UNLV Men's Basketball
Current Roster
Head Coach: Lon Kruger
G 0 Template:Country Flag USA Oscar Bellfield Freshman 6'2", 175 lb (Los Angeles, CA)
G 1 Template:Country Flag USA Wink Adams Senior 6'0", 200 lb (Houston, TX)
G 2 Template:Country Flag USA Kendall Wallace Sophomore 6'4", 190 lb (Mesa, AZ)
G 3 Template:Country Flag USA Mareceo Rutledge Senior 6'3", 225 lb (Sacramento, CA)
G 10 Template:Country Flag USA Scott Hoffman Junior 6'3", 180 lb (Hays, KS)
F/C 12 Template:Country Flag SWE Brice Massamba Freshman 6'10", 255 lb (Sodertalje, Sweden)
F 13 Template:Country Flag USA Rob Ketchum Senior 6'5", 205 lb (Sacramento, CA)
G 14 Template:Country Flag USA Todd Hanni Sophomore 6'4", 205 lb (Danville, IN)
F 15 Template:Country Flag USA DeShawn Mitchell Freshman 6'5", 205 lb (Newark, NJ)
G 24 Template:Country Flag USA René Rougeau Senior 6'6", 210 lb (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
G 33 Template:Country Flag USA Tre'Von Willis Sophomore 6'4", 195 lb (Fresno, CA)
F 44 Template:Country Flag USA Darris Santee Junior 6'8", 225 lb (Houston, TX)
F 45 Template:Country Flag USA Joe Darger Senior 6'7", 225 lb (Riverton, UT)

UNLV Runnin' Rebels NCAA Tournament Record

Year Record Loss Coach
1975 2-1 Arizona State Jerry Tarkanian
1976 2-1 Arizona Jerry Tarkanian
1977 4-1 North Carolina Jerry Tarkanian
1983 0-1 NC State* Jerry Tarkanian
1984 2-1 Georgetown* Jerry Tarkanian
1985 1-1 Kentucky Jerry Tarkanian
1986 2-1 Auburn Jerry Tarkanian
1987 4-1 Indiana* Jerry Tarkanian
1988 1-1 Iowa Jerry Tarkanian
1989 3-1 Seton Hall Jerry Tarkanian
1990 6-0 Champion Jerry Tarkanian
1991 4-1 Duke* Jerry Tarkanian
1998 0-1 Princeton Bill Bayno
2000 0-1 Tulsa Bill Bayno
2007 2-1 Oregon Lon Kruger
2008 1-1 Kansas* Lon Kruger
Totals 33-15 16 Tournaments 3 Coaches

*-Indicated eventual national champion.

All-Time Record Vs. Power Conferences

Conference W L
Pacific-10 25 22
Atlantic Coast 15 10
Big Ten 14 7
Big East 23 24
Big 12 23 32
Southeastern 12 13
As of the end of the 2007-08 season

Retired numbers

UNLV has retired eight players' uniforms. [3]

  • 4Larry Johnson
  • 21 Sidney Green
  • 23Reggie Theus
  • 25Glen Gondrezick
  • 32Stacey Augmon
  • 40Ricky Sobers
  • 50Greg Anthony
  • 35 - Armon Gilliam

Other UNLV Basketball Alumni

  • Louis Amundson - NBA basketball player with Phoenix Suns
  • Joel Anthony - NBA basketball player with Miami Heat
  • Marcus Banks - NBA basketball player with Miami Heat
  • J.R. Rider - Former NBA basketball player
  • Keon Clark - Former NBA basketball player
  • Glen Gondrezick - Former NBA basketball player
  • Shawn Marion - NBA basketball player with Miami Heat
  • Tyrone Nesby - Former NBA basketball player


External links