Shakur Juiston, Tervell Beck, Chiekh Mbacke Diong, Amauri Hardy, Anthony Smith and Brandon McCoy have all signed to join the UNLV men’s basketball program for the 2017-18 season, head coach Marvin Menzies announced Wednesday.
“I’d like to thank my staff for a tremendous job in recruiting these players,” Menzies said. “I am proud of the way we embodied the spirit of teamwork. When we were processing how to navigate the late signing period, we had to address several issues. Some of those things were balancing the classes, filling specific needs within the roster, the APR components and laying a solid foundation for immediate improvement as well as long-term success. I’m very pleased with the signatures we have to date and am very eager to get to work with these young men.
“Being able to bring in a McDonald’s All-American and the top-ranked junior college prospect is a testament to the power of the UNLV brand,” Menzies added. “It is obviously big for us to land such talented young men, but the most impressive thing about this group as a whole is their willingness to continue to get better. All of these families are committed to my principles of what it takes to have a championship program. I’m confident to say that every single new Runnin’ Rebel along with their families are ‘All In.’”
Juiston is a 6-foot-7-inch, 215-pound forward from Hutchinson Community College. He is ranked as the No. 1 junior college prospect in the country after leading his school to the national title this spring. He averaged 17.3 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a sophomore, while shooting 60.9 percent from the field. He had 24 double-doubles on the year and one triple-double. He was named MVP of the NJCAA Tournament and leaves the school as its record holder in career rebounds with 1,042 points. He also ranks fifth on the school chart in blocks with 117 and 14th in points with 1,042. Coached by Steve Eck, he was also named MVP of the Kansas Jayhawks Community College Conference this year. Originally from New Jersey, he attended Eastside High School.
“Watching Shakur play this season, his improvement was evident and is a tribute to his hard work and the national championship Hutchinson College program he is coming from,” Menzies said. “He is the National Junior College Player of the Year and is a winner. Our Runnin’ Rebel program is lucky to have such a solid and experienced player choose to join us over so many other top-tier schools.”
Beck is a 6-foot-7-inch, 200-pound forward, originally from Cleveland. He attends OnPoint Hoops Academy, which is a prep school in El Reno, Okla. In Cleveland, he averaged 25.2 points per game for Central Catholic High School as a senior in 2015-16. He was selected All-Ohio First Team and led his squad to the district final. He also played AAU for Ohio Basketball Club.
“Tervell will be a mature freshman for us that has a huge upside,” Menzies said. “He has the ability to score in a variety of ways and also has legitimate size and toughness that will bode well for him at this level. I love his versatility and passion to develop.”
Diong is a 6-foot-11-inch, 225-pound forward from Florida Prep Academy in Melbourne. Coached by Julius Reid, he is originally from Senegal. He came to the United States in August and will still just be 17 years old when school starts in the fall. He averaged 14.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game this past season.
“Mbacke is by far one of the most talented freshmen that were still available,” Menzies said. “His ability to defend and run the floor are strengths that will fit nicely into our system. He will have a great career as a Runnin’ Rebel and he will provide stability for the program’s long-term success.”
Hardy is a 6-foot-2-inch, 175-pound point guard from North Farmington High School in Michigan. He is a four-star recruit and ranked the No. 22 point guard in the class by ESPN. As a senior, he averaged 29 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals per game, while shooting 45 percent on 3-pointers. He was coached by Todd Negoshian and was named Associated Press Honorable Mention as well as MLive Detroit Dream Team Honorable Mention. He was also a Michigan Mr. Basketball finalist. He had committed to Oklahoma State, but when there was a coaching change he looked elsewhere. He played AAU for The Family Detroit.
“Amauri is a tough, heady left-handed point guard that can do it all,” Menzies said. “He takes pride in his defense and possesses a true gym-rat mentality. He had great chemistry with our players on his visit and it felt like a natural fit to join the Rebel Nation.”
Smith is a 6-foot-7-inch, 200-pound forward from Feather River College in Quincy, Calif. He will be a junior at UNLV in the fall. Coached by Randy Rick, he averaged 20.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He also made 56.4 percent of his field goals last season, adding 2.4 steals and 2.1 assists per game. He didn’t play basketball in high school, but in his first season of junior college basketball he averaged 18.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and made 57.3 percent of his shots. He received All-Golden Valley Conference honors.
“In my opinion, Anthony was the best at his position in all of California,” Menzies said. “He is one of the most athletic forwards to come out of junior college in the entire country. His rebounding and versatility will give us a boost from day one. He also brings a relentless work ethic that will be contagious to his teammates.”
McCoy is a highly rated, 6-foot-11-inch, 245-pound forward from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego. He is a consensus five-star recruit and was rated by ESPN.com as the nation’s sixth-best prospect (currently No. 15). A McDonald’s High School All-American, he scored 13 points and had seven rebounds in the recent McDonald’s High School All-American game. He was also MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic.
McCoy was coached in high school by Will Cunningham and averaged 28.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per game as a senior. He also played for USA Basketball’s U18 National Team and he scored 34 points in the recent Allen Iverson Roundball Classic game. He played AAU for California Supreme.
“Brandon has the most notoriety of all the guys that we’ve added to the roster and deservedly so,” Menzies said. “He is already recognized on the national scene as one of the best high school players in the country. The thing that impresses me most about Brandon is his desire to improve and continue to trust the process. He took his time to thoroughly analyze his college decision, and fortunately his final decision has him wearing the Scarlet and Gray for his college career.”
Juiston, Beck, Diong, Hardy, Smith and McCoy join Jay Green, who signed with the Runnin’ Rebels during the early signing period in the fall, as members of the 2017 recruiting class. Green is a 6-foot-5-inch guard, originally from Sydney, Australia, who attends Hillcrest Prep in Arizona.