By ALAN SNEL
I spent the first half of my journalism career working as a metro government reporter, covering local town councils, city commissions and zoning boards of appeal in New York, Florida and Colorado. It was kinda fun massaging conflict of interest stories and profiles of bizarre elected officials out of this municipal government beat.
But I had no idea that if you were a sports writer, you had at your disposal a collection of the most amazing facts all bound together in a small book called the “media guide.” It was only when I began covering the business of sports in South Florida and began wandering into press boxes that I found this treasure trove of player and team factoids. I had no idea this book packed with trivia and facts on the team and its players even existed.
It looked quite labor-intensive to assemble because the details contained in these media guides are breathtaking in their micro-information. Obviously, the person who wrote and edited these team media guides is a lot more experienced at sports trivia than some dude who likes to collect baseball cards.
With that in mind, I dove into the 2017-18 Runnin’ Rebel basketball guide to brush up on the players of a team that I have a hunch is going places, as in the NCAA basketball tournament, which goes by the pop phrase, March Madness. The team that won only 11 games last season has flipped the script and has already won eight games and their sole two losses were to teams in overtime.
The next home game for the Runnin’ Rebels is Dec. 20, which is more than a good week away. So in the meantime, as a public service, LVSportsBiz.com is offering you some top-shelf tidbits gleaned from the “Getting to Know…” section of the UNLV media guide player profiles. Feast on these morsels, my friends. Some are funny, while others are touching and unexpected.
Amauri Hardy, a six-foot, two-inch freshman guard from Detroit
Thank God UNLV’s colors are scarlet and gray because otherwise this young man might not be at UNLV. Under Hardy’s “BEST THING ABOUT UNLV” his answer is “the school colors.”
Shakur Juiston, a six-foot, seven-inch junior from Newark, NJ
This one actually grabbed me the most. Under “IF I DIDN’T PLAY BASKETBALL I WOULD” this 21-year-old said, “Be a statistic.” Wow. There’s a story behind that comment.
Brandon McCoy, a seven-foot freshman from Chicago
This big fella is a one-man band because under “SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME” McCoy said, “I play five instruments.”
Jovan Mooring, a six-foot, two-inch senior from Chicago
This three-point shooter knows how to get on the good side of Coach Marvin Menzies. Under “MOST MEMORABLE UNLV MOMENT” he said, “Team dinners at Coach Menzies’ house.”
Jordan Johnson, a five-foot, 11-inch senior guard from Waukegan, Illinois
I didn’t see this one coming. Asked for his “FAVORITE MUSICIANS” the point guard said, “Lil B, Lil Uzi Vert, Taylor Swift.” Didn’t see the Taylor Swift part.
Noah Robotham, a six-foot, one-inch senior guard from Las Vegas
This guy believes in his future because under “Most MEMORABLE MOMENT AT UNLV,” Robotham said, “More to come.”
Anthony Smith, a six-foot, four-inch junior forward from Sacramento
Father’s Day must be a popular holiday for this 22-year-old because under “SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME” Smith said, “I have four daughters.”
Jay Green, a six-foot, five-inch freshman guard from Sydney, Australia
The first hint that Green might not have grown up in the United States is that under Green’s “LEAST FAVORITE FOOD” his answer is “macaroni and cheese.” That’s what many Americans grow up on.
Cheikh Mbacke Diong, a six-foot, 11-inch freshman forward from Senegal, Africa
Diong just turned 18 on Dec. 11, yet he has a deep thought when asked for his “ADVICE TO YOUNGSTERS”: “Be humble.” A mature statement for a teen-ager himself.
Nick Blair, a six-foot, five-inch junior forward from Las Vegas
This fella knows how to pick his supper guests because under “IF I COULD INVITE THREE PEOPLE IN HISTORY TO DINNER” Blair’s answer was “Martin Luther King, Jr., Michael Jackson, Barack Obama”
Ben Coupet, Jr., a six-foot, seven-inch freshman forward from Chicago
Is this a superstition or simply a body function? Asked for his “PREGAME SUPERSTITION” Coupet said, “Use the restroom.” OK.
Kris Clyburn, six-foot, six-inch junior guard from Detroit
Most honest answer to “REASON WHY I WEAR MY NUMBER” came from this starter: “No particular reason.”
Cheickna Dembele, six-foot, 11-inch sophomore forward from Mali, Africa.
I love his answer to “IF I HAD TO GIVE UP ALL BUT ONE POSSESSION I WOULD KEEP. Dembele said, “My focus.” That’s good. Most said their cell phone.
Tervell Beck, six-foot, seven-inch freshman forward from Cleveland
This guy has the simplest “FAVORITE PREGAME MEAL.” It’s “chips.” What about the salsa?
So, there you have it. Some fun facts about your Runnin’ Rebels basketball players. There’s lots of stuff on Menzies, coaches and a host of staffers in the media guide. And tons of stats and numbers. But I’ll let you digest those player profile comments for now.
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