Last week UNLV couldn’t pull out a recruiting win, as top 50 recruit Terrance Arceneaux stayed home and committed to Houston.
The Rebels had Arceneaux in Vegas for an official visit in September and even took the entire staff on a home visit in the days leading up to Arceneaux’s commitment. But it wasn’t enough.
Arceneaux is the second top 100 player Kevin Kruger has failed to land in the summer.
Richard Isaacs, a top 100, four-star point guard, committed to Texas Tech earlier this month. Former UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger did not recruit Isaacs, but Kruger started going after him as soon as he took Otzelberger’s job. Isaacs landed at Texas Tech anyway.
The Rebels made it into the final four schools for both players. But Kruger has yet to land a recruit since becoming the head coach.
UNLV will have just one freshman on scholarship this season, as Keshon Gilbert was a holdover from Otzelberger’s 2021 recruiting class.
Kruger and his staff filled out the roster with transfers, which give the Rebels a more likely chance to win now. The Rebels added nine transfers ranging from junior college to Kent State to Texas.
If the Rebels can contend in the Mountain West in Kruger’s first season, then high school recruiting may be unnecessary. With all college basketball players being able to transfer one time without sitting out, coaches can fill their rosters every year with players that have already played at the collegiate level.
UNLV’s recruiting strategy could simply be to take shots at highly ranked high school recruits and if they miss, use the transfer portal to complete the roster each year.
Transfers have helped build two of the better programs in the Mountain West over the last five years as both San Diego State and Nevada have had a transfer win conference player of the year.
Relying on the transfer market can create an NCAA Tournament team.
But if the mixing and matching of the transfer portal does not work out for Kruger and company the recruiting misses will hurt UNLV’s talent level.