UNLV basketball tips off season with fans in showcase at Thomas - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

UNLV basketball tips off season with fans in showcase at Thomas & Mack

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UNLV basketball tipped off its season with a showcase for fans. (Vince Sapienza / FOX5) UNLV basketball tipped off its season with a showcase for fans. (Vince Sapienza / FOX5)

For the first time this season, basketball fans got a firsthand look at the talent that both the men and women's teams have been boasting about all summer. Fans were also treated to another surprise, the unveiling of the Runnin' Rebels new uniforms.

The Thomas and Mack Center was center stage for hope, hijinks, and a whole lot of hoops.

“It’s exciting to see all the people here. We’ve got expectations, there is tradition, there is history here. We just want to do our part to live up to that," Runnin' Rebels assistant coach, Rob Jeter said.

Wednesday night started with season ticket holders getting up close and personal with both the Runnin’ Rebels and Lady Rebels, taking pictures, signing autographs and talking hoops.

“I think it’s important for our women to feel the community support and this is always fun when you’re here with the UNLV Runnin’ Rebel boosters, because maybe we can get a couple of these to transfer over to the women's," Lady Rebels head coach, Kathy Olivier said.

Also in attendance were parents, like Carrol and Tonja Wheatley, who got a sneak preview of what their daughter, Nikki, and her teammates will look like starting next month.

“The Runnin’ Rebels for us, the girls, they’re like family. We love the coaching staff, we just love the team; it’s like my daughter's second family. We’re excited for all the girls, not just her," Tonja Wheatley said.

After both the men and women each held their own six minute scrimmage, the Runnin’ Rebels showed off their skills in the dunk contest.

“They have all the talent in the world, or else they wouldn’t be here. All they have to do is win some really good games," season ticket holder, Casey Parrot said.

Both expectations and excitement are high for basketball at UNLV. Kathy Olivier’s squad looks to build off its 22-win season that saw them make the WNIT.

“Our team is tired of waiting to be good in the Mountain West tournament. So hopefully we can do our damage during the season, during the conference schedule," Olivier said.

Marvin Menzies' guys look to bounce back from their worst season in program history.

“There is a lot of expectations with this group, I just hope we can live up to them. This group has really come together, they’re still trying to gel as a team. We have a lot of young faces, a lot of new faces, so it takes some time to come together, but the talent is there," Jeter said.

The next time fans will see we'll UNLV hoops is Friday Nov. 3, when the Runnin’ Rebels are scheduled to open the season at the Thomas & Mack. The Lady Rebels' season tips off a week later on the Nov. 10 at the Cox Pavilion.

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