Monday, March 28, 2011

Tre'von Willis Retrospective - Part Two

Tre'Von Willis starts his first season with the Rebels, 2008-2009

Expectedly excited to play again after a year off from basketball, Tre'von got his first taste of playing for the Runnin' Rebels in June of 2008, during the team's summer exhibition in Australia. The coaching staff figured Willis could run the point and be the floor-general for the team, and Australia was where they would test it out. UNLV went 4-2 down under, and Willis showed the kind of potential and results that demanded greater playing time. The roster for the season was Wink Adams, Oscar Bellfield, Joe Darger, Todd Hanni, Scott Hoffman, Derrick Jasper, Steve Jones, Rob Ketchum, Brice Massamba, DeShawn Mitchell, RenĂ© Rougeau, Mareceo (Mo) Rutledge, Darris Santee, Matt Shaw, Chace Stanback, Kendall Wallace, and Tre’Von Willis.

UNLV opened the season well regarded, being ranked #48 of the top 50 college basketball programs according to The Hoops The Rebels had just finished enjoying their deepest run in the big dance since the Final Four days, having reached the Sweet 16 by knocking off Wisconsin.

The point guard position was not locked up by Tre'von Willis, and in spite of all of the hype Coach Kruger started freshman Oscar Bellfield at point guard and Willis came off the bench in relief. In the first game against the San Diego Torreos, Coach tried playing both Bellfield and Willis at the same time leading to positive results. Willis's first injury with the Rebels came during the second game of the season, where he suffered a separated shoulder. It was also a test of how Willis could handle the injury, and he actually provided plenty of minutes and sparked the Rebs to a victory in the game against UTEP where he scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four assists in the road win.

Willis played in all 32 games and made 23 starts that season. He averaged 11.4 points per game, which was second on the team and 19th in the MWC. He was second on the team and 10th in the league in assists, handing out 3.3 per game. Willis was also third on the team and 10th in the conference with 1.1 steals per game. Overall, he shot 37.9 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from 3-point range and 73.7 percent from the free-throw line. He reached double figures in scoring 18 times, including a pair of 20-plus point efforts, and led the team in scoring six times. Besides the UTEP heroics, he came off the bench and scored 19 points against Arizona. Willis scored a then-career-high 22 points and added six assists in a home win over Utah, which cemented a co-player of the week award. He handed out a career-high 11 assists at Air Force. He also had his second-best offensive effort by dropping 21 points and had six assists against Colorado State. All-in-all, it was a excellent start for Tre'von and showed himself to be the heir apparent to fill-in for the loss of Wink Adams the following season.

Post-season success was limited for the Rebels in Tre’von’s first campaign. The Rebels finished the regular season with a record of 21-9, and it was clear that to make the big dance we would have to at least compete in the MWC championship game, if not win it to get the automatic bid. The Rebels entered in the middle of the field as a 4 seed, and were chosen to play 5 seed San Diego State, who had just beaten the Rebels in the final regular season game. The Aztecs dominated the game and finished victorious, 71-57, the Rebels losing in rare fashion in the quarterfinals of the MWC tournament.

UNLV then was NIT bound, but would not face just any underperforming team, the Rebels drew the Kentucky Wildcats – a perennial NCAA tourney team (17 yrs straight) who just lost their way that season. Willis saw 25 minutes of action in Kentucky, however only posted 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. The Rebels fell in the first round of the NIT to Kentucky, 70-60.

UNLV graduated our top offensive threat, Wink Adams as well as a lot of dependable glue-guys in Joe Darger, RenĂ© Rougeau, Mareceo Rutledge and Rob Ketchum. In addition to the lost personnel, DeShawn Mitchell asked for a release after his freshman year and transferred to Rider. Somehow, that didn’t quite work out for Mitchell and he ended up at Snow College (in Ephraim, UT). As another aside on Mitchell, he was recently dismissed from the JUCO team (playing as a “sophomore”) in February, 2011 even-though he was their leading scorer.  Bad decision to leave UNLV. Back to Willis.

Tre'von Willis Statistics 2008-09

NCAA Basketball

Total Games in 2008-2009: 32
2008-11-15SD 60, UNLV 6526 31-812.50-20.01-520.001111023
2008-11-18UTPA 48, UNLV 7317 62-728.61-250.01-333.302261010
2008-11-20NAU 71, UNLV 8714 41-425.02-2100.00-20.001140033
2008-11-22NCAT 58, UNLV 7126 81-520.05-955.61-250.001142034
2008-11-24UNLV 80, UTEP 6726 174-944.47-977.82-366.715610114
2008-11-28Cal 73, UNLV 5527 93-933.32-2100.01-250.002210145
2008-11-29Cinci 67, UNLV 6528 186-1060.06-785.70-20.013450144
2008-12-03UNLV 82, FRES 7629 187-1741.23-560.01-425.012342022
2008-12-06UNLV 64, NEV 5731 113-837.54-666.71-425.005511062
2008-12-14WMU 61, UNLV 7021 71-425.05-5100.00-20.013412011
2008-12-17SCU 66, UNLV 7821 61-333.33-475.01-1100.011211031
2008-12-20Arizona 64, UNLV 7928 196-1060.04-580.03-475.024640032
2008-12-23SUU 60, UNLV 7319 82-540.04-580.00-10.013410043
2008-12-31UNLV 56, Lville 5521 163-742.97-887.53-475.014510043
2009-01-03Lobos 58, UNLV 6032 154-1233.37-1163.60-50.001140033
2009-01-10UNLV 73, TCU 8035 112-633.35-771.42-450.012351021
2009-01-14UNLV 69, CSU 7126 92-1216.74-666.71-425.036920021
2009-01-17WYO 66, UNLV 8328 135-1533.31-1100.02-633.323551003
2009-01-21UNLV 76, BYU 7034 135-955.61-250.02-366.705530012
2009-01-24UTAH 65, UNLV 7534 228-1650.04-580.02-2100.020263012
2009-01-31UNLV 59, AF 3828 20-60.02-450.00-30.0145111102
2009-02-03SDSU 68, UNLV 6636 81-812.55-862.51-250.024620014
2009-02-07UNLV 69, Lobos 7334 134-1040.03-475.02-540.012321034
2009-02-10TCU 57, UNLV 7128 114-4100.02-366.71-1100.013452131
2009-02-14CSU 70, UNLV 8932 218-1266.74-666.71-333.314562022
2009-02-18UNLV 68, WYO 7735 184-1040.08-988.92-540.014534044
2009-02-21BYU 74, UNLV 7526 104-757.12-2100.00-20.017842045
2009-02-25UNLV 60, UTAH 7036 144-1136.45-683.31-250.005543012
2009-03-04AF 43, UNLV 4634 52-922.21-333.30-30.015601022
2009-03-07UNLV 46, SDSU 5739 164-1040.08-988.90-40.014533041
2009-03-12SDSU 71, UNLV 5740 112-728.66-875.01-425.0281031023
2009-03-17UNLV 60, UK 7025 41-714.32-2100.00-50.004420014

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