Marvin Menzies' UNLV rebuilding project has its foundation.
A year after scrambling to pull together his first recruiting class, Menzies put together a strong one for his second season in the desert with a six-player class that includes heralded big man Brandon McCoy and the nation's top-rated junior college player.
''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 said in a statement on Wednesday. ''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.''
The Runnin' Rebels labored in Menzies' first season, finishing 11-21 overall, 4-14 in the Mountain West Conference. UNLV had Jalen Poyser, Troy Baxter and Zion Morgan leave the program during the offseason, but Menzies showed off the recruiting chops he honed at New Mexico with a stellar second class.
It includes Shakur Juiston, a 6-foot-7 forward from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas who has been rated the No. 1 junior college player by some recruiting services.
Forwards Tervell Beck, Chiekh Mbacke Diong and Anthony Smith, along with point guard Amauri Hardy finish off the class.
McCoy is the cornerstone.
A 6-11, 245-pound forward from San Diego, McCoy is a five-start recruit and McDonald's All-America who averaged 28.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.3 blocked shots as a senior at Cathedral Catholic High School. He should give the Runnin' Rebels an immediate boost on the court next season and with landing top-tier recruits in the future.
''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.''
Juiston averaged 17.3 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists while leading Hutchinson to the junior college national title as the tournament MVP.
Hardy, a 6-3 guard from Michigan, averaged 29 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals for North Farmington High School.
Both players committed to UNLV after McCoy announced he would play for the Runnin' Rebels.
Diong, Beck and Smith had previously committed.