Mitch Alcala / AP, file
Published Wednesday, April 19, 2023 | 11:14 a.m.
Updated 4 hours, 17 minutes ago
It’s a clean sweep for UNLV, as Kalib Boone became the third transfer target to commit to the Scarlet and Gray on Wednesday.
Boone, a 6-foot-9 forward from Oklahoma State, made the announcement on his Instagram account.
With Boone in the fold, head coach Kevin Kruger has gone 3-for-3 with the trio of prospects who visited the UNLV campus over the weekend. Boone’s brother, Pacific guard Keylan Boone, committed on Wednesday morning, and Oklahoma forward Jalen Hill followed shortly thereafter.
Kalib Boone started 30 of 36 games last year and put up 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 58.4% from the field. He also blocked 1.2 shots per game.
All three incoming recruits are fifth-year seniors who will have one year of eligibility remaining, but in the short term they will transform the UNLV roster for the 2023-24 campaign, boosting the postseason hopes for a program that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2013.
Las Vegas native Jalen Hill transferring to UNLV
(This story was updated at 2:35 p.m.)
UNLV basketball is on a roll, as Kevin Kruger pulled in a second high-profile commitment on Wednesday — this one from coveted transfer forward Jalen Hill.
Hill, a Las Vegas native and Clark grad, made the announcement on his Instagram account.
Hill has been a top target for the Scarlet and Gray since entering the portal. Kruger helped recruit Hill to Oklahoma when he was an assistant coach with the Sooners, and Hill has blossomed into a Swiss army knife frontcourt weapon in the interceding years. He started 32 games last season and averaged 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds while making 49.8% of his shots from the field.
With Hill on board, the 2023-24 roster continues to come into focus. Earlier in the day, Pacific wing Keylan Boone pledged to UNLV, and his brother Kalib Boone could soon make it three. The trio of Hill and the Boone twins all took official visits to UNLV together over the weekend.
UNLV basketball lands commitment from transfer scorer Keylan Boone
(This story was updated at 1:54 p.m.)
UNLV’s wait is over.
The basketball program landed its first commitment of the offseason on Wednesday, as former Pacific standout Keylan Boone announced on Twitter that he will be transferring to UNLV for the 2023-24 season.
Boone brings versatility to the Scarlet and Gray roster. The 6-foot-8 wing averaged 13.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last year while making 41.0% of his 3-point attempts. He posted five 20-point outings last season, including a 30-point performance in a win over San Diego. Boone also had six games with at least four made 3-pointers.
The commitment could be the first in a flurry of activity for UNLV. Boone’s twin brother, Oklahoma State forward Kalib Boone, and former Oklahoma forward Jalen Hill are also considering the Scarlet and Gray. The trio visited campus together over the weekend.
Keylan Boone’s commitment gives UNLV nine scholarship players on the current roster, with four open spots remaining.
UNLV basketball awaiting key recruiting decisions
The NCAA transfer portal moves fast. With each passing day, more and more players commit to new schools, allowing contenders and also-rans alike to fortify their rosters overnight.
It’s a frenzy to add before the talent runs out, and it should be enough to turn a coach’s hair gray — especially at UNLV, where Kevin Kruger and his staff await word from three key recruits who visited over the weekend.
And yet, according to assistant Barret Peery, the staff is not worried.
The program has had its share of defections — starting point guard Keshon Gilbert and starting center David Muoka have left via the portal, as well as reserve forwards Victor Iwuakor and Keyshawn Hall — but UNLV remains unhurried as it goes about rebuilding its roster for the 2023-24 season.
Echoing Kruger’s words from a few weeks ago, Peery said the staff is staying selective when it comes to recruiting the portal.
“Lots of guys want to come and visit,” Peery said. “We want to make sure it’s the exact right fit. I think coach is being very particular about making sure it’s the right guys to come in and fit in with what we already have here. I think we’ve built a really good list of guys that we like, and now we check the boxes one by one and get it done.”
One reason is the staff’s confidence in the nucleus of returning players, a group led by fifth-year seniors Justin Webster and Luis Rodriguez.
“We’re really excited about these five or six guys we have coming back,” Peery said. “I think coach would tell you that these are hand-picked guys that we wanted to come back, that fit what we want.”
That core group could be growing soon. UNLV had three high-priority portal targets on campus for official visits last weekend, and they could make their decisions any day.
Jalen Hill is a grad transfer from Oklahoma who was originally recruited to the Sooners by Kruger, who was an assistant under Lon Kruger at the time. A former 4-star recruit, Hill has started all 67 games the last two years; as a senior in 2022-23 he averaged 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
The other two visitors were twin brothers Kalib and Keylan Boone, who started their college careers at Oklahoma State. Kalib played four years with the Cowboys, while Keylan transferred to Pacific last year. Both would be grad transfers with one year of eligibility remaining. Kalib, a forward, averaged 10.6 points per game last season, while Keylan, a guard, scored 13.9.
The trio would bring much needed size and versatility to the UNLV roster (Hill checks in at 6-foot-7, Keylan Boone is 6-foot-8 and Kalib is 6-foot-9), and if Kruger were to land all three, the Scarlet and Gray would be able to roll out a starting lineup that is long, physical and skilled.
Though coaches can’t comment on unsigned recruits, Hill and the Boone twins possess the type of skill set UNLV wants to add.
“I think we probably need to add a couple bigger bodies, as well as another wing and a ballhandler,” Peery said. “You look at that and see what we’re bringing in, and it’s definitely what we’re trying to pinpoint.”
Hill and the Boone brothers have not set a date for announcing their commitments.
The waiting game is tough, especially when adding the right players could conceivably turn UNLV into an NCAA Tournament contender. And with each passing day, more talent comes off the board.
For fans that are stressing every time a portal player commits to some other school, Peery offered a bit of reassurance.
“We’re definitely on our own timeline,” he said. “I think we would be more nervous if we weren’t getting guys that we had priorities on. We haven’t had any heartbreaking situations with guys we didn’t get. But as far as guys we have priorities on, I think we’re sitting in a good spot.”
Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.