Connect with us



1987 Final Four UNLV Team

Jarvis Basnight dunking during a Final Four game for the UNLV 1987 basketball team.

Visitors to the UNLV basketball team’s practice facility are greeted with a manikin wearing a warm-up jersey that belonged to Jarvis Basnight, the high-flying post player from the 1987 Final Four team.

Staffers found the old jersey in storage and thought it would be a fitting touch to the lobby of the Mendenhall Center as a link to the past. Many people think Basnight was the best dunker in program history, but for teammates, he was much more.

“He was a true Runnin’ Rebel,” said Eldridge Hudson, a former teammate and longtime friend. “For our team, we were a band of brothers. That ‘87 team, we made a pact to always stick together. That’s why we were No. 1 the whole year and got to the Final Four. We should have won the national championship, but that’s a story for another day.”

The story this day was remembering Basnight. He died over the weekend, UNLV said in a social media post. He was 59.

Basnight, a native of Detroit, averaged 8.8 points and 4.5 rebounds over three seasons at UNLV.

His legendary dunks, such as one he put down against Pacific, still live on YouTube. “Jarvis Basnight steals the ball, goes behind the back, and jumps over the defender for the dunk,” sportscaster Chick Hearn said as he called the action.

The 1987 Rebels were loaded with Mark Wade and Freddie Banks in the backcourt and Armen Gilliam at forward.

That meant the 6-foot-8 Basnight often played center, which is where he was at an advantage because of his ability to run the court.

They were, after all, the Runnin’ Rebels.

“Jarvis just played his butt off, and nobody talks about that,” Hudson said. “That effort was contagious.”

Hudson said Basnight’s smile was also contagious. The men frequently exchanged text messages. Basnight always ended the communications with “33 and 44 for life,” Hudson said as tears welled up in his eyes.

“I just got off the phone with his daughter. That was hard,” he said.

Being a Rebel means always being there when your UNLV brother needs to be lifted up, Hudson said. A group of 1987 players — Banks, Wade and Leon Symanski — spent time together Monday morning to share stories of their friend.

They finished with a 37-2 record, losing in the Final Four 92-87 to eventual champion Indiana.

“We genuinely love each other to this day,” Hudson said. “We have an unbreakable bond.”

Article written by #LasVegasSun