Jalen Rose grew up a big UNLV basketball fan and considered playing for the Rebels during their glory days before ultimately choosing to become part of Michigan’s Fab Five.
Rose, a former NBA player and current ABC/ESPN analyst, talked Monday about what he had in common with the Rebels on The Dan Patrick Show.
UNLV defeated Duke in the 1990 national championship and lost to the Blue Devils the following season in the semifinals. Rose’s Michigan team lost to Duke in the 1992 title game.
The Blue Devils were beaten Saturday by rival North Carolina in the national semifinals.
“I idolized UNLV,” Rose said. “I cut a part down the middle of my head like Larry Johnson and (Georgia Tech’s) Kenny Anderson. I had a fake gold tooth in my mouth like LJ. I was left handed like Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony. Anderson Hunt went to my high school, Detroit Southwestern. He was the Final Four MVP when they beat Duke. I was in his basement watching the game when they lost. I never thought the next year I’d be playing against Duke.”
Before signing with Michigan, Rose visited UNLV, Syracuse and Michigan State. He said the UNLV visit stood out most.
“How could it not be the Runnin’ Rebels, and they play in Vegas?” Rose said. “Think about this. When your recruiting trip has you in a casino, that’s different.”
Rose said he was especially fond of late coach Jerry Tarkanian.
“The NIL (name, image and likeness) should be named after Tark the Shark,” Rose said. “I definitely took a visit and definitely looked up to that UNLV team.”