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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / May 25.
  • UNLV Completes Massive 24-Hour Run By Adding JUCO Star Shakur Juiston, PG Amauri Hardy

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    UNLV and head coach Marvin Menzies are having quite a 24-hour recruiting run.

    Less than one day after landing top-15 recruit Brandon McCoy, UNLV signed Shakur Juiston, the National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Year, and Amauri Hardy, a point guard out of North Farmington (MI).

    The 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward from Hutchinson (KS) Community College chose UNLV over DePaul, and Iowa State. Rutgers, Kansas and Rhode Island were also involved.

    “It was a tough decision between UNLV, Iowa State and DePaul,” Hutchinson assistant Jay Cyriac said. “Shakur felt very comfortable with what he saw on his visit to UNLV. Coach Menzies actively recruited him and was able to build a strong relationship. The guidance and mentorship that [Playaz director] Jim Salmon offered him through the process was one that helped him weigh all his options. Shakur ultimately felt that the atmosphere at UNLV was similar to what he had here at Hutch. UNLV fans are getting a great one!”

    The former Paterson (N.J.) Eastside star started in all 37 games for the Blue Dragons, averaging 17.3 points and 12.1 rebounds. The Newark, N.J., native posted 27 double-doubles.

    He was named MVP of the NJCAA Tournament and leaves the school as its record holder in career rebounds with 1,042 points. He also ranks fifth on the school chart in blocks with 117 and 14th in points with 1,042

    “Watching Shakur play this season, his improvement was evident and is a tribute to his hard work and the national championship Hutchinson College program he is coming from,” Menzies said. “He is the National Junior College Player of the Year and is a winner. Our Runnin’ Rebel program is lucky to have such a solid and experienced player choose to join us over so many other top-tier schools.”

    UNLV now has a six-man class of McCoy, Juiston, Hardy, Tervell Beck, Chiekh Mbacke Diong and Anthony Smith.

    “I’d like to thank my staff for a tremendous job in recruiting these players,” Menzies said. “I am proud of the way we embodied the spirit of teamwork. When we were processing how to navigate the late signing period, we had to address several issues. Some of those things were balancing the classes, filling specific needs within the roster, the APR components and laying a solid foundation for immediate improvement as well as long-term success. I’m very pleased with the signatures we have to date and am very eager to get to work with these young men.

    “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 added. “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. All of these families are committed to my principles of what it takes to have a championship program. I’m confident to say that every single new Runnin’ Rebel along with their families are ‘All In.’”

    Hardy is a 6-foot-2-inch, 175-pound point guard from North Farmington High School in Michigan. He is a four-star recruit and ranked the No. 22 point guard in the class by ESPN. As a senior, he averaged 29 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals per game, while shooting 45 percent on 3-pointers. He was coached by Todd Negoshian and was named Associated Press Honorable Mention as well as MLive Detroit Dream Team Honorable Mention. He was also a Michigan Mr. Basketball finalist. He had committed to Oklahoma State, but when there was a coaching change he looked elsewhere. He played AAU for The Family Detroit.

    “Amauri is a tough, heady left-handed point guard that can do it all,” Menzies said. “He takes pride in his defense and possesses a true gym-rat mentality. He had great chemistry with our players on his visit and it felt like a natural fit to join the Rebel Nation.”McCoy is a highly rated, 6-foot-11-inch, 245-pound forward from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego. He is a consensus five-star recruit and was rated by ESPN.com as the nation’s sixth-best prospect (currently No. 15). A McDonald’s High School All-American, he scored 13 points and had seven rebounds in the recent McDonald’s High School All-American game. He was also MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic.

    McCoy was coached in high school by Will Cunningham and averaged 28.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per game as a senior. He also played for USA Basketball’s U18 National Team and he scored 34 points in the recent Allen Iverson Roundball Classic game. He played AAU for California Supreme.

    “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. He took his time to thoroughly analyze his college decision, and fortunately his final decision has him wearing the Scarlet and Gray for his college career.”

    Juiston, Beck, Diong, Hardy, Smith and McCoy join Jay Green, who signed with the Runnin’ Rebels during the early signing period in the fall, as members of the 2017 recruiting class. Green is a 6-foot-5-inch guard, originally from Sydney, Australia, who attends Hillcrest Prep in Arizona.

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.