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Kevin Kruger to take UNLV to Canada for preseason camp

UNLV is headed to Canada before the 2022-23 basketball season.

The Rebels will head to Vancouver, British Columbia, for a preseason camp Aug. 15 to 20. Coach Kevin Kruger said he thinks the trip will give his team an opportunity to bond.

“We wanted to make sure we get to capitalize on the extra time together,” said Kruger, who will take advantage of an NCAA rule that allows teams to take an international trip every four years.

Kruger said he thinks the trip will give his new players a chance to settle into the culture, learn new terminology and understand his system before the season. UNLV has added five players: Luis Rodriguez (Mississippi), Isaiah Cottrell (West Virginia), Elijah Parquet (Colorado), Elijah Harkless (Oklahoma) and Jackie Johnson III (Duquesne).

“We really want, when November rolls around and we start playing those games, that it’s not going to feel like game No. 1,” Kruger said.

New players aren’t the only ones who will be familiarizing themselves with UNLV’s program. Kruger lost assistants Carlin Hartman (Florida) and Tim Buckley (South Carolina) in the offseason. John Cooper, most recently an assistant coach at Southern Methodist, and former Texas Tech associate head coach Barret Peery have been hired.

Kruger appreciates the experience Cooper and Peery have at several levels and school sizes. He said both have similar outlooks on basketball and thought they would be good fits for his program.

Kruger said this offseason has been less hectic than his first one. He thinks the trip to Vancouver will give the new coaching staff a chance to understand how film sessions will work, the daily practice schedule and just get a feeling for how the team will operate during the season.

“I think it helps a new coaching staff as well,” he said.

The foundation for the trip was laid by former UNLV coach T.J. Otzelberger. He originally planned for the Rebels to travel to Vancouver, but the trip was called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When Kruger had a chance to choose a location this year, the contacts were already in place, making his decision easy.

The trip will mostly consist of practices and workouts, but Kruger hopes to scrimmage a few teams.

“That’s why I think foreign trips can be so critical and positive,” he said. “Just for those guys coming in to be around the coaches, be around the team.”

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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