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FAB 48: ‘Next Jimmer’ begins slow rise

When the alarm clock went off early, Katin Reinhardt figured his Sunday would get off to a slow start.

“I’m not really a morning person,” he said. “I just don’t like waking up.”

Waking up early to play basketball at a high level was a challenge Reinhardt was not up to at 10:30 a.m. About eight hours later, in his second game of the day for Belmont Shore (Calif.), he produced a performance that was only slightly better.

Reinhardt was not inspiring comparisons to Jimmer Fredette, at least not on this occasion in the Las Vegas Fab 48 tournament at Bishop Gorman High School.

But the search for “The next Jimmer” is inevitable and countless white guards will draw the comparison, including the 6-foot-5-inch Reinhardt, a slick ballhandler with impressive shooting range and the strength and quickness to drive to the rim and finish.

Imagining a link between Fredette, the nation’s leading scorer at Brigham Young last season, and Reinhardt is not unrealistic.

UNLV coach Dave Rice, a former BYU assistant who tutored Fredette, has Reinhardt envisioning a future in which he fills a Fredette-type role in the Rebels’ up-tempo offense.

“He said some good stuff about me, like how I’m bigger than Jimmer and more athletic,” Reinhardt said. “He wants to use me the same way he used Jimmer, how he let him run and have that same freedom within the system.

“I like how he lets his players run. It’s a good system, and Jimmer exploded in college.”

Reinhardt, from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 43 player in the class of 2012. He said UNLV “definitely” has a shot to get him to commit, but so do several other programs from bigger conferences.

“It’s wide open right now,” said Reinhardt, rattling off California, Washington, Gonzaga, Texas, Texas-El Paso, Baylor, Syracuse, Florida and others on his recruiting list. “It’s tough to really narrow them down.

“It’s great. I’ve just got to figure out my top five at the end of the summer and go on those official visits.”

Rice and Rebels assistants Justin Hutson and Heath Schroyer were watching Sunday morning as Reinhardt scored 11 points to help Belmont Shore beat Colorado Chaos 62-59.

Belmont Shore was knocked out Sunday night, when Reinhardt made three 3-pointers and scored 14 points in an 88-79 loss to Grassroots Canada.

Rice, hired as UNLV’s coach in April, is searching for shooters, and he has made Reinhardt, a combo guard who can play the point, a primary target.

“He said he needs a scorer and somebody who can handle the ball,” Reinhardt said. “He wants me to run, find open people and knock some shots down.

“I’m happy that we have a good relationship. He only gets that one phone call a month, so I call him twice or three times a week and talk to him and see how things are going. I’m curious to call him and see what he thought of me playing this weekend.”

Reinhardt admitted he had “a few bad games” in the Fab 48 tournament, but it’s nothing that would cause his stock to drop. After orally committing to Southern California on New Year’s Eve, Reinhardt reconsidered and de-committed in May.

USC coach Kevin O’Neill backed off and Reinhardt soon found out how many other coaches were eager to join the chase.

“(O’Neill) was cool about it. It was a good way to go out instead of any bad blood or anything like that,” Reinhardt said.

Rice, who got an oral commitment Thursday from point guard Daquan Cook of St. Frances High School in Baltimore, has four scholarships available for the class of 2012.

Reinhardt expects to narrow his list of schools in late August, and he said, “Hopefully, UNLV will be in that top five.”

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