Posted May 27, 2013

The nuances underscoring Katin Reinhardt’s transfer

Could Katin Reinhardt's desire to become a top pro, derail his college career? (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Could Katin Reinhardt’s desire to become a top pro, derail his college career? (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

On the surface, the holiday weekend transfer news involving UNLV’s Katin Reinhardt seemed curious. As a true freshman this past season, Reinhardt had copious carte blanche, taking more than nine shots a game (while only making 36 percent of them) in over 29 minutes per contest on a team with a number of more experienced and/or more talented options. What more could a first-year player want as part of a nationally relevant program that also was featuring a soon-to-be high-lottery NBA pick?

As it turns out, the freedom to jack shots from the wing might not be what Reinhardt (or his handlers) wanted for him, at least going forward. UNLV head coach Dave Rice provided the Las Vegas Review-Journal with Reinhardt’s explanation for the transfer.

“He said that he feels his best opportunity to play in the NBA is to play more minutes at the point guard position,” Rice said. “Katin would have had an opportunity to compete for minutes at the point, but I’ve never guaranteed anyone that they will start or play a certain number of minutes.”

Now, there are several things in play here …

1) A player is entitled to make what he believes is the best choice for his basketball aspirations.

Reinhardt didn’t show much distribution inclination on a team that lacked a true point guard, but that doesn’t necessarily make him incapable of those skills, especially if that’s primarily what he wants to focus on going forward. He has the size to operate at the 1 with effectiveness, and if he’s willing to commit to the specific skill development and mentality required at the position, at least as it projects to the NBA level, then he’s entitled to try to mold himself that way. If he didn’t feel that was going to happen at UNLV, then choosing a different location makes sense. At least he gave his head coach a legitimate reason for the transfer.

2) That said, non-star players often suffer from delusions of grandeur.

Matthew Dellavedova had an excellent career at Saint Mary’s. He was one of the best point guards in the country, a beautiful passer of the ball with an excellent stroke from deep despite being the focal point of every opposing defense. He made his Gaels teammates a lot better. He played four full seasons in college and was part of Australia’s Olympic team last summer.

And according to most people who follow the NBA draft, Dellavedova will be fortunate to get drafted at all. Draft Express has him as the 81st best prospect available and ESPN’s Chad Ford lists him as a second-round/undrafted prospect.

The point is Reinhardt has miles to go to even become a point guard as good as Dellavedova, who has similar size and also isn’t close to an elite athlete in terms of pro potential. And if he gets to that level, he’s a marginal pro. Maybe.

Reinhardt is not in the Michael Carter-Williams mold, where overt length and athleticism can overcome certain shortcomings in current skill. Focusing on what he needs to do to make the NBA seems crazy at this point, and there’s nothing saying Reinhardt couldn’t play the 2 at the next level. You have to make the switch as soon as possible for there to be any chance of it working, but the obsession with becoming a pro before you even become a good college player has derailed many players.

3) There’s no guarantee Reinhardt would have had as prominent a role this upcoming season, despite UNLV’s personnel losses.

The Rebels definitely are in some transition, having lost Anthony Bennett to the NBA, Mike Moser to a grad-school transfer, and Anthony Marshall, Justin Hawkins and Quintrell Thomas to exhausted eligibility. That said, they have a lot of pieces coming back again next year, beginning with Khem Birch inside and Bryce Dejean-Jones on the wing. UConn transfer Roscoe Smith is now eligible. There is another solid entering class coming. More relevant to Reinhardt’s decision, UNLV has multiple potential options at the point between returnee Daquan Cook, juco import DeVille Smith and incoming freshman Kendall Smith.

While none of them have (much) experience at the high Division I level, they’re more traditional point guards, and one of the Rebels’ major issues last season was the lack of a traditional facilitator at that position. Converted shooting guard Marshall did the best he could, and statistically had a pretty solid season, but if you watched UNLV enough, you realized how often their offense was out of sync or had the wrong guys taking the wrong shots.

Reinhardt was one of the major culprits. He was a low-efficiency, streaky volume shooter on a team that had better offensive options. Rice never fully (or properly) reined him in last season, but that doesn’t mean Reinhardt would have similar liberties this season, especially if one of the point guards comes good and makes proper decisions with the ball. Coaches learn from their mistakes, too. It was pretty clear by the end of the season that Reinhardt was hurting the Rebels’ offense, especially since he wasn’t even as good or as diverse in his approach as UNLV’s other volume shooter, Dejean-Jones.

Then, as Rice underscored in his quote, he wasn’t going to promise Reinhardt minutes at the point when he has other options coming in. If Rice truly believed Reinhardt could play heavy minutes at the point next season, he certainly could have sold him on that in May.

UNLV didn’t want a player with Reinhardt’s relative potential to depart, but if he wasn’t going to buy into the role the staff wanted, it’s better for him to move on. There’s no guarantee that Reinhardt will develop elsewhere as a point guard, but he’ll have up to four more years at the college level to refine his game at a program that will be taking him on understanding his goals. It may not work out for either party. It may work out for both. On the surface, it seemed a curious move, but at least the underpinning reasons for the move make sense for both player and program.

BobbyMoore1 1 Like

Excellent article and correct. Yet,.... MISSING SOME FACTS.  You'd think What is crazy about this is players don't want to  compete for starting positions and want to be handed the easiest path? What people are missing here is the fact that the coach of Mater Dai HS  recently developed a vendetta against UNLV because McKnight wanted UNLV coach Dave Rice to take Lamb (UCLA transfer) and also wanted UNLV to recruit Stanley Johnson with the same vigor they went after (and landed) Dwayne Morgan. That is what happens when High School coaches (like McKnight) try to stay involved with a players decisions after he goes on to the next level. It IS NOT a coincidence that 8 out of the last 9 top 150 recruits to play at Mater Dai have transferred colleges. McKnight is a cancer and ruins his players careers. This decision (Katin's mind boggling transfer) is based on bad advice and a High School coach trying to hold a at new college coach at a reputable program hostage and giving ultimatums to head coaches. Fact of the matter is UNLV landed a McDonald's all american (Jelan Kendrick) that can easily take over  Katin's starting position and he and his handlers (his dad) were scared of the competition. Katin would have still received plenty of playing time but the bad advice he received from his former high school coach was disguised as "his best chance to get to the NBA" when in reality it was a vendetta from a high school coach trying to get back at a college coach who wouldn't give in to his demands. In the mean time they may ruin a players career. The best thing Katin had going for him was his shooting ability.  Sitting out a full year could very easily ruin a players confidence.  A full year away from playing is a huge risk.  In UNLV's system whoever has the ball can play PG and distribute the ball. Katin chose to shoot more than he passed last year and was a combo guard who had a rapid fire trigger who's shot attempts were only second to lottery pick Anthony Bennett and his minutes played were only second to senior PG (possible and likely second round NBA pick) Anthony Marshall. He played more minutes than 4 seniors and  a Jr projected 1st or 2nd team all american to begin the season in Mike Moser also. Including more minutes than McDonald's all american Khem Birch. 

Katin was never pulled out of the game for a bad shot (which he took often) and he was never removed from the game because of poor defense, even though in an early season contest against Oregon Damien Dotson scored 4 consecutive field goals easily against the Rebels to overtake the lead in the final 2 minutes with Katin Reinhardt guarding him. Coach Dave Rice stuck with his freshman throughout the season even though Katin made poor decisions and played poor defense. Katin could not have ever envisioned a more supportive head coach his freshman season,.... yet in the end he abandon his colllege head coach and abandon the fans that supported him.  

Actually I don't believe Katin himself actually wanted to transfer, as evidence by his twitter video he posted  saying he wasn't going to transfer. That very public rebut of an article citing the rumor was his doing, on his own accord. His true beliefs. I  know given all the facts this is a case of hidden agendas and an ego maniac of a high school coach who sacrificed a players true best interest just to prove a point to a head coach who wouldn't give in to his demands. A power struggle if you will. You think it is a coincidence 8 out of the last 9 top 150 players to come out of Mater Dai's and coach McKnight's program have transferred? ? ? It's a high school coach who tries to meddle in players career far after he should  be in a position of influence without agendas and prejudice.  

All in all it can be summed up with this. Katin Reinhardt transferred (or was forced to) because UNLV didn't take (UCLA  transfer) Tyler Lamb. So in return Mater Dai head coach Gary McKnight manipulated Katin Rienhardt and his dad to transferring away from UNLV. A very poor decision for a freshman who got plenty of PT and a green light and a plethora of latitude. Sad sad sad and disgusting business college basketball is...this is the truth..the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 


Sure he can shoot but quite possibly may be the worst defender in college basketball. And his shot selection was severely lacking. I truly believe UNLV will benefit in the long run from this transfer