UT Arlington doesn’t have anybody on its active roster taller than 6-foot-8, but that hasn’t mattered when it comes to grabbing rebounds.
Despite a schedule loaded with college basketball factories, the Mavericks (6-2) are the best offensive rebounding team in the nation.
And it’s not even close.
With 147 offensive rebounds in eight games, they’ve given themselves 22 more second chances than the next team in line, which is last year’s NCAA runner-up, Wisconsin. To call it unexpected would be an understatement.
“It’s amazing how good of a rebounding team this team is,” coach Scott Cross said.
The Mavericks will take that into El Paso for the final “money” game of the season when they play UTEP at 8:05 p.m. Saturday. Unlike the other three “money” games of $100,000, UTEP is paying $80,000.
The second-chance Mavericks have been driven by the development of Kevin Hervey, the Arlington Bowie grad who has morphed into a star in the first few weeks of the season. Not only does he lead the Mavericks with 17.6 points per game, but he has a knack for the rebound that few possess, bringing down an average of 10.6 per game.
“He’s just got a nose for rebounding to be able to grab 15 rebounds is absolutely amazing,” Cross said. “He’s almost got a sixth sense, kind of like [Dennis] Rodman has on where to go and track down those rebounds.”
He’s garnered the attention of national media, including Fran Fraschilla, the coach-turned ESPN analyst, who made it a point to see him in person Thursday against North Texas, a 90-67 victory for UTA.
He’s been the centerpiece of a team that entered the Mid-Major Top 25 at No. 20, and the Mavericks have a chance to move up with a nice performance against the Miners (6-1), who enter Saturday’s game looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season.
A dynamic scoring duo paces the Miners’ offensive attack. Lee Moore and Earvin Morris combine for 33.2 points per game. Before a loss at New Mexico State on Wednesday, UTEP was off to its first 6-0 start in 15 years.
UTA men at UTEP
8:05 p.m. Saturday