When assistant coach Justin Hutson left UNLV to return to San Diego State earlier this offseason, losing one of the West Coast’s top recruiters to a league rival was viewed as a blow to the Rebels.
Instead coach Dave Rice appears to have found a replacement connected enough to be just as successful as Hutson.
Rice is on the verge of hiring Todd Simon, coach of Las Vegas-based prep school powerhouse Findlay Prep, ESPN.com reported on Monday afternoon. A UNLV spokesman could not confirm the Simon hire but did say the school is waiting on HR approval to extend a formal offer to someone.
Assuming Simon joins Rice’s staff as expected, he should help UNLV continue its recent recruiting surge that has resulted in commitments from the likes of Anthony Bennett, Katin Reinhardt and a handful of prized transfers. Simon’s ties to Findlay Prep and track record of luring top talent both figure to be assets.
In recent years, NBA players Avery Bradley, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Anthony Bennett have all spent a year or two at Findlay Prep prior to college. The team went 35-1 this past season and has consistently been one of the nation’s top prep programs thanks to the players Simon and former head coach Michael Peck landed.
Simon was an assistant under Peck before taking over the Findlay program when his predecessor left for an NBDL job. Prior to that, Simon was a video coordinator for two years under ex-UNLV coach Lon Kruger.