NCAA grants waiver for UNLV's Kevin Olekaibe to play immediately

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Over the past couple of weeks, the movement surrounding Kevin Olekaibe's appeal to the NCAA grew louder.

The senior guard left Fresno State in the spring to be closer to his father, who is in hospice and is unable to speak. Olekaibe transferred to UNLV and applied for an NCAA waiver in order to play immediately. The Runnin' Rebels were optimistic regarding a decision, but with just four days until the season tips off, no announcement had been made.

Until Monday night – and it came up aces for Vegas and Olekaibe.

The NCAA approved Olekaibe's waiver – but now the Rebels will have to wait for the Mountain West to waive its intra-conference transfer rules.

"We are thankful to the NCAA for approving this waiver on its merit," head coach Dave Rice said in a statement. "We are pleased for Kevin and his family. We will now await approval from the Mountain West Conference."

Olekaibe, a 6-foot-2 Las Vegas native, led Fresno State in scoring two seasons ago, and averaged 8.3 points last season. He is expected to provide depth in the backcourt behind junior college transfers Deville Smith and Jelan Kendrick, as well as leading returning scorer Bryce Dejean-Jones. Dejean-Jones suffered a strained hamstring in Friday's exhibition loss to Dixie State, and is questionable for the season's opener.

The Rebels open their season on Friday against Portland State.

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