Despite a 20-win season, it was something of a disappointing campaign for UNLV, which did not reach the postseason. But the Runnin' Rebels have a terrific recruiting class coming in, creating some optimism in Vegas for next season.
But they will be without leading scorer Bryce Dejean-Jones, who is leaving the team. The news has been rumored for more than a month now, but head coach Dave Rice made it official late Sunday night.
“I met with Bryce and his family earlier today. It was decided that he will not be on our team next year,” Rice said, according to the Las Vegas Sun. “He is on schedule to graduate this summer so he will remain on scholarship and we will support him academically. During this process he will explore his professional opportunities.”
Sources indicated Dejean-Jones is exploring taking advantage of the graduate transfer rule, transferring elsewhere and playing immediately if graduates from UNLV this spring. He could also go overseas and play professionally.
The 6-foot-5 swingman averaged 13.6 points this past season, but also had a couple of behavior issues. Dejean-Jones was suspended for the regular season finale against Wyoming for a violation of team rules, and was also reportedly yelling at teammates in the locker room after the Mountain West tournament loss on Friday.
UNLV could be a title contender in the league next season even without Dejean-Jones. The Runnin' Rebels will bring back most of its key pieces from this season, while also adding top-25 freshmen Rashad Vaughn, Dwayne Morgan and Goodluck Okonoboh. They also add San Francisco transfer Cody Doolin at the point guard position.