Guard Bryce Dejean-Jones won’t return to UNLV next season


Late Sunday, after finding out that they would not be participating in a postseason tournament, UNLV began the process of moving forward with an eye towards the 2014-15 season. The first order of business for head coach Dave Rice was to make a personnel decision many expected to occur, announcing that junior guard Bryce Dejean-Jones will not return to the program according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Dejean-Jones led UNLV in scoring with an average of 13.6 points per game, but there were some issues with regards to shot selection. The USC transfer would also be suspended for UNLV’s regular season finale at Nevada due to his actions in the immediate aftermath of the Runnin’ Rebels’ home loss to No. 8 San Diego State. Those issues led to the decision being made that Dejean-Jones has played his last game in a UNLV uniform.

“I met with Bryce and his family earlier today. It was decided that he will not be on our team next year,” Rice said. “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.”

Dejean-Jones wouldn’t have to go pro, provided he complete his bachelor’s degree as Rice’s plan for the guard seems to be. He could also go the graduate transfer route, becoming eligible immediately at a school of his choice.

Dejean-Jones was one of four UNLV players averaging double figures this season, and two of the other three (forwards Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith) have eligibility remaining. UNLV will add a recruiting class that’s regarded as one of the best in the country, led by center Goodluck Okonoboh and guards Dwayne Morgan and Rashad Vaughn.

And with the arrival of San Francisco transfer point guard Cody Doolin, UNLV will have the distributor the team lacked in 2013-14. Doolin’s presence will help UNLV offensively as they look for primary perimeter scoring options with Dejean-Jones and Kevin Olekaibe having moved on.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.