Deville Smith has received a waiver and will be eligible to play for Tennessee-Martin immediately this season, a source confirmed to NBCSports.
“I’m happy for Deville,” head coach Heath Schroyer said in a statement released by the program. “He has had to overcome a lot of adversity in his life and it’s always nice to see something good happen to a good kid.”
Smith spent last season playing for UNLV, where he averaged 9.7 points and started 18 games at the point as a junior. UT-Martin will be his fourth school in four years. As a freshman, he played on the same Mississippi State team as Rodney Hood, Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie before transferring to a junior college for the 2012-2013 season.
Smith will join a back court that adds JuCo all-american Alex Anderson and returns senior Marshun Newell and junior Dee Oldham. The Skyhawks went just 8-23 last season before undergoing a coaching change, bringing in the former UNLV associate head coach Schroyer.
Former UNLV guard Deville Smith has found a new home as the 6-foot guard will play his final year at Tennessee-Martin. Smith announced his move on Twitter but the story was first reported by CBSSports.com’s Jon Rothstein.
Smith will follow former UNLV associate head coach Heath Schroyer, who is now the first-year head coach for the Skyhawks. According to Rothstein, Smith will attempt to file a waiver with the NCAA in the hopes of playing this season. The guard only has one year of eligibility remaining.
After averaging 9.7 points and 2.7 assists per game at UNLV, Smith will join returnees Dee Oldham and Marshun Newell in the Tennessee-Martin back court.
While the Skyhawks struggled to an 8-23 mark in 2013-14, if Smith is allowed to play if would give Tennessee-Martin a very good back court to work with in the Ohio Valley Conference.
New UT Martin head coach Heath Schroyer spent the past three seasons on Dave Rice’s staff at UNLV, and according to a report Schroyer has added a former Runnin’ Rebel to his roster.
Guard Deville Smith, who was one of the options used by Rice at the point guard position last season, has decided to transfer to UT Martin according to Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com. Last season Smith, who played his freshman campaign at Mississippi State before transferring to Southwest Mississippi CC following the departure of head coach Rick Stansbury, averaged 9.7 points and 2.7 assists per game.
Smith started 18 of the 32 games he played in last year, and he shot 42.6% from the field and 33.8% from beyond the arc. Smith’s best performance at UNLV came in a loss at Boise State on February 22, as he accounted for 22 points and seven assists in the 91-90 defeat. His game-high in assists was eight (in a win at Utah State), and Smith accounted for five or more assists in five games in 2013-14.
According to the report UT-Martin is expected to request an immediate eligibility waiver on Smith’s behalf. The Skyhawks have to replace two of their top three scorers from last season, with forward Myles Taylor (14.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg) being the team’s leading returning scorer. Besides Smith, Schroyer and his staff have brought in eight newcomers including junior college All-American Alex Anderson and former UTEP signee and junior college transfer Twymond Howard.
Anderson averaged 16.7 points and 4.6 assists per game at Itawamba CC last season, helping to lead Itawamba to its first Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges title since 2008.
Deville Smith will not return to UNLV for his senior season, according to a report from MyLVSports.com. There has been speculation for much of the spring that Smith would be leaving the program.
Smith would have been UNLV’s leading returning scorer had he returned as he averaged 9.7 points and started 18 games for the Rebels in his one year in Vegas. As a freshman, the Jackson, Ms., native played on the Mississippi State team that also included Rodney Hood, Arnett Moultrie, Renardo Sidney and Dee Bost but transferred to a JuCo for his sophomore season.
Smith is just the latest departure from the Rebel program as UNLV head coach Dave Rice cleaned house this offseason. Roscoe Smith and Khem Birch went pro. Bryce Dejean-Jones and Demetris Morant have already transferred out of the program, and there are rumors that Smith won’t be the last to leave.
As it stands, UNLV’s leading returning scorer is Jelan Kendrick, one of just four players that saw minutes last season that are scheduled to be back with the team. Kendall Smith, Daquon Cook and Christian Wood also are still on the roster.
The good news for Rice is that he will bring in a talented class of recruits, headlined by Rashad Vaughn, Dwayne Morgan and Goodluck Okonoboh. Pat McCaw and Jordan Cornish both join the program as well, and transfer Jerome Seagears (Rutgers) and Cody Doolin (San Francisco) will be in the mix as well.
Over the weekend, we had one of the most exciting finishes in college basketball as UNLV was knocked off by Boise State in overtime when Deville Smith’s game-winning jumper was waived off.
It came a split-second too late.
League officials reviewed the tape and agreed. The ball was still touching Smith’s fingertips when the clock hit 0.0.
The problem? UNLV should have had 0.1 seconds more to get the shot off.
From the Las Vegas Sun:
According to UNLV coach Dave Rice, Mountain West and Pac-12 coordinator of officials Bobby Dibler called him Monday to say that after further review the Rebels should have had 3.4 seconds instead of 3.3 when they inbounded the ball to Smith for his final heave.
Boise State’s Derrick Marks hit a go-ahead shot in the lane and after the ball rattled around the rim it swished through and left 3.3 seconds on the clock. However, some UNLV fans immediately cried foul, saying that extra time had run off the clock.
There was a screen shot going around on Sunday and Monday that showed the ball completely through the basket with 3.4 remaining. That was probably all Dibler needed to see to confirm what Rice already believed.
That’s a tough pill for UNLV to swallow, but if they don’t blow a five-point lead in the final 50 seconds, we don’t even need to have this conversation.
Six days ago the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels put forth one of their poorer performances of the season, losing at home to rival Nevada with the Wolf Pack meeting little resistance on the offensive end of the floor. With a lengthy (by in-season standards) layoff ahead of road games at New Mexico and No. 10 San Diego State, head coach Dave Rice’s team had a rather simple decision to make. That decision: perform with greater effort, or fold.
On Wednesday night the Runnin’ Rebels did anything but fold, shooting 50% from the field and 53.8% from three as they knocked off New Mexico 76-73 in Albuquerque. UNLV came out ready to compete from the start, something that was not the case against Nevada. And if there were any play that illustrated this, it would likely be the breakaway dunk thrown down by Bryce Dejean-Jones to give UNLV a 21-12 lead (post free throw) with 12:16 remaining. New Mexico may not defend at the level they did a season ago, but UNLV deserves credit for the way in which it attacked the Lobo defense.
The Runnin’ Rebels made good use of dribble penetration to create opportunities on the offensive end, including the use of ball screens involving New Mexico center Alex Kirk as the help defender (especially late in the shot clock). Those scoring chances helped lead to four UNLV players finishing the game in double figures.
Dejean-Jones (23 points) and Deville Smith (17) led the way scoring-wise, but this was a group effort for a team that scored 1.15 points per possession on Wednesday night. Offensively this was arguably their best performance since beating Cal-State Fullerton on December 28, and given the schedule that was a much-needed development.
Cameron Bairstow led four Lobos in double figures with 27 points and as a team New Mexico assisted on 20 of its 24 made baskets. But they shot just 6-for-22 from three on a night were improved accuracy likely would have meant a different outcome. Ultimately it was UNLV who made the decisive plays (including two defensive stops late) needed to pick up a much-needed win, a result that gives the Runnin’ Rebels some much-needed confidence heading into Saturday’s game at San Diego State.
Is UNLV back to being the team many expected to contend for the Mountain West title? We’ll learn more about that on Saturday. But for a team that looked as if its season were practically over just six days ago, UNLV displayed improved fight at The Pit and was rewarded with its best win of the season.