There’s no denying the amount of success that UNLV has enjoyed with transfers in recent years, and this year’s team will call on some talented transfers as well.
Dave Rice and his coaching staff picked up another one on Saturday, as 6-7 Indian Hills CC wing Jelan Kendrick verbally pledged to attend UNLV following his official visit.
Indian Hills is Kendrick’s third college as he’s already made stops at Memphis and Ole Miss.
He didn’t play a single game at Memphis, as head coach Josh Pastner kicked him off the team in early November of 2010.
In 18 games with the Rebels last season Kendrick averaged 5.1 points and 2.2 rebounds per game after sitting out the fall semester per NCAA transfer rules.
But his time in Oxford didn’t finish in the best manner either, as there was the incident in which he left the arena during warmups before Ole Miss’ 60-51 win over Alabama in the regular season finale.
From that point Kendrick’s season (and Ole Miss career) ended while the Rebels went on to advance to the SEC tournament semifinals (lost to Vanderbilt) and then fell to Illinois State in the first round of the Postseason NIT.
The Atlanta native, who was a McDonald’s All-American, is immensely talented but is this a risk for UNLV that they don’t need to take?
The Runnin’ Rebels will lose three senior contributors this season in guards Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins, along with forward Quintrell Thomas.
And there’s also the question of what kind of progression junior Mike Moser makes when it comes to his NBA Draft stock to address (the same could go for freshman Anthony Bennett).
But while those will be some tough personnel losses to absorb it isn’t as if the cupboard will be bare in 2013-14.
UConn transfer Roscoe Smith will be eligible, and he’ll join at team that in theory would include Bennett, Moser, Pitt transfer Khem Birch, and other returnees such as guards Bryce Dejean-Jones and Katin Reinhardt and forwards Savon Goodman, Carlos Lopez and Demetris Morant.
There’s always going to be room for talent, and there’s no denying this or the fact that Kendrick is a gifted basketball player.
In a city known for gambling UNLV is taking a serious risk. The hope once Kendrick arrives is that this roll of the dice doesn’t result in the basketball equivalent of “snake eyes.”
Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.