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Thursday, March 31, 2011 | 2:15 a.m.
- USC transfer Bryce Jones to take official visit to UNLV this weekend (3-25-2011)
- UNLV lands commitment from high-powered scoring guard Dantley Walker (2-15-2011)
- Findlay Prep sophomore guard Nigel Williams-Goss verbally commits to UNLV (12-15-2010)
- Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep forward Grandy Glaze signs letter of intent to play at UNLV (11-11-2010)
- 2010-11 UNLV Schedule/Results
- All Sun UNLV men's basketball coverage
Bryce Jones's visit to UNLV last weekend was about more than just checking out the campus and facilities for the first time.
He's doing some deeper research on the side.
"I'm kind of looking more at backgrounds this time," he said. "Where the coach came from, why he left where he came from, talk to some other people who have played for him."
It was a tough separation from the USC program for Jones when he decided to transfer back in January.
At the time, playing time and broken promises appeared to be the clear culprit.
Jones, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who was the No. 97 prospect in the 2010 class according to Rivals.com, started the Trojans' first 10 games, averaging 28.1 minutes and 11.2 points an outing. Then, when highly touted Fordham transfer Jio Fontan became eligible following the fall semester's conclusion, Jones was moved to the bench, averaging only 11.1 minutes a game over the next eight.
Coincidentally, after he left the program, stories of a locker room altercation with teammate Garrett Jackson and another dust-up with a resident advisor in his dorm came out.
Jones acknowledges that both incidents happened but also said that both versions given to the local media were blown out of proportion. His side of the story is that he and Jackson simply carried emotions over from the practice floor and hadn't yet cooled off when they got to the locker room. Jones said he and Jackson smoothed the situation over later in the day, are still friends and still attend classes together.
As for the dorm incident, Jones said, it was merely a verbal argument with the RA over loud music in his room. He also admits now that he was wrong in the matter.
"I knew it was going to come out sooner or later," Jones said. "I just wanted to separate and move on.
"I want (a fresh start) pretty bad."
As of right now, that fresh start will come at either UNLV, San Diego State or Gonzaga. The trip to Las Vegas was his first official visit in the second go-around in the recruiting process. He's taken in a game at SDSU this year and will likely take visits to the other two spots in the near future.
Jones said he's in no rush to make a decision but felt comfortable at UNLV while surrounded by some familiar faces.
His visit was hosted by former Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft High teammate Justin Hawkins.
"I got to see the school and how nice the campus is; he took me on a tour around the school," Jones said. "That was my first time inside the Thomas & Mack. It was pretty nice in there. I got to meet the guys, see the facilities and stuff."
Jones also played some pick-up ball with the team on Saturday morning. Also in attendance for that run was Bishop Gorman standout junior and top 2012 recruit Shabazz Muhammad.
Muhammad and Jones have been close since a young age, as their fathers were at USC together in the 1980s and the families have been friends ever since.
Muhammad is one of UNLV's top targets in the 2012 class, as the staff has at least four scholarships to fill after the 2011-12 season. There is one open for next year, and Jones fits the bill of what the staff is looking for — a transfer who can get adjusted over the next year and add some needed scoring punch when eligible. Wherever he lands, he'll have three years to play beginning in the 2012-13 season.
"It's pretty wide open right now," Jones said. "I liked UNLV a lot, but I'm going to take my time."
Lon Kruger and his staff also came away with a strong impression of Jones and put a clear scholarship offer on the table for him.
It's another step in Jones rebuilding both his collegiate career and image.
"I'm not into retaliation," Jones said of telling his side of the USC story. "Hopefully, wherever I go, they'll take my word for it that nothing (bad) happened."
UNLV commit Dantley Walker named first team Parade All-American
Lincoln County High guard Dantley Walker, who committed to UNLV last month, was given one of high school basketball's highest honors on Monday.
The scoring sensation who averaged 36.2 points and 10.4 assists per game as a senior, drawing comparisons to BYU star Jimmer Fredette along the way, was named a first-team Parade All-American.
Walker will head on a two-year Mormon mission after graduation and will join the Rebels as a freshman in the 2013-14 season.