UNLV basketball:

Countdown to tip-off: Dejean-Jones’ play could be the key to a successful season

The week leading up to UNLV’s first regular season game, the Sun will highlight one Rebel each day. Today: sophomore Bryce Dejean-Jones

Image

Sam Morris

UNLV Runnin’ Rebel Bryce Dejean-Jones

UNLV Runnin' Rebel Bryce Dejean-Jones

UNLV guard Bryce Dejean-Jones drives to the basket against North Carolina during their game Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. North Carolina won the game 79-73. Launch slideshow »

Bryce Dejean-Jones may have been the UNLV basketball team's missing piece last season. An aggressive, athletic wing player who can go off the dribble toward the rim or pull up behind the arc, he had to sit out after transferring from USC.

While the Rebels’ legs got tired and their toughness seemed to be lacking, the common refrain was to look at the end of the bench and imagine how different things would be with Dejean-Jones eligible. That no longer matters, and Dejean-Jones could be just as instrumental this season if he plays in games like he has in practice the past year.

With enough playing time, he could be the team’s leading scorer and perhaps its emotional linchpin. He looks physically pained when something goes wrong on the court, a characteristic that suggests it will be hard to keep him on the bench in a close game.

Not even a broken hand just more than a month before the season will keep him from playing. Dejean-Jones is confident that when he finally steps on the court, the wait will have been worth it, and no longer will people have to wonder what he brings to UNLV’s lineup. Everyone will find out together.

Vitals

Ht	Wt	Yr	Pos	Major

6-5	200	RS So	Wing	Sociology

How he got to UNLV

MaxPreps had Dejean-Jones as a top-50 player coming out of high school, and he stayed close to home at USC. He flashed potential as a freshman with the Trojans, but an altercation with a teammate soured things and coach Kevin O’Neill didn’t exactly have his back. The Rebels offered a second chance, and Dejean-Jones found a familiar face in former high school teammate Justin Hawkins.

Box score stats (at USC)

Yr	GP-GS	Min	FG%	3FG%	FT%	Rbs	Ast	TO	Stl	Pts

10-11	18-10	20.6	37.9	34.5	63.9	2.6	28	30	20	7.6

Advanced stats (via kenpom.com)

Yr	%Min	ORtg	%Poss	%Shots	eFG%	TS%	OR%	DR%	ARate	TORate

10-11	27.1	91.8	24.5	25	46	48.5	3.8	11.6	16.2	20.4

What they’re saying

"There's nothing mid-major about that front line, and if guards Anthony Marshall, Justin Hawkins and Bryce Dejean-Jones can do their bit, UNLV is the favorite in this league, period."

Basketball Prospectus

"Jones is an important addition for the Runnin’ Rebels because of his ability on the wing. UNLV doesn’t have an overload of talent on the wing."

NBC Sports

Rice’s take

“Bryce is extremely versatile. He scores the ball in a variety of ways and I think will be one of our better defenders. He’ll be key to our attack at both ends of the floor from the wing spot.”

In his own words

“From here everybody’s looking to play team basketball and play hard. That’s basically just what we have to focus on, play hard and play smart. … I can’t wait to get out there. It’s been too long.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy