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Freshman forward decides to leave Rebels program

A few months after signing with the Rebels, Jamal Aytes announces he’s moving on in search of more playing time

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Jamal Aytes yells after a Khem Birch dunk against UC Santa Barbara during their game Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UC Santa Barbara won the game 86-65.

The Rebels will lose some depth in the frontcourt as freshman forward Jamal Aytes has decided to transfer, coach Dave Rice announced this afternoon. Aytes was a late commitment to the Rebels, signing right before the fall semester started.

“I have enjoyed my time at UNLV,” Aytes said in a statement, “but transferring gives me a better opportunity for playing time sooner in my career.”

Aytes played in four of UNLV’s seven games, averaging 2.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per game. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, Aytes added a physical presence in the post but fell behind freshman Christian Wood in the rotation. With Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith playing great up front this year, plus forwards Dwayne Morgan and Goodluck Okonoboh coming next season, Aytes didn’t see many minutes available for himself.

“We thank Jamal for his contributions and wish him the best in the future,” Rice said in a statement.

Aytes, a San Diego, Calif., native, played this summer with the Dream Vision AAU program alongside local UNLV 2015 targets Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter. The vacant scholarship gives the Rebels room for their top remaining 2014 target, Findlay Prep's Rashad Vaughn.

Aytes didn’t appear in UNLV’s 63-58 loss Saturday at Arizona. The Rebels (3-4) return to the road this Saturday at Southern Utah (1-5).

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

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