UNLV basketball:

Junior Roscoe Smith to leave UNLV and enter name in NBA Draft

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Roscoe Smith dunks on San Diego State during their Mountain West Conference semifinal game Friday, March 14, 2014, at the Thomas & Mack Center. The No. 8-ranked San Diego State Aztecs won 59-51 to advance to the finals.

Updated Friday, April 4, 2014 | 2:56 p.m.

UNLV Runnin' Rebel Roscoe Smith

UNLV forward Roscoe Smith takes a shot over UC Santa Barbara guard Michael Bryson during their game Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center.  UC Santa Barbara won the game 86-65. Launch slideshow »

Rebels junior forward Roscoe Smith will forgo his final year of eligibility and put his name into the NBA Draft pool, multiple sources told the Sun. The school made it official later this afternoon.

Smith played at UConn for two seasons before transferring to UNLV two years ago. After sitting out a year because of transfer rules, Smith averaged 11.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game this season. He received honorable mention accolades from the Mountain West and ranked 10th in the country with 16 double-doubles.

“I had a great experience at UNLV and really enjoyed playing for Coach Rice and his staff,” Smith said in a statement. “I am ready to take the next step in my career, but I love UNLV and will always be a Runnin’ Rebel. I am planning to finish my classes this semester in addition to preparing for the draft.”

Listed at 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds, Smith has athleticism and a 7-foot-1 wingspan that could help him make a living playing basketball. However, he was often a defensive weakness for UNLV this season, and he doesn’t show up on any mock drafts for 2014.

It’s likely that Smith will go undrafted and then try to find his path through either the NBA Summer League or abroad. Smith was too far away from graduation to do a grad-transfer year at another school as did Bryce Dejean-Jones, who’s set to visit Iowa State next week.

“Roscoe is such a hard worker and good player,” coach Dave Rice said a statement. “We were fortunate to be able to see his work ethic first-hand these last two years. He was one of the best rebounders in the country and provided great energy and leadership. We appreciate all of his contributions to our program and wish him the best.”

Smith’s former team plays Saturday in the Final Four, just one year after UConn was banned from the postseason because of low APR scores and three years after Smith was a starting freshman on the Huskies’ national championship team.

Smith's departure was expected because his role figured to diminish significantly with the incoming recruiting class. The Rebels are still waiting to find out what junior forward Khem Birch will decide, and there also could be a transfer coming in or out further down the roster.

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

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