Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 3:45 p.m.
Updated Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 11:51 p.m.
The next domino has fallen at the Thomas & Mack Center with guard Deville Smith not returning to the program, a source confirmed. The move has been expected for a couple of weeks, and UNLV is now without its primary five starters from the 2013-14 season.
Earlier today, the Rebels announced the signing of Jordan Cornish, a class of 2014 guard who committed on Tuesday, and last week UNLV received a verbal commitment from senior transfer guard Jerome Seagears of Rutgers. That put the likely scholarship number at 14, one above the NCAA limit.
Smith has one year of eligibility remaining and hasn’t used his redshirt season, so he can transfer anywhere and play in 2015-16 after sitting out a season. He started his career at Mississippi State and then played at Southwest Mississippi Community College before coming to UNLV.
Last season, Smith averaged 9.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game with a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. He was the leading scorer still on the roster from last year’s team. That designation now falls to Jelan Kendrick, who averaged 6.3 points per game.
At this point, UNLV is without nine players from last year’s team. Two graduated (Carlos Lopez-Sosa and Kevin Olekaibe), two declared for the NBA (Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith) and five will continue their careers at other programs. Savon Goodman will play at Arizona State, Jamal Aytes at BYU, Bryce Dejean-Jones at Iowa State, Demetris Morant at Florida Gulf Coast and Smith, who’s landing spot is unknown at this time.
The Rebels are replacing that production with a top-five recruiting class headlined by incoming freshmen Rashad Vaughn, Dwayne Morgan, Goodluck Okonoboh, Patrick McCaw and Cornish. They also have transfers who might play this season in point guard Cody Doolin from San Francisco and Seagears, plus Oregon’s Ben Carter, who will sit out this season and have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
The remaining players on scholarship are Kendrick, forward Christian Wood and guards Kendall Smith, Daquan Cook and Dantley Walker.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mistakenly left out one of UNLV's returning scholarship players. | (May 23, 2014)