UNLV added a former McDonald’s High School All-American to its 2013 recruiting class over the weekend, getting a commitment from juco prospect Jelan Kendrick on Friday night.
“I’m very excited,” said Kendrick, who watched the Rebels practice on Friday and Saturday. “I think the program is great. The coaches here have a passion for winning, and they’re committed to bringing this program back to another national championship. That’s something I want to be a part of.”
Kendrick comes with his share of question marks, as this will be his fourth college program in three years. But Rebels coach Dave Rice must believe he can tap into Kendrick’s talent and get him to produce.
A 6-foot-7 swingman, Kendrick’s ability is unquestioned. As a high schooler in Georgia, he was rated as one of the top players in the country and selected to play in the prestigious McDonald’s game as a senior in 2010. He signed with Memphis, but that’s when his career path started to get a bit rocky.
Kendrick was released from his scholarship at Memphis before playing a single game for the Tigers, reportedly due to repeated clashes with teammates and the coaching staff. He then moved on to Ole Miss, where he enjoyed a fairly productive sophomore season. But a strange pre-game meltdown late in the year forced the team to suspend him for the postseason.
Kendrick left Ole Miss after the season and will play this year at Indian Hills CC (Ottumwa, Iowa). He’ll have two years of eligibility left when he joins UNLV for the 2013-14 campaign.
The UNLV staff has been on a recruiting roll, so Rebels fans have to like the fact that Rice is taking a chance on Kendrick’s talent. He’s got definite boom-or-bust potential, but the Rebels would appear to run the perfect system for Kendrick. He’s got great size for a perimeter player, and his passing and court vision have always been a strength. Putting him in an open-court system like Rice’s may be the best way to finally unlock his potential.