Meet the Rebels: Bryce Dejean-Jones

Sophomore transfer is ready to finally take the court

Leading up to the start of the regular season, RunRebs will be profiling every significant player on the UNLV roster in a series we call “Meet the Rebels.” Today’s focus: sophomore guard Bryce Dejean-Jones.

Bryce Dejean-Jones has been waiting a long time for this.

After playing his freshman season at USC and opening some eyes with his athleticism and NBA body, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard transfered to UNLV. And due to NCAA rules, he had to sit out one season before becoming eligible. So while the Rebels were coming alive last year — running and gunning, winning 26 games, beating No. 1 UNC, making a trip to the NCAA tournament — Dejean-Jones was watching from the sideline.

He was, however, allowed to practice with the team. And that’s what he did. Every practice became game day for Dejean-Jones, and more than one observer considered him to be the Rebels’ best player on some days last season.

Coming into this season, Dejean-Jones was more than ready to get on the court and do it for real. Unfortunately, he would have to wait a bit longer. During an offseason workout, Dejean-Jones skied for a ridiculous dunk and landed awkwardly, breaking his left (non-shooting) hand. It would be another four weeks before he’d be able to resume running with the Rebels.

After waiting a whole year, Dejean-Jones wasn’t going to let another month get him down.

“It was disappointing when it happened,” said Dejean-Jones, “but I just wanted to keep working and make sure when I came back I was up to speed with the rest of the team. I did a lot of running, I shot a lot of one-handed jumpers, just tried to do whatever I could so I could help the team when I came back.”

Dejean-Jones got his cast removed on Thursday morning and practiced later that day, albeit it in a limited role. Coach Dave rice eased him back into action, allowing him to run through drills but keeping him out of live scrimmages and 5-on-5 work where contact is inevitible. Dejean-Jones didn’t play in Saturday’s closed scrimmage against UCLA, but he’s expected to resume full-contact practice on Monday.

Back at full health, Dejean-Jones should bring a dynamic edge to the Rebels. His measurables scream “NBA,” and his skills have improved since his freshman year at USC. Dejean-Jones is a quality shooter with a high release, and his long strides help him run the floor in a flash. The one word that describes all aspects of his game is “smooth” — you can check out his electrifying performance at last year’s Scarlet & Grey Showcase here.

Dejean-Jones said he expects to play in Wednesday’s exhibition game against Dixie State, and that should be a good indication of how far along he is. Coach Dave Rice expects him to make a big impact this season, even if it takes some time to work him back into the rotation.

“Bryce will be terrific for us,” said Rice. “He’s a versatile player. On the offensive end, he can score in a variety of ways. He can score from the perimeter, we can post him up, he’s a good passer. He’s got all those offensive skills. We expect big things from him this year.”

For a team with a stacked frontcourt but some uncertainty in the backcourt, a big season from Dejean-Jones could propel the Rebels late into March.

But for now, he’s just happy to be back on the court for the start of the season.

“It’s been a long time for me, a long process,” said Dejean-Jones. “Everybody’s been working to get to this point, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Previous “Meet the Rebels” entries:
Khem Birch (Oct. 23)
Savon Goodman (Oct. 24)
Justin Hawkins (Oct. 26)
Katin Reinhardt (Oct. 29)
Anthony Marshall (Oct. 31)
Anthony Bennett (Nov. 9)

Follow Mike Grimala (@MikeGrimala) on Twitter for 24/7 Rebels updates.

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UNLV outgunned by UCLA in Saturday scrimmage

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Saturday's UNLV-UCLA scrimmage was closed to fans and media, and NCAA rules prohibit either team from talking specifics about the game. But information has been trickling out since shortly after the contest ended, and it's now clear that although the Rebels are immensely talented, they aren't yet a finished product. According to sources, UCLA pulled away in the second half for a fairly comfortable double-digit victory. And though UNLV's frontcourt has been touted as one of the nation's best, they had trouble controlling the inside against the Bruins.



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