UK reached out to the former coach of Bryce Dejean-Jones on Monday to inquire about the talented shooting guard’s future. Dejean-Jones is on pace to graduate from UNLV this spring and then plans to transfer to another school for his senior season.
His next college team will be the third of his career, and Dejean-Jones has had multiple run-ins with teammates and coaches at his two previous stops.
The highly touted recruit arrived at Southern Cal in 2010 and started 10 games before leaving the program in the middle of the season. He said at the time that he was leaving due to a lack of playing time — his minutes decreased as the season went on — but the Los Angeles Times reported that he was in danger of being dismissed from the team if he hadn’t left on his own.
Sources told the newspaper that Dejean-Jones struck a teammate in a locker room altercation early in the season, fracturing the teammate’s nose. He was also involved in a verbal altercation with a resident adviser at the school.
Dejean-Jones later acknowledged in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun that both events happened, but he said the versions that ended up in the media were blown out of proportion.
He told the Sun that he was looking for a fresh start at UNLV.
Dejean-Jones has played well for the Runnin’ Rebels, but he encountered more discipline problems this season, when he was the team’s leading scorer.
The 6-foot-5 guard was suspended for the regular-season finale after a confrontation on the bench toward the end of the previous game, which was UNLV’s final home contest of the season. Dejean-Jones also left the arena soon after that game, only to return later to talk with his coaches.
He came back from the one-game suspension and played in both of UNLV’s games in the Mountain West Tournament. But he reportedly was involved in a physical altercation with teammate Jelan Kendrick following their season-ending loss in the tournament. UNLV Coach Dave Rice told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that there was no physical altercation, but there was a verbal altercation between the two players.
Rice called Dejean-Jones’ departure from the team a “mutual” decision.
CBS analyst Doug Gottlieb told the Review-Journal that he overheard the locker room confrontation between Dejean-Jones and Kendrick.
“I was back in the bowels in the arena, and I heard some of the shouting and some of the shenanigans going on in the locker room,” Gottlieb, who called multiple UNLV games this season, told the newspaper. “I think Bryce was toxic. He was really hard to play with, but he needs a really strong personality as a coach, and Dave has to show that.”
Dejean-Jones’ former coach — Etop Udo-Ema — told the Herald-Leader on Tuesday that the player will look over all of his options before he decides where to go next.