Lawrence dismissed by Rebels

Sophomore guard Marcus Lawrence was absent when the UNLV basketball team reported for practice Monday morning. But this time it was not a surprise, and Lawrence will not be returning.

Lawrence, 20, was dismissed from the team Monday, three days after he was charged with driving under the influence.

Rebels coach Lon Kruger called the situation "extremely disappointing," but said Lawrence had run out of second chances after a series of disciplinary issues.

"This is the third or fourth incident — not anything to this severity, obviously, with the DUI — but this is the third or fourth time we’ve had discussions, and Marcus wasn’t surprised by the result," Kruger said.

Lawrence was arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a one-vehicle accident Friday in Las Vegas. His arrest came about 7:30 a.m., three hours before UNLV’s practice.

He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center and suspended from the team. Lawrence missed Saturday’s game at Brigham Young, which the Rebels lost, 74-48.

Lawrence and his mother, Carmen, met Monday with Kruger.

"The players understood that Marcus had three or four opportunities, and still didn’t take advantage of it," Kruger said. "There’s a point here where it does hurt our team a little bit."

Lawrence, a Bishop Gorman High School graduate, can remain on scholarship and he plans to finish the semester, according to Kruger.

Lawrence could not be reached for comment.

A backup point guard, he played in 23 games this season and averaged 1.4 points and 2.3 assists per game. As a freshman he played in all 37 games, starting seven.

Junior guard Wink Adams, who shared a dormitory room with Lawrence on the UNLV campus, said members of the team attempted for months to lend advice to Lawrence.

"I tried to talk to him a couple times," Adams said. "Marcus is my roommate, but he kind of had his own group of guys he hangs with, some guys he kind of already knew from Vegas. He probably was just easily influenced. I don’t know what the case is. He just made bad decisions, and it’s some decisions he’s got to live with now.

"Off the court, you never see him around. He’s with his own group of people while we were over here, so you never know what he was doing. Just finding out this way is pretty tough."

Lawrence was suspended in November, and sat out the Rebels’ exhibition game and regular-season opener, for academic reasons related to missing classes.

"We tried to show some guidance from the first time he got in trouble with his grades," senior guard Curtis Terry said. "We were trying to get him to follow along and do the things he needs to do. He had multiple chances.

"We’re in a position where we’re seen by the public and in the public eye all the time, so we’ve got to be extra cautious and be smart. We’re representing ourselves, our family, the coaches, the university and also the community."

Lawrence could have the option to transfer to another school this summer.

"We know he’ll get back on track, finish out school and he’ll go play somewhere else because he’s a good player and good kid," Terry said. "We hope the best for him."

After their most recent meeting, Kruger said Lawrence understood "there was no more margin" for error.

"When you’re absolutely aware of what the consequences are going to be, and still to make a choice to do that, it’s very disappointing," Kruger said. "Again, they’re still college kids and they’re going to make some mistakes along the way occasionally. But you still hope they consider the consequences of their actions.

"It’s not like Marcus doesn’t deserve another opportunity. Hopefully, he gets one. We’ll do whatever we can to help."

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2907.

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