April 18, 2016 - 3:38 am
The spring signing period began Wednesday, so this is a sensitive time for new UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies as he tries to build his program while at the same time catching up to his competitors.
Part of the effort is recruiting his new Rebels roster, and there were some positive signs over the weekend.
Sources said Dwayne Morgan and Jalen Poyser were leaning more toward staying at UNLV, but nothing would be decided until they meet with Menzies on Monday. Menzies is not being made available to the media until the University of Nevada Board of Regents debate his contract and make the hire official.
Morgan, a 6-foot 8-inch forward who will be a junior, made it known after the season he planned to transfer, but he never chose a school. Morgan averaged 5.5 points and 4.7 rebounds this season, which for him ended with a separated right shoulder on Feb. 20.
Poyser, a 6-4 guard who will be a sophomore, averaged 5.4 points as one of the key members off the bench. Depending on what happens in recruiting, he could be a starter next season.
Another player who could return is 6-9 forward Ben Carter, who will be a senior. He has graduated and can transfer and play immediately, but is torn about whether to stay or go. Getting him back would be crucial for the Rebels. Carter, who averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds, was considered a glue for the team. His season ended Jan. 30 when he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament.
UNLV officials were working Sunday to properly structure Menzies’ five-year contract that could go before the regents on Friday. They hoped to submit the deal to the system office by midday Monday so that it could be vetted in time and posted online to abide by the state’s three-day open-meetings law.
The total package is similar to what Chris Beard was to have received before he left Friday for Texas Tech, but Menzies will receive lower guaranteed money and more incentives, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations. Beard was to have received at least $900,000 in guaranteed money next season, with the minimum rising to as much as $1.4 million by his fourth year.
The process of submitting the contract, having it vetted by the system office, posting it online and holding the meeting for the regents to debate the deal took 11 days under Beard. Sources said they expected a much quicker process this time because the contract is being structured in a way that better fits the template the regents prefer.
An athletic department source said the school does not have to pay a $200,000 buyout to Arkansas-Little Rock for Beard’s contract.
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