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UNLV’s Derrick Jones Jr. declares for NBA Draft

As UNLV waits to find out if it finally will have a basketball coach, the Rebels keep watching their roster shrink. 

Freshman Derrick Jones Jr. became the latest to say he was leaving, announcing Thursday on Twitter he will declare for the NBA Draft. But Jones left open the possibility of returning to UNLV or another college program by noting he is not hiring an agent.

“I would like to thank the coaches and staff at UNLV who helped me become a better player and a better man on and off the court,” Jones wrote. “I am proud to be a member of the Runnin’ Rebel community and will always proudly represent the city of Las Vegas.”

Jones played in 30 games, starting 15, and averaged 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. He was declared ineligible by the NCAA after his ACT score was vacated in late February by the American College Test because of concerns with the Baltimore exam site.

The 6-foot-7-inch forward became the third Rebels player to declare for the draft. Patrick McCaw, a 6-7 sophomore guard, and 7-foot freshman forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. also announced they would turn pro.

Also, Jordan Cornish and Dwayne Morgan are shopping for other schools. Cornish told CBS Sports he is looking at California, Houston, Iowa State, Louisiana State and Washington. Morgan reportedly is considering Clemson, Maryland, St. John’s and Virginia Commonwealth.

These developments are hardly surprising, and expected new coach Chris Beard figured to have a rebuilding situation on his hands. That’s if he gets the job. The University of Nevada Board of Regents will vote on his contract Friday, and it could be a close call.

If he gets voted down, then what has happened to UNLV basketball will be nothing compared to what’s to come.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65

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