Smith foregoes senior season, declares for NBA Draft 

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Runnin’ Rebels forward Roscoe Smith announced on Friday that he will forego his senior season at UNLV and enter the NBA Draft.

In his one season for the Runnin’ Rebels, Smith was the starting power forward in 2013-14 and averaged 11.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in 31 games this year.

“I had a great experience at UNLV and really enjoyed playing for Coach Rice and his staff,” Smith said in a statement. “I am ready to take the next step in my career, but I love UNLV and will always be a Runnin’ Rebel. I am planning to finish my classes this semester in addition to preparing for the draft.”

Smith was one of the leading rebounders in the country and was in the top-10 for the majority of the season in double-doubles with 16.

Runnin’ Rebels forward Roscoe Smith dribbles the ball during a game against Tennessee-Martin earlier this season. DANIEL WARD/THE REBEL YELL

Runnin’ Rebels forward Roscoe Smith dribbles the ball during a game against Tennessee-Martin earlier this season. DANIEL WARD/THE REBEL YELL

The possibility of Smith leaving UNLV wasn’t farfetched. With the flux of new recruits coming to the Runnin’ Rebels next season — along with the potential of soon-to-be sophomore Christian Wood — the chances of Smith starting were diminishing.

Smith is declaring for the draft as an undersized power forward at 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds. He doesn’t possess quick footwork to play small forward, and would be too small to match up against bigger post players.Smith did not have the option to do a grad transfer, due to him being far away from graduating.

No mock drafts have Smith getting drafted, so his basketball career could lead him to play professionally overseas or a stint in the NBA Developmental League.

“Roscoe is such a hard worker and good player,” said head coach Dave Rice in a statement. “We were fortunate to be able to see his work ethic first-hand these last two years. He was one of the best rebounders in the country and provided great energy and leadership. We appreciate all of his contributions to our program and wish him the best.”

Smith transferred from Connecticut after the 2011-12 season, where he started as a freshman on the Huskies’ national championship team. Two years later, UConn finds itself back in the championship game playing Kentucky on Monday.

Now, instead of getting the chance to play for a second national title, Smith becomes the third member of the UNLV program to leave in as many weeks — joining former associate head coach Heath Schroyer and guard Bryce Dejean-Jones.

Schroyer took the head coaching position at Tennessee-Martin, while Dejean-Jones will graduate this spring and play his final year of eligibility elsewhere next season.

Two other juniors — forwards Khem Birch and Jelan Kendrick — still have to determine their futures. Like Dejean-Jones, Kendrick graduates this spring and could play elsewhere next year. Birch is projected to be a high second-round pick in the NBA Draft.

Sources have told The Rebel Yell that nothing imminent has changed regarding Birch, and that he would like to return next year for his senior season to play with the three incoming freshmen — Rashad Vaughn, Dwayne Morgan and Goodluck Okonoboh.

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