The Night That Cost Bryce Dejean-Jones His NBA Dream – And His Life

Jeff Pearlman of Bleacher Report has this excellent, but tragic story of the death of former UNLV Rebel Bryce Dejean-Jones. Well worth the read, especially for those of us who knew him.

It might have been a second, or a millisecond, or a milli of a millisecond.

Even were it the absolute slightest measure of time, Bryce Dejean-Jones had an opportunity to turn around.

To take a deep breath.

To pace the hallway.

To gather himself.

Wasn’t that exactly what Alvin Gentry, his coach with the New Orleans Pelicans, had told the 6’6” rookie shooting guard just a few weeks earlier? Bryce, you need to be able to walk away. Wasn’t that what Dave Rice, his coach at UNLV, had said on multiple occasions? Bryce, you have to calm down. Wasn’t that what Brian Beard, his AAU coach with the Compton Magic, had made so clear? Control yourself, Bryce. Control your emotions.

Control yourself, Bryce.

Basketball coaches liked Bryce Dejean-Jones. Pretty much everyone liked Bryce Dejean-Jones, most of the time. What with his goofy laugh, what with his devotion to signing autographs, what with his cravings for Chipotle burritos and pineapple-topped pizza, what with his talent for chess and his obsession with Xbox.

“He was a really good kid,” says Justin Hawkins, his teammate in high school and then at UNLV. “He was funny. He had sarcasm to him. If he trusted you, he could open up and really let himself go.”


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33 years covering sports, news and entertainment in Las Vegas.