The 2012 recruiting class may go down as one of UNLV's all-time best, but the newcomer that may have the biggest impact of all next Fall isn't even on that list.
After transferring from USC and sitting out all last season, Bryce Jones appears ready to fill the Runnin' Rebels need of a high octane scorer from the perimeter.
If Thursday night's appearance at the Desert Reign Pro-City Summer League at Durango High School is an indicator, UNLV fans are in for a treat every time Jones steps on the floor.
Matching up with a foe that is quite familiar to Rebel fans, Jones went heads up against former San Diego State star, Billy White, and not only held his own, but gave White fits on both ends of the floor. Playing alongside former Rebels Romel Beck and Marcus Lawrence, Jones had a team-high 29 points against White, who gave nearly every UNLV offensive player fits with his length during his time with the Aztecs.
It was a treat and surprise for UNLV fans to get to witness Jones play in this event. Earlier in the week, Jones had posted on his Twitter account that he would not be a part of Desert Reign.
With a rule in place saying that collegiate players can only compete in one of these types of events during the Summer months, it was assumed that Jones would head home to the Los Angeles area and be a part of a more established league.
Any questions about where Jones' loyalty lies were answered when he decided to stay in Las Vegas and lace up his sneakers alongside his teammates in front of the Rebel faithful.
Jones said, "My teammates were playing in (Desert Reign) so I decided it would be best if I played in it, too. It's a team thing so we all come down here and support the league."
That's a pretty big deal because Jones could've easily chosen the more competitive LA settings to test himself in the month of June. Looking out for the team's best interest is rather telling.
With all the big names that are heading into the UNLV program this year, it's easy for Jones' name to get lost in the shuffle. Of course, that has everything to do with when he committed and not dynamics of his skill set.
The last name is always the newest and hottest one that sticks in fans' minds. Jones picked the Rebels way back in May of 2011, becoming what has become the first of many huge pick-ups by UNLV head coach Dave Rice. That signing set the stage for what has transpired over the last year.
Jones said that although he isn't talked about much whenever the media mentions the Rebels, he isn't worried much about it. He'll let his play do all the talking.
"It was the choice I knew coming into this," Jones noted. "I thought I made a great decision (choosing UNLV). I'm just looking to bring my name out this year."
If his name isn't out there already, it will be soon. Jones is solid from beyond the perimeter, has a terrific mid-range fadeaway and has a knack for getting to the paint and creating contact from his defender.
Jones said after his game that he wants Rebel fans to know that his team is working hard to create the best season they could possibly have.
"We have a lot of weapons. Everyone on this team is a great player," Jones said.
"We are working on trying to get better at all times. Every day we are at the gym. We go two, three times a day. Everyone is getting better. We just need to come out and have a great year."
As always, actions speak louder than words. Apparently, Jones knows this. Word has it he was headed straight to the Mendenall Center to get some work in after his game.
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