Marvin Menzies start at UNLV may have gotten off on interesting grounds after first being passed over the head coaching job, in favor of Arkansas-Little Rock's Chris Beard, and then being hired after Beard relocated himself to Texas Tech. However, it's Menzies team now and the first step in putting his own touch on the UNLV program is to begin to add some pieces to currently the smallest roster in college basketball. He did that on Wednesday with the signing on JUCO forward Kris Clyburn, his first signee since being named the head coach of the Rebels.
Clyburn, a 6' 6" guard/wing combo player is coming off an impressive season at Ranger College, where he played for former Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie. Clyburn averaged 14.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this season, while also being named the North Texas Junior College Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year.
There was thought that Clyburn may have been headed elsewhere after visiting UTEP back on April 15th but at the end of the day, the swingman decided on the Rebels. Fellow Mountain West schools in Boise State and Utah State were also considered to be in the mix, as well at SMU. Clyburn will join UNLV with three years of eligibility remaining.
The news come as a blessing to Menzies and his program, who were put on edge today by a report from CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein that top recruit, Jaylen Fisher, was de-comitting from the Rebels and potentially following former UNLV assistant coach Ryan Miller to TCU. While Fisher quickly dismissed the rumors via a Twitter post, Rothstein has stood by his report.
BREAKING: 2016 PG Jaylen Fisher is expected to decommit from UNLV and plans to visit TCU this weekend, sources told @CBSSports.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 27, 2016
As of today I have not made any changes with my future college choice— Jaylen Fisher (@areal_hooper) April 27, 2016
It's unknown to what effect, if any, Clyburn's commitment will have on Fisher's decision to remain with the Rebels or if his college choice can have any impact on securing the additions of fellow 2016 recruits in Justin Jackson and Carlos Johnson.
Jackson, a four-star forward from Canada, has been mostly quiet about his commitment to UNLV after signing his Letter of Intent in the fall but he did comment on the situation to Scout's Evan Daniels, saying "I'm not too sure what I'm doing right now. I still have to discuss it with my family." Jackson has yet to re-open his recruiting.
As for Johnson, the 6' 4" guard from California, has publicly re-opened his recruiting and already has a host of visits scheduled. Johnson will check out Boise State in late April, as well as Oregon State and Washington in the first few weeks of May but he says the Rebels will remain on his radar throughout the process.
The ability for Menzies to retain some, if not all, of this once heralded 2016 recruiting group could be massive for a Rebels roster that is simply lacking quantity and quality at the moment. UNLV now has just four scholarship players currently on their roster in Clyburn, Jalen Poser, Dwayne Morgan and Tyrell Green. Morgan is the team's highest returning scorer from the 2015-2016 roster, having averaged 5.5 points in over 19 minutes of action per contest.