Rebels basketball:

Rutgers guard commits to UNLV, adding another transfer to the mix

Image

Associated Press

Rutgers guard Jerome Seagears, left, shoots in front of SMU guard Ryan Manuel, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, in Piscataway, N.J. SMU won 77-65.

Updated Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | 1:28 p.m.

Rutgers transfer Jerome Seagears is the newest Rebel, he told the Sun today.

Seagears, a 6-foot-1 guard, was in town for an official visit and made his decision known just before taking off on his flight back home to Maryland. Seagears has one year of eligibility remaining and the Rebels expect him to be eligible immediately, even though he’s a year removed from a scandal involving former Rutgers coach Mike Rice.

If Seagears' request for a hardship waiver is denied, he would be able to redshirt a season and then play for UNLV in 2015-16.

Seagears is leaving Rutgers for another institution for the second time in the last calendar year. After the Rice incident — the Rutgers’ coach was fired in April 2013 after ESPN aired footage of him physically and verbally abusing his players — Seagears left for Auburn. However, he stayed at Auburn only a few weeks and enrolled again at Rutgers for his junior season. Since he never suited up for the Tigers, Seagears was allowed to play without sitting out.

“Jerome came to me and expressed that he hadn’t truly recovered emotionally from his time at Rutgers,” then-Auburn coach Tony Barbee said in a statement. “It is important to him that he continues his academic and athletic career closer to home where he can be near his immediate family and get the support system that he needs.”

A year later, Seagears is heading across the country. The connection to UNLV started with that brief stop at Auburn, where current Rebels assistant Ryan Miller was on staff.

Seagears’ situation is far more unique than most transfers. After finishing this season, Seagears and former Rutgers teammate Robert Lumpkins filed a civil lawsuit against the university, former administrators, Rice and even current coach Eddie Jordan.

The players’ lawyer said Jordan punished Seagears for seeking legal counsel by “drastically reducing his minutes, removing him from practice on several occasions without cause, and removing him from the team without cause.”

As a junior, Seagears averaged 7.1 points, 3.2 assists and 2 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game. He also shot 40 percent behind the 3-point line, which was one of UNLV’s biggest issues last season.

While he’s primarily a point guard, Seagears will play both guard positions at UNLV. He joins incoming transfers Cody Doolin (San Francisco) and Ben Carter (Oregon) in the Rebels’ current seven-player class. Doolin is expected to be eligible immediately while Carter must sit out a season.

Following Demetris Morant’s transfer out on Monday, Seagears puts UNLV at its scholarship limit for now, but more moves are expected this week. Class of 2014 member Jordan Cornish, a 6-foot-6 point guard from New Orleans, is scheduled to make an official visit this weekend and, according to Cornish, the coaching staff has told him that there will be room for him on the roster.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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