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Rebels basketball:

UNLV junior Roscoe Smith will redshirt this season after his waiver was denied

Smith will compete as a junior in 2013-14, leaving room in the rotation this season for freshman forward Savon Goodman

UNLV practice

Sam Morris

UNLV transfer Roscoe Smith, left, and Khem Birch sit on the sidelines during their open practice Saturday, August 4, 2012.

Junior transfer Roscoe Smith will redshirt this season after his legislative relief waiver request was denied by the NCAA, it was announced Friday.

Smith, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward who won a national championship at UConn in 2011, left that program after the Huskies were banned from postseason play this year because of a low Academic Progress Rate (APR) score. Because of those circumstances, student-athletes who wished to leave could submit a waiver in order to be exempt from the standard year on the bench that’s required when a player transfers during their undergraduate years.

Smith and UNLV completed that waiver, but it was denied. The only UConn player who left and was granted immediate eligibility was Alex Oriakhi, who had just one year left and will play his senior season this year at Missouri.

“We are disappointed for Roscoe and our team, but we understand and accept the decision,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said in a statement. “Roscoe brings tremendous experience from being a big part of a national championship team at UConn, and he is now a highly valued member of our program.”

When discussing the waiting game he was playing before the team’s recent trip to Canada, Smith said he wasn’t at all antsy about the impending decision and would accept whatever happened. Smith will practice with the Rebels this season and be eligible to compete as a redshirt junior in 2013-14.

Without Smith in the rotation, there’s more room for a guy like Savon Goodman, who was the most impressive freshman over the four exhibition games in Ottawa and Montreal. Goodman, a 6-6, 210-pound forward, was very aggressive in the paint and, after a rough first game, showed an ability to continue to learn from his mistakes and improve within the flow of the offense.

As a sophomore at UConn, Smith averaged 4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in just more than 18 minutes per game. As a freshman, he started in the national championship game against Butler, tying a career high with four blocks.

The move sets UNLV up well in the coming years. The Rebels are treating this as junior forward Mike Moser’s senior year — he’s all but guaranteed to leave for the NBA draft in June — and Smith could slide into that vacated spot with two years of eligibility remaining.

“(Smith) will have a great career here at UNLV and has already become a terrific leader for us,” Rice said.

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

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