October 23, 2018 Currently: 65° | Complete forecast

UNLV basketball:

Grad transfer joins Rebels, eligible immediately

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Associated Press

St. John’s Christian Jones (2) dunks the ball as Villanova’s Kris Jenkins (2), Jalen Brunson (1) and Phil Booth (5) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in New York.

The Rebels have added more experience and their roster is nearly complete as this morning UNLV announced that St. John’s transfer Christian Jones has signed a financial aid agreement.

Jones, listed at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, is a graduate transfer and will be eligible immediately as a senior. Last season at St. John’s, he appeared in every game, making 19 starts, and averaged 8.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game.

“We are very pleased and excited to announce the addition of Christian to the program,” UNLV coach Marvin Menzies said in a statement. “He is another significant addition to our roster for this season, and brings us immediate experience, toughness and leadership. We had instant chemistry from our first conversation on the phone and I am confident that his short journey as a Runnin’ Rebel will be very productive.”

Originally, Jones left St. John’s with the intention of turning pro.

“It has always been a goal of mine to play professional basketball so I plan to explore all of my opportunities,” Jones told the team’s website in April. “I am going to work hard over the next month to position myself for the best available option, but I do not intend to sign with an agent.”

Instead of continuing down that path, Jones, who was on campus last weekend, decided to take advantage of the grad transfer rule and use his final season of eligibility. He’s the fourth new transfer on the 2016-17 roster and the third who will be able to play immediately.

Jones has something in common with one of UNLV’s incoming freshman. Before attending St. John’s, he spent a postgraduate year at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., which is where 6-foot-10 freshman Djordjije Slijivancanin played last year.

At St. John’s, Jones spent three seasons with Chris Obekpa, who transferred to UNLV last year but never officially played for the Rebels because he was a redshirt and decided to turn pro at the end of the 2015-16 season.

UNLV has one open scholarship remaining.

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

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