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UNLV freshman forward is cleared by NCAA

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Steve Marcus

UNLV basketball players Jaylan Ballou, left, (22) and Cheickna Dembele (11) practice at Mendenhall Center on the UNLV campus Monday, August 1, 2016. The Rebels are practicing in preparation for a tournament later this month in the Bahamas.

Rebels forward Cheickna Dembele has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse and is eligible immediately, UNLV confirmed this afternoon. The 6-foot-11, 235-pound freshman is originally from Mali, Africa, and most recently played at Scotland Performance Institute in Pennsylvania.

First-year coach Marvin Menzies said last week at UNLV’s first official practice that all of Dembele’s transcripts were recently submitted and the Rebels expected a quick resolution. That proved to be the case, though UNLV must now wait for Dembele to get healthy before getting on the practice court.

Dembele is recovering from a foot injury, and Menzies said it would be a few weeks before the big man might be ready to go. He’s expected to be a major contributor this season in UNLV’s frontcourt, which has only four players listed at 6-8 or taller.

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

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