Poyser didn’t make any noise during the long coaching search and never asked UNLV for his release, even as most of his teammates were streaming out the door. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t considering it. The source said Poyser was “distraught” when Chris Beard left, and that several schools tried to make a run at Poyser during that period of uncertainty. There were attractive pitches from programs ranging from the Pac-12 to the SEC and ACC, but Poyser was willing to let the process play out at UNLV and keep an open mind regarding whoever ended up with the job.
Now, after meeting with Menzies and working out with his staff for the past couple weeks, it looks like Poyser is ready to stick around. Poyser was not made available for comment, but the source said Poyser and the new coach have gotten along well and that he believes he will be a good fit in Menzies’ system. According to the source, Menzies will meet face-to-face with Poyser’s father, Mark, sometime soon in order to “seal the deal.” Mark Poyser is an influential AAU coach with CIA Bounce, a high-profile Canadian program that has sent several players to UNLV in recent years. The source said Menzies has already reached out to him on the phone and that an in-person handshake should be good enough to win over Mark and keep Jalen at UNLV.
That’s certainly good news for the Rebels, as Poyser showed tremendous potential last season as a freshman. He particularly flashed on the offensive end, displaying a knack for getting to the rim as well as a streaky 3-point shot that should become more consistent over time. Poyser averaged 5.4 points and 1.1 assists in 16.2 minutes per game while making 35.6 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Poyser, like most of the players, was dismayed when Dave Rice was fired in January but held out hope that one of Rice’s assistants would get the permanent job. When that didn’t happen, Poyser agreed to give Beard a chance and found that he liked what Beard had to say. But after telling the players he wasn’t going anywhere, Beard immediately reneged and took the Texas Tech job after one week. That was the point when Poyser most wanted out, according to the source, but he decided to give UNLV another chance with the hiring of Menzies.
Keeping Poyser is an important development for the Rebels, as he’ll likely be a starter or heavy rotation player next year. He gives UNLV some much needed continuity in the backcourt, and given his talent and potential fit in Menzies’ system, he could break out next year and flourish as a lead guard.