Storyline: Bryce Dejean-Jones Death

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“I really liked his game,” Gentry says. “He was very tough, very athletic. He could guard different positions, and he was extremely hungry. When someone has that level of talent, but he doesn’t see failing in the NBA as an option, you have something unique.” Dejean-Jones averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds before his season ended with a fractured right wrist. Yet he was, at long last, an NBA player. “I think he really grew with us,” Gentry says. “The difficult phase had passed, and he attained his goal. I think he realized he needed to change his ways to stay in the league. He was smart enough to do that.”

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People familiar with Bryce and Chrystal’s difficult relationship insist they discouraged the trip. Shabazz Muhammad, the Minnesota Timberwolves forward who trained under Jamerson with Dejean-Jones in the offseason, says he urged his friend to skip Dallas and take a trek with him to Las Vegas. “He worked so hard, I wanted him to come along, have fun, relax,” Muhammad recalls. “But he wasn’t changing his plans.” Jamerson, meanwhile, hated the idea of Dejean-Jones going to Dallas. “He’d never been there; he didn’t know the city,” Jamerson says. “I was worried, and I told him I’d fly his girlfriend and daughter out to California for him. He didn’t want that, but I should have insisted. I really should have. It’s my greatest regret.”

No charges were filed against the teacher. Under Texas law, a person is allowed to use deadly force to defend themselves in their home. It also says a person using force cannot provoke an attacker or be involved in criminal activity at the time. The teacher agreed to talk about the shooting publicly for the first time to B/R Mag because, he says, too much misinformation has been making the rounds on social media. There were rumors that Dejean-Jones was robbing the apartment; rumors that the teacher fired for no reason. “I believe the family deserves to at least know what really happened,” he says. “They deserve an opportunity to hear the story.”

The New Orleans Pelicans honored the memory of Bryce Dejean-Jones in summer league by having their players wear a ‘BDJ’ patch on the left side of their uniforms. On Friday, Dejean-Jones’ mother, Franchesca, came to the Las Vegas to watch the Pelicans play their final Samsung NBA Summer League game against the NBA Development League team at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. Dejean-Jones died from a gunshot wound on May 28 while visiting his girlfriend in Dallas.

The last time Jameel McKay talked to Bryce Dejean-Jones, the two former Iowa State teammates discussed their dream scenario of reuniting in the NBA as members of the New Orleans Pelicans. Six weeks later, McKay has joined the Pelicans and is part of their summer league team, but his friend is gone. Dejean-Jones died May 28 in Dallas, while visiting the city to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday. McKay and his New Orleans summer teammates are honoring the memory of Dejean-Jones, who was 23 years old, by wearing a “BDJ” patch on the left chest of their uniforms. The Pelicans play their first game tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers (9:30 Central) on ESPN. “I talked to Bryce two days before the incident,” McKay said of a late-May phone call. “I was hoping I’d play for the Pelicans in summer league (if McKay went undrafted), because I knew they were interested in me, so we were talking about being teammates again. “When I heard about what happened, it was just shocking. Everyone called me for confirmation, but I couldn’t give it. I didn’t know.”

This was the first time Dejean-Jones visited her new apartment, Nichols said. Later that night Dejean-Jones came back to the apartment complex but went to the wrong unit on the third floor, just below his girlfriend’s fourth-floor apartment, Nichols said. Police had no immediate response to Nichols’ comments. “There is no information that suggests the deceased Bryce Dejean-Jones knew the apartment resident, or was armed as he entered the apartment,” Black said.

Dejean-Jones’ coach at Iowa State, Fred Hoiberg said he was “deeply saddened to learn the tragic news about Bryce.” “I’m grateful that our paths crossed in this life. Bryce was a passionate and talented player that lived out his dream of playing in the NBA through hard work and perseverance. It’s an incredibly sad day for me and all of Iowa State University. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce’s family,” Hoiberg, the Chicago Bulls head coach said in a news release.

Marc J. Spears: NBPA statement on passing of Bryce Dejean-Jones. NBPA STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF BRYCE DEJEAN-JONES: National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts released the following statement on the passing of New Orleans Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones: “The National Basketball Players Association and its entire membership mourn the loss of Bryce Dejean-Jones. Bryce’s dedication and hard work on his journey to the NBA will forever serve as an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bryce’s family, friends, his teammates, the entire New Orleans Pelican organization and his fans throughout the world during this difficult time.” https://t.co/VnISXroYBz

“Bryce was such an incredible person to represent as a client, and I just want to stress that everyone give the family courtesy during this time,” Dejean-Jones’ agent, Scott Nichols, told The Vertical. “Bryce was turning the corner in his life and in his career. He was an undrafted player, someone who had so much turmoil throughout his life. Now, he had a contract with the Pelicans and was rehabbing well with his broken wrist. He had come such a long way and we were all proud of him.”
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September 25, 2017 | 4:38 pm EDT Update