That’s when it became clear Bryce Dejean-Jones was, in fact, on the It might have been a second, or a millisecond, or a milli of a millisecond. Here, inside his bedroom, was as safe and friendly and convenient an environment as he knew. There was a banging at the front door of his apartment, unit No.Even were it the absolute slightest measure of time, that teacher had an opportunity to put the gun aside. Although he had only relocated to Dallas from the Midwest 11 months earlier, the teacher was just starting to feel comfortable instructing the local high-schoolers only a few years younger than him. 1345 on the third floor of the Camden Belmont apartment complex.It might have been a second, or a millisecond, or a milli of a millisecond. He would stomp his feet and clench his fists and fire off expletives with a machine-gun intensity: Off the basketball court, this rage showed itself when Bryce Dejean-Jones drank. But during his half-decade college basketball career—first at Southern Cal, then at UNLV, then a final season at Iowa State—Dejean-Jones was involved in a handful of altercations, unreported until now, some of which also involved alcohol.Even were it the absolute slightest measure of time, Bryce Dejean-Jones had an opportunity to turn around. “He was a good guy,” recalls a teammate who requested anonymity, “who should not have been drinking.”In the early morning hours of May 28, 2016, Dejean-Jones—fueled by alcohol, as well as marijuana, according to the toxicology report submitted by the coroner—found himself in a hallway at the Camden Belmont apartment complex in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood in Dallas.
Dejean-Jones averaged 19.2 points in nine games with Boise, and while many of his teammates found his competitiveness insufferable, he could not have cared less. “He was chasing it with everything he had.”That’s why, when Dell Demps, general manager of the Pelicans, called with a 10-day contract offer Jan. So after coming in off the bench for his first three games, Dejean-Jones moved into the starting lineup.
Seth Davis, calling the game for NBA TV, was apoplectic, saying, “You weren’t drafted because there are questions about your temperament…and then you act like a blockhead?!
”As the NBA season began, Dejean-Jones signed with the Boise Stampede of the NBA Development League and spent five miserable weeks hating every moment of it. “He called me, real calm,” says his mother, Fran Jones. But his dream was always the NBA, and now he was an NBA player.
He averaged 10.5 points and lit up Arkansas for 27 points in a Cyclones win Dec. Yet there’s a long history of the naively unrealistic regenerative powers of new schools and new coaches and new teams believing all a person needs is change. The charges were quickly dropped, and Dejean-Jones was cleared of any wrongdoing. But he felt like our program left him hanging out to dry, and he was probably right. And he expected perfection and dedication from everyone. It’s unfortunate, because his temper owned him sometimes.
Bryce was Bryce: Along with the passion and heart came the propensity for finding himself in bad situations. But Fred Hoiberg, the head coach, still suspended him from the upcoming game against archrival Iowa.“That was it for Bryce,” says Matt Abdelmassih, an Iowa State assistant coach. From that point on, things spiraled out of control.”Dejean-Jones arrived late to the next game, and Hoiberg permanently removed him from the starting lineup. And, deep down, he’s one of the best guys I ever coached.”People who knew Dejean-Jones well speak of his college time as lost opportunity. The outbursts, the anger, the frustration—it was never anything personal.He simply did not want to be a college basketball player and felt constrained and uncomfortable in the amateur surroundings.“He wasn’t made for college,” says Tyrell Jamerson, a former UNLV point guard who worked as Bryce’s private coach. You don’t have isolation in college, you’re not breaking defenders down in college. He was always a pro waiting to go pro.”Because of all the incidents, and the reputation as a hothead, and the so-so statistical line (Bryce averaged 10.8 points and 2.3 assists in 117 total collegiate games), Dejean-Jones was bypassed in the 2015 NBA draft.