UNLV basketball gets commitment from Texas transfer Royce Hamm


Steve Marcus

Cardboard cutouts take the place of fans during a UNLV Rebels game against the New Mexico Lobos at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021.

Sat, Apr 3, 2021 (11:18 a.m.)

Kevin Kruger continues to build his first team at UNLV, as the new head coach picked up his second commitment via the transfer portal on Saturday.

Royce Hamm, a grad transfer from Texas, will join UNLV for the 2021-22 season.

Hamm confirmed the news with a post on his Twitter account:

Hamm has something of a pedigree. The Houston native was a 4-star prospect in the Class of 2017, ranked No. 90 nationally by 247 Sports. The 6-foot-9 forward had trouble living up to that billing at Texas, however, as he posted 1.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in his four years with the Longhorns.

Hamm started seven games as a junior in 2019-20 and earned a career-high 12.3 minutes per contest. He put up 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds but made just 48.3 percent of his shots. This season as a senior he started one of 22 games and averaged 1.9 points and 2.5 rebounds as his playing time dropped to 8.8 minutes.

That lack of court time left Hamm openly frustrated.

Kruger has now added two transfers, and both share similar profiles. Like Hamm, former West Virginia point guard Jordan McCabe was a heralded recruit who didn’t live up to the hype in a power conference. McCabe has three years of Division I experience, while Hamm will add four years of experience to the UNLV roster.

Hamm should give UNLV a reliable defender in the frontcourt. He posted a defensive rating of 96.3 at Texas, including a 95.2 DRtg in 2020-21. His biggest issue has been finishing on offense; more than 83% of his attempts came around the rim this season, but despite his size he converted just 56.7% of those shots. For comparison, UNLV center Mbacke Diong made 68.5 percent of his close-range shots this season.

UNLV now has six players on the roster for next year: returning guards Nick Blake and Marvin Coleman, returning forwards Moses Wood and Reece Brown and the transfers, Hamm and McCabe. There are seven players in the transfer portal (David Jenkins, Caleb Grill, Devin Tillis, Edoardo Del Cadia, Donavan Yap, Isaac Lindsey and Jhaylon Martinez), and Bryce Hamilton will go through the NBA Draft process before deciding whether to go pro or return to college. Senior center Mbacke Diong could exercise his COVID-19 year and return for a fifth season at UNLV, but he has not announced his plans yet.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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