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Fresno State transfer Kevin Olekaibe to walk-on at UNLV, apply for hardship waiver

Jun 11, 2013, 11:45 AM EDT

Kevin Olekaibe, Anthony Drm

One of the reasons that Katin Reinhardt made the decision to transfer out of UNLV last month was that head coach Dave Rice was going to be playing him primarily off the ball if he returned.

That’s what happens when the Rebels have four other options at the point guard spot.

They may have added another one, however, as Fresno State transfer Kevin Olekaibe has enrolled at the school and started taking classes, according to a report from the Las Vegas Sun. Olekaibe, a native of Las Vegas, made it quite obvious that was true when he tweeted that he’s “back in my city” last night.

Olekaibe struggled as a junior, seeing his production drop from 17.3 points as a sophomore to just 8.3 points as a junior, by far the lowest of his career, but he did average 17.0 points as the Bulldogs knocked off UNLV twice this past season, handing out eight assists in the win on March 9th.

Olekaibe joins a deep back court that includes JuCo transfers Jelan Kendrick (Memphis and Ole Miss), DeVille Smith (Mississippi State), sophomore DaQuan Cook and freshman Kendall Smith. But playing time isn’t as important to Olekaibe as being in Vegas; he’s even willing to walk-on next season. He wants to be closer to his father, who has been moved to hospice care and is paralyzed from the waist down. From the Las Vegas Sun:

Olekaibe left Fresno State after three seasons in April because his ailing father was transferred to a Las Vegas hospice. His father is paralyzed from the waist down and unable to speak — the result of two strokes.

“I don’t remember the last words he said to me,” Olekaibe said. “His left side in unresponsive. He doesn’t speak. He always told me family comes first, so coming home was an easy decision.”

The Mountain West has a rule that requires in-conference transfers to sit out two seasons, and since Fresno State is now a member of the MWC, if Olekaibe doesn’t get a waiver from the NCAA, his college career will be over.

If the NCAA was ever going to grant a hardship waiver, this would be the situation. Let’s hope they do the right thing.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.