Pelicans forward Bryce Dejean-Jones dead at 23

New Orleans Pelicans forward Bryce Dejean-Jones died early Saturday morning in Dallas from injuries sustained from an apparent gun-shot wound.

Dejean-Jones, 23, was a promising rookie who went undrafted in 2015 and played 14 games for the Pelicans last season.

Bryce Dejean-Jones (NBAE/Getty Images)
Bryce Dejean-Jones (NBAE/Getty Images)

“It is with deep sadness that the Pelicans organization acknowledges the sudden passing of Bryce Dejean-Jones,” the team said in a statement. “We are devastated at the loss of this young man’s life who had such a promising future ahead of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce’s family during this difficult time.”

According to the Dallas Police Department, police responded to a shooting at an apartment and found Dejean-Jones collapsed in the apartment breezeway. Dejean-Jones allegedly kicked in the front door of the apartment and entered, the resident told police. The resident called out to Dejean-Jones from the bedroom but received no answer, according to the report. Dejean-Jones then allegedly kicked in the bedroom and the resident fired his gun.

Dejean-Jones was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.

“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.”

Dejean-Jones was born on Aug. 21, 1992, and attended William Howard Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Calif.

He attended USC, UNLV and Iowa State in four college seasons, a tumultuous run in which NBA executives maintained an eye on him despite his off-court issues.

As a senior at Iowa State, Dejean-Jones faced a misdemeanor charge for possession of marijuana that was eventually dropped.

“I recognize that damage was done to my image,” Dejean-Jones said April 2015 before the draft. “I fully own up to my mistakes, but a mistake was made by law enforcement for charging me with something other than a noise complaint. I’m a few units away from a master’s degree with above a 3.7 [grade point average]. Some people seem to get this impression that I am some type of unruly person.

“I have no criminal record. Nothing.

“Life is a learning experience full of ups and downs that we can learn and grow from and get better. Or we can let them defeat us. I played for great coaches, some very talented teams and top-notch universities. Along the way, there were challenges and I made some mistakes. I own up to them. They’re stepping stones to help me grow and mature.”

Dejean-Jones began to realize his NBA potential this season, signing a three-year contract with the Pelicans in February. He was released out of training camp in October, but returned to the Pelicans on a 10-day contract in January and emerged as a starter.

For the season, Dejean-Jones averaged 5.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 19.9 minutes. He underwent season-ending wrist surgery on Feb. 26.