Former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson to play for Lithuanian pro team

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Reeves Nelson is turning pro.

The former UCLA forward, who was dismissed from the team last week, is expected to sign with a Lithuanian team, Zalgiris, as soon as this weekend.

“He’s ready to go,” his father, Brian, said Friday. “He has indicated to me, this is for the money now.”

Brian Nelson also said his son “100%” plans to make himself eligible for the next NBA draft and that he is done playing college basketball.


Brian Nelson declined to reveal the terms of the contract because he said the deal was not yet finalized. He said his son has not signed with an agent, but “he has someone working on his behalf.”

Brian said a few international teams were interested in Reeves. He chose Zalgiris and probably will leave to join the team the day after Christmas.

“I talked to a friend of mine, who’s an agent, and he said that’s one of the best teams, that it’s an outstanding team,” UCLA Coach Ben Howland said.

Nelson, a 6-foot-9 junior from Modesto, was UCLA’s leading scorer (13.9 points per game) and rebounder (9.1) last season and was featured on a Sports Illustrated cover this preseason.

But Howland twice suspended Nelson, a first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection last season, for behavior issues early this season before UCLA dismissed him Dec. 9.

Nelson averaged just 5.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in six games this season for UCLA (4-5), which faces UC Davis (1-8) on Saturday at Honda Center.


Gary Porter, Reeves Nelson’s coach at Modesto Christian, said he worked out with Reeves on Friday morning in Modesto.

“He just seemed grateful that he’s going to get a chance to do something, maybe make some changes in his life,” Porter said. “He seemed pretty excited about going over there, a place where maybe he can start over.”