Klee: Rayvonte Rice commits to Illinois

Klee: Rayvonte Rice commits to Illinois

CHAMPAIGN - Rayvonte Rice is returning to his hometown.

Rice, the former Centennial star and the leading scorer in C-U boys basketball history, committed to Illinois this morning, he said today. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound guard is transferring after two seasons at Drake.

"With a new coach (at Illinois, John Groce) I just see it as a new opportunity. It's a fresh start for me," Rice said by phone from Des Moines. "And he recruited me at Ohio so I knew him."

Rice said he chose Illinois over Xavier. He was initially scheduled to visit Marquette this coming weekend but called coach Buzz Williams and canceled the visit. Memphis was also in the mix.

Rice would be eligible for the 2013-14 season after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

"I don't mind (sitting out one season)," he said. "I think it will give me a chance to get better and work on what I need to work on."

As a sophomore at Drake, he averaged 16.5 points and 5.7 rebounds and was the third-leading scorer in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Rice was named the 2010 News-Gazette State Player of the Year. He remains the leading scorer in Champaign-Urbana boys basketball history and averaged 23.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.9 steals as a senior at Centennial. He holds the school's single-season records for points (814) and the career records in scoring (1,810 points).

"I went to all the games (at Illinois) when I was younger," said Rice, who grew up in Champaign.

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illiniphil85 wrote on April 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Good get. Works out good, he won't be affected with Weberitis. 

Welcome Ravonte!

dave1956 wrote on April 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Welcome home. looking forward to seeing you and hopefully kendrick Nunn.

PeterE wrote on April 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Rayvonte Rice hit 24% from 3 point range. Sounds like another Brandon clone maybe. Maybe he can use his year off to practice his outside shot and take 400 a day for a year and a half before the 2013-14 season. Wonder how this will affect our chances with Kendrick Nunn and Sterling Brown with the 3 scholarships left in the 2013 class? Illinois still needs a BIG man first and foremost and still hoping it can land Jabari's services for a year so Nunn and Brown may be out of luck. Unless of course one of the existing players gets groced out (creaned). Good ILL targets left in 2013 include: Parker, Nunn, Hamilton, Schilling, Brown or wait for 2014 guys.

helping wrote on April 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm

The difference is that Rice only took 26% of his shots from 3-pt range and made 50.3% of his 2-pt FGs.  Conversely, Paul took 44% of his shots from 3-pt range and only made 43.8% of his 2-pt attempts.  Also, by going inside more, Rice had 37 more FT attempts and made 23 more from the line than Paul did.  Plus, he's a year younger.  It looks like they play a different style in that Rice isn't as perimeter oriented as Brandon has been so far.

Even after getting Rice, Illinois still has THREE scholarships open for the 2012-13 h.s. class assuming that Hill and James remain committed (two left open with Orris, Head and Leonard leaving, plus 3 seniors finishing).  Thus, I don't see why you think Nunn and Brown would be out of luck??

PeterE wrote on April 26, 2012 at 10:04 am

My point is/was that Rice is a poor 3pt shooter. That said, hopefully Ray can improve his shot dramatically in his 1 year forced sitting out.

Since Illinois already has at least 4 SG's/Wing types on projected roster in 2013 and their primary needs still are for Center which would take care of 1 of the scholarships and saving 1 scholarship for Jabari would leave one available for Nunn, Brown, Schilling, etc. Plus guys like Jahlil Okafor, Paul White, Cliff Alexander, Larry Austin, Johhnie Vassar, etc in 2014 class may be worth holding over and/or saving a scholarship for than use all of them up in 2013.

Roster: http://www.illinoisloyalty.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=567804&postcount=273

BigBadJohn wrote on April 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Speaking of 2013 and big men,  is Tommy Hamilton Jr. still on our radar after his injury?  I hope he doesn't have his daddy's weight problem.

fightingillini88 wrote on April 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm

We are not goiing to get Parker.  Everyone needs to accept that now before it becomes official to lessen the disappointment.

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm

seems like the Illini hired the wrong coach, then, if this is a done deal.

If you cannot land the biggest studs out of Chicagoland, you're an also ran program.

Cannot wait to watch Groce's chuck 3s and pray offense fail as spectacularly as Weber's offense did. Look at the actual usages and data. Groce's offense sucks.

jgrout wrote on April 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm

No one could get all the biggest studs out of Chicagoland without paying them.


notquiteELITE wrote on April 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm

You do realize that Jabari just won the gatorade national player of the year, right? so by that logic, any program that doesn't have a national player of the year is an also ran? 

CecilColeman wrote on April 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Since U of I is recovering from the Weber--Jerrance recruiting shortcomings, there is no point in getting all heated up over a "one and done" dude.  Let's get guys who are quality players and stay for 3-4 years.  And who don't have an entourage with their hands out.

helping wrote on April 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm

FWIW, it doesn't sound like Parker if an "entourage" guy.  His dad played several years in the NBA, so he's not a 1-parent, no money kid.  Thus, I doubt that his family necessarily has their hand out seeing Jabari as their lottery ticket like some bluechippers do.  That said, when you're the consensus #1 player in your class, every school has a well below 50% chance at him, whether you're Duke, Carolina, Kentucky or Illinois.  Illinois has an uphill battle to show Parker that it's the best place for his long term future, but that isn't to say it can't be done.


annabellissimo wrote on April 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm

DOubtingThOmas:  Why are you so consistently and persistently and frequently opposed to John Groce being the Illini men's basketball coach?  You never miss an opportunity to make a comment like the one you made - again - today; paraphrasing, "wrong coach.....can't wait until "he" fails....."  It is such an undermining thing to do and I wonder what you agenda is and what are you trying to do.  Other than members of the Church of Weber, most Illini basketball fans are very excited about the changes in the basketball prospects and the new coach - and, by the way, the new A.D., too, whom you also disparage at every opportunity.  Why so much anger/hate/spite/nastiness?  Who exactly benefits from your jabs?

helping wrote on April 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm

That's probably Bruce's sign-on, or his wife's.