Wartooth's Big Board - Rodney Rice

From Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, and Adrian Dantley to Kevin Durant, Victor Oladipo, and Markelle Fultz, the metropolitan DC area consistently produces NBA greats. Naturally, the competition among high school and prep programs in the DMV is some of the best in the country. Already a prioritized recruiting area, Mike Young and his staff are working hard to earn the pledge of one of the DMV's next NBA players.

But first, a story.

The Indiana Hoosiers produced some of the most dominant teams of the 1970s through the 90s, making the Tournament 27 times over a 30-year stretch (1973-2003). In 1988, under head coach Bobby Knight, 1 year removed from their 5th NCAA Tournament championship and starting 3 future NBA players, Indiana earned a 4-seed in the '88 dance. Their opponent was 13-seed Richmond who earned their place by winning tight games down the stretch en route to a CAA championship. In the final minute, clinging to a 1-point lead, Indiana could not stop Richmond's #24 who pulled up from 18 feet out and made the shot that put the Spiders up for good, cementing his place in one of the greatest moments in Richmond and Virginia sports history.

Fast-forward to 2020. DeMatha head coach and DMV legend Mike Jones was tasked with a tall order: he'd just won yet another WCAC title and COY award, but his team was losing stars Earl Timberlake, Jr. and Hunter Dickinson to graduation. He needed a playmaker. He needed a floor general. Lucky for him, he was about to get both in one player. Number 24- the man who took down Bobby Knight in 1988 - had a son, and his son was hooping just on the other side of the Beltway. Class of 2022 guard Rodney Rice, Jr. was averaging 23 points and 5 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Bullis School in Potomac. A world-beating competitor like his father, Rodney, Sr., Rice transferred to DeMatha, and established himself as one of the nation's best guards. Today, he's the top priority recruit for Virginia Tech in the 2022 class.

The Number One target on my board (just call him "Uno"), Rice is an athletic, smart, complete guard who has been honing his skills at a high level for years. After Rice made the trip east inside 495 to Hyattsville, he averaged over 13 ppg and 5 rebounds, shooting 59% from the field over the course of DeMatha's perfect 11-0 season. On the EYBL circuit this year, playing for Team Durant alongside Top-10 2022 prospect Dariq Whitehead and current Pitt commit Judah Mintz, Rice shined again, averaging 15.8 ppg, 2.3 assists, and shooting 46.7% from the floor with 44.4% accuracy from 3. Every step along the way, from his days at Bullis to an Elite Eight run at Peach Jam, Rice has been challenged to raise his game against fiercer competition, and he's risen to that challenge every time.

What makes Rodney Rice such a terrific prospect? Name it. He's an elite shot-maker. He can whip a crisp pass in traffic. He grabs rebounds. He defends. He facilitates. He has excellent court vision and awareness. Off-hand? Wrong foot? Through contact? Doesn't matter. He gets buckets. But anyone who's seen him light it up in person against Paul VI or Gonzaga knows Rodney Rice is a capital-C Competitor. He has a brand of hustle and drive that keeps your eyes glued to Rice despite being surrounded by other great players.

Rice boasts an impressive offer list including the likes of Miami, Maryland, LSU, Georgetown, Louisville, Alabama, and Indiana. He began his summer with an unofficial visit to Virginia Tech on June 1, the first day of in-person recruiting after a long dead period. It was his first chance to get face-to-face time with coaches who had been recruiting via phone, text, and video calls. It was also his first time reuniting with his former coach Mike Jones, who just the month before, had accepted the Hokies' associate head coach position. "It was cool," said Rice. "The coaches and I have formed an important connection and I felt very welcomed and prioritized as well."

The message from the Hokies is pretty simple: Rodney Rice is their top priority in this class. With no Wabissa Bede or Storm Murphy in 2022, the Hokies will want Rice, a high-IQ, proven playmaker, to take the ball on Day One, play his game, and run the team.

With such a strong, unique, and straightforward pitch, Mike Young and his staff are taking absolutely nothing for granted in Rice's recruitment. They've maintained constant contact and presence at Rice's games and tournaments. And they shouldn't be shy about what's in the Hokies' favor. Mike Young and his staff are some of the most respected, caring, and successful coaches in college basketball. They've annihilated expectations and set Virginia Tech on a trajectory that has grabbed attention nationally. They'll be overseeing a huge cash infusion in the coming years to add to their already impressive facilities. They personify the family vibe Virginia Tech is famous for across the country. Those DMV greats we talked about earlier? Oladipo and Fultz? Just two of the many talented guys Mike Jones coached into NBA players.

And what would a Rice commitment mean to the Hokies? No to sound dramatic, but possibly everything. According to 247 Sports, Rodney Rice would be the 3rd highest ranked basketball commit (0.9772) in Virginia Tech history between Chris Clarke (0.9765) and current New Orleans Pelican Nickeil Alexander-Walker (0.9860). But just being the gem of one recruiting class isn't all. If he continues to develop like I believe he will, coming in at a pivotal program point, running the team early on, and making his teammates better, Rodney Rice could one day be the face of Virginia Tech basketball itself.

Rice currently plans to take an official visit to Blacksburg on September 3. As he experiences the atmosphere and the people that make our family, Hokies everywhere hope Rice will feel his own story laid before him โ€“ as an elite competitor playing college ball in Virginia, rising up and taking down yesterday's blue-blood programs on his way to greatness.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


If you've been following from the recruiting threads, you know right now Rice's recruitment is expected to be a battle with Louisville, with Alabama a dark horse. Not sure Louisville's NCAA problems are any factor, but their staff is also putting in the work and will be very tough to beat.

Great intro write up on this excellent recruit. Thanks for doing this.

With no Wabissa Bede or Storm Murphy


Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

I did a double take on that as well. What the OP meant was "With no Wabissa Bede or Storm Murphy in 2022". Rice won't be in college until after this season.

I'm guessing that with a Sept. 3rd visit, Rice will be attending the UNC football game. Hopefully we can take care of business and show him what it means to be a Hokie!

This is a phenomenal write up and worthy of being TKPC only content.

Thanks Wartooth!

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

I concur. Wartooth writes good and stuff...

Hokies will want Rice, a high-IQ, proven playmaker, to take the ball on Day One, play his game, and run the team.

Haha, like they ever happens after the NCAA sees we're getting a hot freshman b-baller!

2021 Season Challenge: only comment with Batman memes.

Previous Challenges: Star Wars (2019), Marvel (2020)

Great read Wartooth!

"But, but ... Then he'll be able to see the BIG BOARD!"
Awesome write-up Wartooth!!

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

Yes, I would like to go all in. Mike Jones work some magic here please! Works be an immediate fix to a big potential hole in the roster next year.

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

A most excellently written piece as well as great info, it was truly enjoyable to read.

One quibble - "NBA great" and "Markelle Fultz", in the same sentence?

I'm so confused. His career has not, let's say, gone as expected.

Just giving ya grief though Wartooth, appreciate the excellent write-up!

The Cup is going nowhere Mikey!

Fultz sucks. Cant play

This is a quite ignorant comment. Fultz is 23 and averaged 12 & 5 in his most recent full season. I can't confidently say he will be a star, but the guy is still very young and clearly has a lot of talent. Go watch his highlights and tell me he can't play.

Put in Donlon

It's ignorant to say someone who has made it to the NBA sucks and can't play.

"Can't shoot" is a fairer assessment than "can't play". He's an objectively poor shooter

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

The number one pick in the draft and 5 years in, he averages 12 points. exactly. the definition of a JAG.

The guy is a human highlight reel and still has 10+ years left in the tank. Highlights, by the way, are incredible plays such as explosive dunks, killer crossovers, and last minute shots. I just wanted to clarify that for someone that doesn't seem to be familiar with NBA basketball.

Put in Donlon


Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

Tell me you don't watch the NBA without telling me you don't watch the NBA.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

#1 pick in the draft averages 12 points and had to be taught how to shoot free throws. Was traded because he - can't play.

I bet they wish they kept him and traded Simmons back then looking at the team now. Simmons value will never be higher than it was back then and Fultz still has a great chance to improve a lot over the next 3-5 years

Go for it

Totally fair and TBD, but #1 pick overall gets my attention. Mike Jones has shown he can help get you there. What you do after that is up to you (and injuries).

Excellent write up, Wartooth! I really appreciate your content and commitment to bringing us the goods.



I've said before, CBs are nice, but at the end of the day, they don't sign a NLI. That said, I would not change spots with any other program involved in this recruitment. Foot on the gas, folks.

Thanks for keeping us updated.

PT just opened up with Boots departure

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

don't believe Boots would have stayed past next season fwiw


I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

Hearing RR is scheduled to be at Louisville Live on Sept. 17

This would be our first win over Louisville in how long?

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

what is Overtime Elite?

I believe it is a team that competes in the NBA G-League, instead of being affiliated with an NBA team however they have some veterans and recruit high end high school prospects who would rather be paid and go the G-League route instead of college. Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga were both lottery picks this summer after playing for Overtime Elite last year.

VT '17

With Rice (and Nickel?) I think we are squarely in the position of "let's hope one of the truly Big Dogs don't show up at the last minute and steal this kid from us." It's happened many times before, but short of new big boy offers, we're in really good shape with both.

Clowney looks like a dogfight but we're in it.

I don't see this process dragging on too long with Rice or Nickel. They took some visits over the summer. Clowney did not, so I can definitely see him taking his visits, taking his time, and extending his timeline if he feels he needs to.
Fact is, you have to feel good about where we stand with these top 3. Just my opinion, but-
Rice- VT/Louisville
Nickel- VT/Iowa
Clowney- VT/Indiana
Going 3/3 will be a heavy lift, but the staff has done a great job taking hurdles one at a time and clearly they're on the right track.

Rice will be next Saturday Sunday imo and I think Nickel takes his Iowa visit on the 18th so I say a couple days after that

So with miles and miles to go, you never left
To find your purpose
Get up, you can and you will
Life is a task and scary as hell

Primus dropping heat! If Rice commits that soon (before Louis Live), it will be one of the greatest VT basketball recruiting wins, beginning to end, in program history. It could also serve as an incredible catalyst for recruiting for the remainder of the cycle.

I just feel like Rice is so close to committing that the visit will put him over

So with miles and miles to go, you never left
To find your purpose
Get up, you can and you will
Life is a task and scary as hell

Hopefully, HE feels that close to committing.

3rd CB for the good guys from another Maryland contributor. Gotta close this out.

Woah yikes

Mike Young to Rodney Rice


From CBS News:

Mack's suspension comes in the aftermath of one of the more surprising plot twists in college basketball from the spring: an extortion attempt against Mack by former Louisville assistant Dino Gaudio. Gaudio allegedly threatened to go to the media and expose wrongdoing in Louisville's program after Mack informed Gaudio he was firing him. Unbeknownst to Gaudio, Mack was recording their conversation, which enabled extortion charges to be levied.

Nevertheless, Mack's handling of Gaudio and that situation violated university guidelines, according to the school, though the specific rules that were broken by Mack have not been disclosed.

"The university concluded that while Mack was a victim of an extortion attempt by former assistant coach Dino Gaudio, Mack failed to follow university guidelines, policies, and procedures in handling the matter," the school said in its statement. "The sanctions imposed upon Coach Mack are unrelated to the extortion attempt itself and the ongoing NCAA process."

Wow, that just got potentially worse. Cleared from extortion, here comes the NCAA.

Great read. Let the man retire Mack!

That he anticipated that he needed to record the conversation says something.

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Previous Challenges: Star Wars (2019), Marvel (2020)


The next steps at Louisville will be interesting. We don't know where the Bowen case stands with the NCAA's dawdling Independent Accountability Resolution Process, much less any charges that may result from the Infamous Gaudio Audio. Closure of this endless scandal cycle does not appear to be anywhere on the horizon.

Nothing tangible will happen to Louisville. Mack will have them ranked/in the tourney as long as he is there moving forward. The NCAA is a joke. And sanctions don't affect their recruiting.

The NCAA is a joke. And sanctions don't affect their recruiting.

The cause AND the effect are there.

Oh what a tangled web we weave............

Go Hokies

I take it the hashtag is a typo and he meant to type "#nowcommitted", right? Right???

ABC, Mike. Let's go!

Landing him would be great. Beating scumbag Louisville head to head for him would be greater!!

I couldn't agree more

So with miles and miles to go, you never left
To find your purpose
Get up, you can and you will
Life is a task and scary as hell

So looks like our guy is gonna be going on that Louisville visit huh? How do we feel about that?

This recruiting cycle is obviously very different from others. These guys haven't had a normal season in forever, have had to deal with extended recruiting dead periods, restrictions on visits, etc. Whereas in years past, you might cancel a remaining visit because you're ready to commit, this year you might want to make up for lost time and take that visit anyway. Not saying that's the case here, but it's something to keep in mind.

All that said, Rice is taking this process seriously, and I'm confident he will make the choice that's right for him.

Notre Dame does not believe they will be getting a visit this month. Assuming he visits Louisville, I think this one ends sometime after this weekend. Chris Mack will be visiting today ahead of Rice's potential visit.

Think nickell's recruitment affects rice at all?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Nah but that Louisville visit coming up is hella scaring me tho๐Ÿ˜จ

So with miles and miles to go, you never left
To find your purpose
Get up, you can and you will
Life is a task and scary as hell


Edit: image won't upload but Rice is on his OV at Louisville and they gave him a little poster listing all their wins over us for the last 30 years

I recall watching a Louisville game in Cassell in the 70"s, Metro Conf. They had a big guy with an artificial finger that was held on by wearing a rubber glove. At least that's what it looked like and what I was told.

...with spirits true and faithful...

I believe his name is Wiley Brown. Those Tech vs Louisville games back in the day were some great games.

The pettiness smh

Little Bobby Tables told me my signature was false

1. None of those VT teams had Rodney Rice. A competitor like him isn't going to be swayed by that.
2. Rodney Rice wasn't alive for 82% of Lville-VT games.
2. Let's talk now and tomorrow: VT finished 2 games out of 1st place in the ACC behind UVA and Florida State. Louisville, 7th. Mike Young, ACC COY. Chris Mack, 6-game suspension.

Louisville is a talented program. I wish them luck with whatever punishment the NCAA hands down next.

I honestly find that funny. You think we didn't bring this up to football recruits about lolva? Maybe we didn't give them a printout, but it's fair game IMO. In any case, if he's a smart kid, he'll see that right now, in 2021, VT is in ascendency and those past matchups don't matter that much for him.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Exactly. We don't have an intern print out our success over UVA because we aren't scared of UVA in a recruiting battle.

They have ground to make up. I'm happy to let them play around in the wayback machine.

Louisville Live is no joke. Lot of money and glitz. Fingers crossed.