John Groce has nabbed his first Illini recruit! Drake shooting guard, and Champaign native, Rayvonte Rice announced today that he will transfer to Illinois. He had the option to transfer to Xavier as well, but he attended Champaign Centennial High School and decided to return to his roots.
There are actually three open scholarships for next season: Michael Orris bowed out of his scholly before setting foot on campus, Meyers Leonard is heading to the NBA, and Crandall Head transferred abruptly in the middle of the season. Groce filled one spot, and now has two to play with.
Rice, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound guard, will sit out next season, and then will have two years of eligibility with Illinois. He averaged 16.5 points and 5.7 rebounds last season for Drake.
Since Rice has some collegiate experience, he could be able to jump in immediately and take over the guard duties for Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson after they graduate at the end of next year. While he doesn’t necessarily have B1G experience, he will have a year of practice to get with the program. Seems like a good nab, and I live it when the local kids get to come home and play for the fans (ala another Centennial transfer – from Dayton – Trent Meacham).
Groce now has two more spots to fill before the season begins, and will most likely focus on another point guard position and center to fill the more immediate holes left by Leonard and Maniscalco.