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Rodney Rice, Top-10 Combo Guard in America, Commits to Virginia Tech

By Grant Mitchell | October 03
From Twitter: @rodneyrice_

The Virginia Tech Hokies Men's Basketball team received a massive commitment on Sunday afternoon from Rodney Rice, the ninth-ranked combo-guard in the class of 2022. He is now the third member of his class to commit to VT, joining three-stars Patrick Wessler and MJ Collins.

Rice’s situation had been closely monitored by fans of the Hokies since they hired his former coach, Mike Jones, as an Associate Head Coach for VT. Jones and Rice were together at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, making the process of luring the talented guard to Blacksburg all the more important.

Who is Rodney Rice?

As the 52nd overall recruit in his class, per 247Sports, Rice was a hot target for many of the top programs in the nation; after receiving offers from Illinois, Alabama, Oklahoma State, and others, he settled on an unofficial top-two of Virginia Tech and Louisville. The Maryland native took his official visit to Blacksburg on the weekend of September 3, when the Hokies’ football team beat the #10 North Carolina Tar Heels 17-10 in their season opener.

Sunday's announcement marked the end of his recruiting process and a transition to the future for the Hokies.

At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Rice is a consistent long-range shooter with ball skills that allow him to create space in the lane or provide service to his teammates. He was recently an Honorable Mention at the 2021 EYBL Peach Jam where he averaged 15.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists over 11 games, all while shooting 49.2% from the field and 42.4% from three against the best competition that America has to offer.

What to Expect

The young guard is not the quickest at his position laterally or in a straight line, but he is shifty with long arms and can create his own shot with tremendous efficiency. All of this comes while he still plays solid positional defense on the other end.

One of the most impressive aspects of Rice’s game is how diverse his attack is— he can catch-and-shoot, pull up, orchestrate the offense, get downhill, use his weaker left hand, shoot the mid-range or take a floater, meaning that he will be able to fit into virtually any offensive system. He also comes from a winning program and has experience in high-leverage moments, which have contributed to him displaying a usually calm temperament on the court.

As a Hokie, Rice will be competing with Hunter Cattoor, Darius Maddox, and Sean Pedulla for minutes as the primary guard; he is not necessarily a prototypical point and can function as a two-guard, though his offensive intelligence and intangibles make him a strong candidate to be the central ball-handler.

Rodney Rice the Hokie

Rodney Rice is now the highest-ranked recruit that Mike Young has landed during his three-year tenure as the Head Coach of Virginia Tech. His commitment is also a huge step in vindicating the hiring of Mike Jones who, by all accounts, is already becoming entrenched in Hokie culture over at Cassell.

Rice also fits the mold of a typical Mike Young guard and will be a like-for-like replacement for graduate transfer Storm Murphy as a quick-trigger and shifty player that will force defenses to be honest on the perimeter, thereby stretching them out and opening up space in the paint.

VT’s crop of 2022 talent now includes a top-10 guard in America, a 7-footer with a soft touch, and one of the purest mid-range shooters in high school. The Mikes are starting to heat up on the recruiting trail, and do not bet on them slowing down.