Rayvonte Rice is returning to Champaign and will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Illini. Rice was Drake's leading scorer each of the last two seasons, averaging 16.8 points as a sophomore and 13.8 points as a freshman.
May 1, 2012
Champaign, Ill. - University of Illinois head coach John Groce announced Tuesday that Drake University sophomore guard Rayvonte Rice has signed a tender of financial aid and will transfer to Illinois following the completion of the spring semester. Rice will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Illini in 2013-14 and 2014-15 after sitting out the upcoming 2012-13 season.
Rice led Drake in scoring last season with an average of 16.8 points while finishing second on the team in rebounds with 5.8 per game. His scoring average ranked third in the Missouri Valley, and he led the MVC in steals at 1.9 per game. Rice earned second-team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a sophomore after being named to The Valley's All-Freshman and All-Newcomer Teams as a rookie. He set the Drake freshman scoring record with 428 points (13.8 ppg) and also led the Bulldogs in rebounds (4.8 rpg) and steals (1.4 spg).
Rice is a hometown product from Champaign who starred at Centennial High School. He was named 2010 Player of the Year for the state of Illinois by Gatorade and the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and was a consensus first-team All-State selection by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Associated Press, News-Gazette and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Rice averaged 23.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 1.8 assists as a senior, leading Centennial to a 32-2 record and third-place finish in the IHSA Class 3A state tournament. He averaged 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.4 assists as a junior, meanwhile, leading Centennial to a 32-1 record and 2009 IHSA Class 3A state championship, where he was named tournament MVP. Rice finished his Centennial career as the leading scorer in Champaign-Urbana prep history with 1,810 points.
"Rayvonte had an outstanding high school career locally at Centennial and was an impact player at Drake these last two years," Groce said. "He is a natural scorer who has the ability to get to the basket and finish or draw fouls. He also has great hands and has a knack for getting steals and forcing turnovers. Overall, Rayvonte is an aggressive player on both ends of the floor who will fit in well with our style of play."