Tyrese Rice- The Eagles' Key to Flying High

by Alex Schwartz

The Steve Nash Skills Academy featured some of the top players in the NCAA, from all different conferences, both high-major, mid-major, and low-major. One of the best players at the camp was a superstar in the ACC for a Boston College team that struggled to a dismal 14-17 season, that included losing 13 of its last 15 games. That stud was Tyrese Rice, who averaged 21 points and just under five assists per contest. Rice, now a senior, was one of the lone bright spots for Al Skinner and Co. Despite BC's sub par season and his spectacular one personally, Tyrese—an undersized point guard—spurned the NBA and returned to Chestnut Hill for his last season, but before doing so he went to the Steve Nash Skills Academy, as I mentioned above. While there, Rice trained with some fellow college stars and learned from quality coaches in addition to receiving tips from Steve Nash himself. Tyrese was kind enough to take some time to chat with me—the players had to leave so I only had time for a few questions—before heading out.

NB: This [past] season you had a big game against North Carolina, [scoring] almost 50 points, but you guys couldn’t pull out the win. What [did] you take away from that game? (Note: Rice had 46 points, hitting 8 of 12 three point attempts while knocking in 10 of 11 free throws.)
TR: Just the hard work that we had as a team, offensively and defensively. We were assertive from the jump, and then we just kind of . . . let down. I think we got to a point where we were up by like 18 and we were like, “alright, this game [has] got to hurry up and get over . . . while we [were] ahead,” but . . . we just kind of let down, but it was great to see . . . how hard we could come out and play and how affective . . . we could be against a National Championship contender.

NB: You made First Team All-ACC [last] year. What was that like for you to be selected?
TR: Oh, it was a great honor. It’s great to be mentioned amongst the elite players in the ACC because there are a lot of great people out there in the ACC. So, it was just great, it was a great accomplishment.

NB: What [are] the strongest and weakest points of your game?
TR: Strongest? Probably my aggressiveness, . . . probably how hard I play, like my heart when I just come out and play. Weakest? Probably off the ball defense is something that I need to work on. I try to get a lot of pointers from the coaches out here who have their own opinions, and just soak them all in.

NB: Who’s your basketball role model?
TR: Role model? I don’t know if I have a role model, but I have a lot of favorite players, a lot of players that I watch, a lot of people that I like. Of course, [Steve] Nash, of course Chris Paul, and then I got some college guys that I watch a lot of: Eric Maynor [of Virginia Commonwealth], a lot Jack McClinton [of Miami]. . . . I just watch everybody and try to soak in stuff from everybody.

Rice's decision to return to school was probably a good one, as he is averaging more assists and rebounds than he did last year, while his points per game is down just a bit, despite the fact that he is playing over minutes less per contest.In addition, BC is off to a nice 4-2 start that includes wins over St. John's and UAB, and a narrow seven-point loss to Purdue, one of the best teams in the nation. If BC wants to keep up its winning ways it will need its star player to keep up his production, but must support him as well. Tyrese Rice is a very talented player, easily one of the best in the ACC and possibly the NCAA as a whole, and is the key to the Eagles' season. Watch for Rice to post some more impressive stat lines this season en route to even more postseason honors and a likely shot at the NBA.

Note- photo is from http://www.bostonherald.com/.
Note- information, such as statistics, game results, etc. on Tyrese Rice and Boston College is from http://bceagles.cstv.com/index-main.html

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