On a quiet Tuesday evening, two weeks away from the opening of the new college basketball season and the Virginia Tech broke some shocking news.
Rumors were rampant on social media and message boards that sophomore guard Rodney Rice had left the men’s basketball team. It didn’t take long for head coach Mike Young to confirm the news.
“Rodney Rice recently shared with me his desire to step away from our program,” Young said, per David Cunningham of Tech Sideline. While his departure is unfortunate, we wish Rodney and his family all the best in the future.”
A top-100 recruit in 2022, Rice was one of the top recruits in Virginia Tech history. The 6-foot-4 combo guard played at the legendary DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md., and followed his former high school coach, Mike Jones, to Blacksburg. Jones, who was Young’s top assistant coach the past two seasons, left for a similar role in the offseason with the Maryland Terrapins. However, surprisingly, Rice chose to stay in Blacksburg and was expected to have a featured role on the 2023-24 team.
Rice’s freshman season with the Hokies was marred by injuries. He suffered an ankle injury before the season and didn’t play until January. When he returned, he played one game and broke his hand during practice, forcing him to miss more time. In total, Rice appeared in eight games, averaging 19.9 minutes, 7.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting 44% from the floor and 33% from beyond the arc.
The Hokies return their starting backcourt, Sean Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor, while sophomore MJ Collins is back and expected to have a larger role in his second season. Freshmen Brandon Rechsteiner and Jaydon Young will also figure into the mix.
We here at Gobbler Country wish Rice all the best in his future.