Kansas basketball transfer MJ Rice appeared in the first game with his new team in NC State’s victory last night.
After transferring from Kansas basketball this offseason, the former 4-star wing committed to NC State for his sophomore year. He was expected to be one of the Wolfpack’s best players in 2023-24. However, he stepped away from the team due to personal reasons in the fall and hadn’t appeared in a game all year — until yesterday.
Rice didn’t disappoint in his long-awaited debut. He poured in 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in just 10 minutes off the bench in NCSU’s 93-61 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore, also grabbing six rebounds. His most notable play was his vicious dunk toward the end of the game.
NC State coach Kevin Keatts believes he’ll have a considerable role with the team sooner or later. They were giving him time to work back from his personal reasons and Rice approached Keatts before yesterday’s game and told him he was ready to go.
In 23 games last year, Rice averaged 2.2 points, 1.0 rebounds, and 0.2 assists on 40.8% shooting. His time in Lawrence didn’t exactly pan out. He failed to play much for Bill Self as a freshman and struggled with a recurring back injury. With no clear path to playing time this year, he opted to find a new home, but he had a few mental setbacks before he could get back onto the hardwood.
While the Wolfpack are eight games into the year and Rice has some catching up to do, he could contribute plenty to the NCAA Tournament-hopeful squad. Rice is a bucket-getter who dominated both ends of the floor in high school and could do the same at the collegiate level. His presence will definitely be appreciated by NC State when they look to upset No. 17 Tennessee next week.