It’s been a minute since we had any recruiting prospects announce a cutdown list that included YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles. That streak ended on Monday when Lawrent Rice put Marquette in his top eight. The Golden Eagles are joined by Georgetown, Kansas State, Louisville, Notre Dame, VCU, Xavier, and Ohio State.
Top 8, excited for what the future holds! pic.twitter.com/Pjtm7qIhjG— Lawrent (@LawrentRice) January 18, 2022
I don’t want to tell anyone how to make their college decision, but I think we can all agree that Marquette would clearly be in the top five if we were listing these eight programs based on how the 2021-22 season is going.
Rice is listed by 247 Sports as a 6’3”, 170 pound combo guard out of Dayton, Ohio. He’s currently ranked #130 in the country in the 247 Composite system, which makes him the #18 combo guard and the #3 player in the state of Ohio. When Marquette offered Rice a scholarship on the same day that the coaches were allowed to start contacting Class of 2023 prospects, he wasn’t even in the 247 Composite..... but they also only went out to a top 40 at the time. He was #70 in 247’s internal ranking at the time, and now he’s at #93 there. I suspect this all has more to do with more scouting getting done over the last six months than it says anything about Rice’s talents and abilities.
Last season at Wayne High School in the Dayton area, Rice averaged 13.8 points per game along with a conference best 5.1 assists per game. He also chipped in 2.1 steals and shot 56.3% from the field on the way to earning first team all-conference honors. He might be officially labeled as a combo guard by 247, but his high school coach says in the article I just linked to that he played off the ball as a freshman before taking over as point guard sophomore year and definitely projects as a point guard at the next level.
This article from 247 Sports from Monday before Rice announced his cutdown list notes that he’s averaging 19 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 3.6 steals per game while shooting 13-for-40 from long range in 12 games as well as 76% from the free throw line.
If you’re wondering what Shaka Smart likes about him, well, I suspect the actual basketball part is nice, but check out these quotes from his high school coach that are in that 247 article:
“The biggest thing is his work ethic is second to none. He works extremely hard in the off-season. He goes to multiple trainers and does everything we ask him to do. He just has that mentality of ‘I’ve got to be the leader now. People are watching me to see how I react.’
“Everybody is looking to see how he is going to respond. He does a good job of staying even keeled. He is an unselfish kid and that shows up. He’s working on those leadership qualities and being more vocal and leading us this year. That will continue to grow this season and next season as well.”
Let’s head to the scholarship chart!
As mentioned earlier, Rice is a Class of 2023 prospect, so it’s hard to get a solid handle on how he fits into the 2023-24 Marquette roster until we see what the 2022-23 roster actually looks like. Right now, pending what happens with Greg Elliott and his bonus year of eligibility, Marquette doesn’t project to have any seniors in 2022-23. They do look to have two open scholarship spots, but right now I suspect that those two spots are sitting open for 1) Elliott to return if he wants and 2) a grad transfer.
If those two scholarship spots don’t get filled and/or they go to Elliott and a grad transfer, then they’ll be open again in 2023, which is where Rice would come in. At that point, he projects to be part of a backcourt that would include Tyler Kolek, Kam Jones, Emarion Ellis as well as 2022 freshmen Sean Jones and Chase Ross. You can never have too many talented backcourt players, and with Kolek in his fourth year of eligibility at that point, it never hurts to be adding a guy who projects expressly as a point guard at the Division 1 level.