Rice previously averaged 16.8 points per game for Drake in the 2011-12 season. He also grabbed 5.8 rebounds per game and 1.9 steals per game.
Illinois is losing its top two leading scorers from last year’s team and it plays in the Big Ten Conference. Both things do not bode well for the Fighting Illini.
There will be three Big Ten teams ranked in the top 10 of the USA Today Coaches Poll entering the season. Michigan State is ranked No. 2, Michigan is ranked No. 9 and Ohio State is ranked No. 10. There are other teams in this conference that are ranked in the top 25 as well. So you could say that the Big Ten is getting some hype for the 2013-14 season.
That is why players like Rice will have to meet expectations and compete right away. He is not the only talented newcomer, but he has experience in college hoops and he apparently knows how to put the ball into the hoop–hence the 16.8 points per game.
It would be nice if Rice improved his shot, though. He shot 24.1 percent from behind the arc in the 2011-12 season. He managed to make 27 threes that year.
Illinois made the dance last year and it will have the talent to make it again this year. However, conference play will be tough and its non-conference schedule is not the easiest in college hoops.
Still, Rice should start right away and he has the talent to have an instant impact.