The NC State Wolfpack basketball program has bolstered its roster with the addition of former Kansas wing MJ Rice. The Durham native and McDonald’s All-American announced his decision to commit to NC State on Instagram, expressing his excitement to be “home.” Rice’s decision to join the Wolfpack marks a significant homecoming for the talented player and adds depth to the team’s already solid lineup.
MJ Rice to NC State Wolfpack
MJ Rice, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound guard, played a limited role in his freshman college basketball season at Kansas due to various health issues. Despite averaging only 2.2 points in 7.5 minutes per game through 23 contests, Rice remains an exciting prospect for the Wolfpack.
Rice was a McDonald’s All American in 2022 and ranked No. 2 overall in the @RivalsPortal Rankings.
HUUUUUUGE score for Kevin Keatts! pic.twitter.com/2XyfO4zE9R
— Jason Jordan (@JasonNCJordan) April 19, 2023
As the No. 29 consensus-ranked overall prospect in the 2022 class, Rice’s potential is undeniable, and his return to North Carolina could be the perfect opportunity for him to shine.
Prior to committing to Kansas, Rice had strong ties to NC State and head coach Kevin Keatts. Throughout his high school career, which included stints at Durham Academy, Oak Hill Academy, and Prolific Prep, Rice maintained a close relationship with Keatts and his staff.
“They’re just like family,” Rice said in an interview. “They’re just like mentors to me.”
Rice Joins Strong North Carolina State Transfer Class
Rice’s decision to join the Wolfpack comes on the heels of several other notable transfers to NC State. The team recently secured commitments from Butler leading scorer Jayden Taylor, Arizona State grad transfer DJ Horne, and Clemson sophomore big Ben Middlebrooks.
The addition of these talented players, along with Rice, is expected to boost NC State’s chances in the competitive ACC.
During his high school career, Rice averaged 20.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game in his senior season at Prolific Prep in Napa, California. Although his freshman season at Kansas was marred by health issues, including back problems, kidney stones, and COVID-19, Rice’s raw talent and potential remain evident.
The move to Raleigh and playing for Keatts’ system could provide Rice with the perfect environment to showcase his skills and live up to his high school reputation.
The Wolfpack finished sixth in the ACC last season and lost to Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. However, they seem poised for a strong showing in the upcoming season. With a mix of experienced players and fresh talent, NC State fans have reason to be optimistic.