Virginia Tech Basketball Guard Rodney Rice To Transfer

Rodney Rice Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech guard Rodney Rice is transferring. (Jon Fleming)

On Tuesday, Virginia Tech men’s basketball head coach Mike Young announced guard Rodney Rice is leaving the program.

“Rodney Rice recently shared with me his desire to step away from our program. While his departure is unfortunate, we wish Rodney and his family all the best in the future,” Young said in a statement.

The 6-4, 205-pound guard from Clinton, Md., spent one season in Blacksburg, playing in just eight games and averaging 7.4 points per game. An ankle injury in August 2022 forced him to be away from the court until January, and after he made his debut at Syracuse on Jan. 11, he broke his finger three days later.

“I was just like, ‘Man, I can’t get a break,’” Rice told Tech Sideline in a September interview.

Rice returned over a month later against Miami and played in the final seven games of the season. Young said in August the former top-100 recruit had a “great summer.” Rice admitted in September that he dealt with mononucleosis in the offseason and lost weight but was starting to feel better.

However, he was not a full participant in the Hokies’ open practice in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday, Oct. 14 before the Wake Forest football game. A Virginia Tech spokesperson said then that Rice was working back to full speed and the program was being cautious after what happened last year.

Rice was an All-Met First Team selection as a senior in 2021-22 at DeMatha Catholic and was ranked as the third-best player out of Maryland in the class of 2022. Former Virginia Tech associate head coach Mike Jones, who moved on to Kevin Willard’s Maryland staff in April 2023, was Rice’s head coach in high school and played a major role in the recruitment process. Rice chose the Hokies over Louisville, Alabama, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Maryland, among others.

When he sat down with Tech Sideline in September, Rice did not mention the thought of transferring despite an injury-riddled freshman season. He had a positive attitude, ending his interview by saying, “I just want to play. That’s it. I didn’t play as much as I wanted to last year, so just playing all the games this year, that’s all I want.”

Per the NCAA transfer rules, Rice will have to sit out the 2023-24 season while he transfers. His decision leaves the Hokies with 12 scholarship players (out of a possible 13) for the upcoming season, which tips off on Monday, Nov. 6 vs. Coppin State in Cassell Coliseum. Tech now has another open scholarship for the next two years.

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  1. Everyone is quick to judge without knowing all of the facts. I am sure he is a great person. I would rather him decide now, instead of doing so mid-season and becoming a distraction then. I want to see him do well in life and in basketball, and I hope that the “injury bug” is extinguished for him moving forward.

  2. Regardless of the reason it is a huge loss. If he continued to put in a lot of minutes my hunch after seeing him play is that he’d become other-level great. Catoor coming back I think has something to do with it, because if Hunter didn’t, Rice would start.

  3. Wish him the best but if he is not a team player and has an inflated ego let someone else deal with it.

  4. “I just want to play. That’s it. I didn’t play as much as I wanted to last year, so just playing all the games this year, that’s all I want.”

    I’m (blindly) guessing that CMY told him he wouldn’t be starting from the get-go and would be worked in slowly. He couldn’t cope with that, was a net drain on the team rather than a team player and both sides agreed it would be better for them to part ways.

    If reality is anything like this, its not a loss to the team. A player that can’t put aside their ego and can’t be coached is not going to help the program. Seems more common that these players end up at lower tier programs that promise as many minutes as they want instead of a Maryland.

    1. I can’t imagine that transferring and losing a second-consecutive season of play is net postitive. Will MD – or any other program be willing to sign a kid who effectively hasn’t plaedy comeptitive ball since HS?

  5. Sounds like he was going to be coming off the bench this year and it hurt his ego. Poor little rodney needs to transfer

    1. Landers Nolley left because he wasn’t coachable. Bamisile wasn’t a team player. As for (misplaced) criticism of CMY, a “System” coach, in what way is his program different than Tony Bennett’s? If a kid wants to play at UVA, he’s going to play Bennett’s way. No “free lancers” in Charlottesville.

  6. I would love to know the full story. This just doesn’t make sense. If he is going to miss the entire season why not stay at Tech? Is there an issue with CMY? Does he have a compelling reason to go home? I doubt we’ll ever know all the details. The timing is certainly not ideal.

    1. He may end up following the coach who recruited him to VT and is now in his home state at UMD.

  7. If it was just to go to Maryland, why not go when Coach Jones left in the spring and get this year under his belt in B1G conf.? There’s more to the story here…. BTW, if his head was into it, I think he is an impact player who could make his own offense. But whatever reason, he didn’t want to be here. The Hokies always do better with players who want to be here. I hope he does well in life.

  8. If you quit on your team at this point you can’t be trusted. Ever. You’ll quit every time. Better he’s gone now than we find out in late feb or march. Win with kids you can count on. Not going to lose any sleep over this one.

  9. I suspect Mr. Rice will be joining Maryland as soon as the NIL deal can be negotiated. Being held out of the open practice was a sign there was trouble on the horizon. If this was brinksmanship by VT, it was poorly handled – if it was something that Rice instigated he just pissed away a year of his life for no good reason. Maybe some enterprising reporter can get the inside scoop….

  10. Something is going on here because he is having to sit out the year for late transfer. Why not play the year and then transfer? I believe there is more to him leaving then just wanting to leave the program.

  11. This was a source of speculation as soon as Mike Jones left Tech. What really hurts is how close to the start of the season he made his decision. Puts us in a bind. I agree with other posters that there is something else going on here.

  12. We will be fine. He was hurt alot last year, but when he did play he didn’t show much. I don’t think he would have played much again this year either hurt or not. Where do you put him in the starting lineup? You don’t! if you look at who all we have back, plus our transfers, plus at PG Rechsteiner as #2 at PG behind Pedula. He is going to turn heads. It would have been nice to have RR for added depth, past that I don’t think this is a big deal.

    1. If he’s healthy and wants to be here, then he’s an impact player immediately. However, at least one of those conditions isn’t a yes, probably both. His hs coach is now at Md, where Rice will be more comfortable (imo).

      We are better w/him this season, imo.

      System coaches at non blue-bloods can struggle landing or keeping top50 -100 players. Add in NIL (we have a great foundation at VT imo but still lack the big $$) and it’s tough keeping these guys 4 years

      CMY has done better than I expected (he is an excellent coach) at this level … but I am not sure he gets to another level for us. Love the guy tho, hope he dances every year

      1. We return our starting backcourt, Sean Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor, while sophomore MJ Collins is back and expected to have a larger role season. Freshmen Brandon Rechsteiner and Jaydon Young will also figure into the mix.

        Just as with all recruits in every sport…his [RR] HS ranking and how many stars he had, that doesn’t always show up at the next level…maybe it will, we havent had a big sample size to date..
        I’ve seen his HS stuff, and had high hopes for him! But there was nothing that I saw him do as a Hokie that showed that he would be an impact player next year imo. I guess now we will never know!

        1. RR is an excellent bballer. His skills will be missed. He was likely to get 15-20 minutes per game when fully recovered from his illness.

  13. We will be fine. I don’t understand the feedback that he is over rated. We have attracted good kids and are competitive. He is an excellent coach with an acc championship.

  14. I predicted this a week ago on the MBB. He’s a PGCO kid, a fish out of water in Blacksburg. We waste our time w/these kids. I don’t know all the facts nor does anyone on this blog but no surprise here. It’s ridiculous that the fans are all over CMY about these transfers as if Bamisile – 4th program in 4 years – and Maddox, now at GMU are in higher level programs. If these guys ever get paid to play, it won’t be in an English-speaking country.

  15. Article says he has to sit out this year but is there a workaround some way like Dex at UNC? Hardship case?

      1. It is what it is. Get used to it Hokie fans. College sports will never be the same. Relax and yell like heck for the players that want to be in Blacksburg.

  16. I hate it – but I dont thing his mind is right and Im sure there is something else / another factor going on…(ok Mr obvious I guess — but I dont think its just bigger NIL $$ elsewhere)…

    Move On HOKIES – Play Great Ball!

  17. Man, this stinks for all around. Wish Rice the best, but wish it was for 3 more years in O & M

  18. Lame…our guard depth is young and thin, and we can’t afford to lose talented players.

    Oh well, next man up!

    1. Is it? Or is Rice, injured or not, simply not good enough to the earn playing time he wants?

      1. He’s definitely talented enough but as the saying goes “the most important ability is availability”

    1. Agreed, especially with CMY’s statement: While his departure is unfortunate…
      What the heck does that mean? Unfortunate for who, and why? (inquiring minds want to know!)

      1. Not going to be making NIL money while sitting out and Waiting to portal to another school.

    1. Basically this will be his redshirt season. But still doesn’t make much sense to skip a year of organized basketball practice, conditioning and games against ACC-tier competition to take a solo redshirt year.

      He could then transfer in the off-season with improved resumé and a year more development.. and play immediately at his new school.

  19. I hope he gets it sorted out and all goes well for him … unfortunate for all parties involved but we’ll be fine 🙂

    Go Hokies … Beat the 🍊

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