JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (June 7, 2023) – ETSU men’s basketball head coach Brooks Savage and his staff announced this signing of William & Mary transfer Tyler Rice (Columbia, S.C.) on Wednesday.
Rice, a 6-foot-1, 183-point guard, comes to ETSU after playing two seasons at William & Mary where he played in 55 games with 34 starts for the Tribe. The Columbia, S.C. native averaged 6.0 points, 2.4 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 20.5 minutes during his two seasons at William & Mary.
“Tyler is a great addition to our program,” said Savage. “He brings experience and playmaking ability to our backcourt. Tyler checks all the boxes in what we look for in a complete guard. He can knock down open shots, as well as create for himself and his teammates off the bounce. He has a high basketball IQ and understands the value of playing with other talented players. I think a change in system will be beneficial for him – playing in space and playing in an up-tempo style that he thrived in at Ridge View High School (Columbia, S.C.) where he won three state championships. Tyler knows all about the ETSU tradition and the pride our fans, alumni and former players have in the program. He shares that pride, and he will make a big impact on our team.”
As a freshman, Rice – who was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team – averaged 7.5 points, 3.6 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 27.1 minutes per game. Rice started 30 of his 31 games in 2021-22 where he ranked second on the team in 3-pointers made (35) and third in steals (30) and minutes played (841). Rice dished out 112 assists, which ranked second all-time among William & Mary freshmen and 14th nationally among first-year players in assists per game. Overall, Rice ranked fourth in the CAA in assists per game and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2). In his collegiate debut, Rice finished with nine assists against Wake Forest, marking the most assists for a Tribe player in their debut. Rice totaled 11 double figure scoring games and 11 games with at least five assists as freshman. He had a pair of 16-point scoring games – one at Navy and the other against Old Dominion – while he dished out a career-high 10 assists at Hofstra where he also scored seven points and pulled down five rebounds.
As a sophomore, Rice played in 24 games (four starts), averaging 11.9 minutes per game. Rice scored 11 points on 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and 5-of-5 at the free throw line in the second round of the CAA Tournament win over Elon. Earlier in the season, he added a season-high 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting versus UNC Wilmington, while a week later he led the Tribe in scoring with 13 points and netting three 3-pointers at Elon. Following the 2022-23 season, Rice was named to the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll.
Rice was an 85 percent free throw shooter in 2022-23 and hit on 83 percent at the charity stripe in his two seasons at William & Mary.
“I chose ETSU because of the history associated with the programs winning culture and success for developing players at my position,” said Rice. “The play style allows me to freely play to my strengths, as well as give me the opportunity to play with an extremely talented group of guys. From the moment the coaching staff contacted me, I felt the family-like atmosphere that echoed throughout the entire ETSU community. There are very few mid-major programs who can replicate the support from the fan base and the resources given to the players at ETSU. Ultimately, I feel like I’m walking into a program that I can help cut down some nets in March!”
Rice played high school basketball at Ridge View where he was rated as one of the top 10 players in the state of South Carolina throughout his career. He led Ridge View to three straight 4A state championship titles and was named 2020 MVP after finishing with 23 points, four rebounds and four assists in the 69-59 win over Myrtle Beach in the title game. In 2021, Rice was named Class 5A all-state, while he averaged 11 points, four rebounds and four assist per game as a junior. He played AAU ball for Team Loaded NC, which was ranked No. 13 nationally.
Rice comes from an athletic family as his father, Andrae, played wide receiver at Fayetteville State University and his brother, Kaiden, played basketball at The Citadel and Georgetown.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball tab.