One more year wouldn’t hurt for Darius
Rice projected as a late first round pick, still unsure about future
Perhaps no words can better describe Darius Rice’s predicament than those of punk legends, The Clash.
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
Rice has come to a crossroads in his life, with one path leading back to the University of Miami, his senior season, and perhaps another year of losing, and the other path leading to the NBA draft.
Unfortunately for Rice, neither choice can look very appealing from where he stands. He can either come back and lead a team that just completed its worst season since 1993-1994, losing 13 of its last 17 games, or he can head to the NBA draft on June 26 and test his luck in a fairly weak field where some team will likely take him near the end of the first round.
“I’m listening to what the GMs say, getting their evaluations, and talking over everything with my family, but right now I’m hearing that I’m ranked anywhere between 19 and 37, and I think I’m better than that,” Rice told the Miami Herald. “If I can only go late first round, I don’t think it’s the best decision. It might be better to come back and prove I can play with all those top guys.”
The question remains whether or not Rice can play with those top guys.
Over the past three years Rice has led the Hurricanes in scoring with 14.1, 14.9, and 18.7 point per game in his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons respectively. His sophomore year, he played a huge part on the team that broke the record for the most wins in a single season at UM, and throughout his career he has hit more than his share of thrilling, game winning shots.
But for all he has accomplished at Miami, he still might not enter the NBA as a first round draft choice. Despite the fact that Rice has one of the best three-point shots in college basketball, his all-around game could use some work
Rice came to Miami as just the third McDonalds All-American to sign with the ‘Canes and fans have expected greatness from him since day one. Sure Rice has made the All-Big East second and third teams but does he have what it takes to make it in the much tougher NBA world? How many teams have the luxury of spending a first round pick on a 6-10 forward who can shoot the three but lacks post moves and dribbling skills?
The fact of the matter remains that in three years at Miami, Perry Clark and company should have taught Rice how to post-up and handle the ball. Rice has also failed to build much muscle on his lanky 6-10 frame and will get manhandled by most NBA forwards.
Rice will most likely declare for the draft and try out for NBA teams with the idea that he can always hit the emergency button and come back for his senior season if he pulls out of the draft by June 19. If teams tell him that he will not get picked in the top 18, he will probably come back to the ‘Canes and headline one of the youngest teams in college, featuring five sophomores and four freshman.
Sadly, Rice may not benefit from returning to Miami. Unless he works his tail off and gains some muscle while the coaching staff learns how to coach him better, his situation may look bleaker when he enters the draft next year and teams have had another year to realize that they don’t need a pure shooting forward on their team.
Rice should enter the draft, take the money that teams will offer him as a late first or early second round pick and work his tail off with an NBA coaching staff because the Hurricanes need Darius a lot more than he needs them.
-Nate Johnson can be reached at NPJ44@aol.com