Former Rutgers head coach Mike Rice was fired in early April after a practice tape surfaced, showing physical and verbal abuse towards his players.
It has been nearly three months, and on Tuesday Rice shared the floor as an instructor with some of the top college and high school players in the country during the week-long Nike Skills Academy in Union, N.J. Rice confirmed his participation through a text message to Yahoo! Sports.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported Rice helped out in drills and practice situations, according to coaches who watched practice on Tuesday. Wojnarowski went on to report that Rice has been in anger management at the John Lucas Wellness and Aftercare Program.
Rice was fired after three seasons with the Scarlet Knights, finishing with a 44-51 record. Following Rice’s exit, athletic director Tim Pernetti resigned. It didn’t get much better for Rutgers when the hiring of new head coach Eddie Jordan and new AD Julie Hermann also drew additional controversy.
Yahoo! Sports reported that Rice had previously been working with players in pre-draft workouts while at Lucas’ gym in Houston before helping out at the Nike Skills Academy this week.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.