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.
[UPDATED 6:50 p.m.] Matt Sugam of SNY.tv is denying the initial report that Rice was coaching on Tuesday
“Just watching,” Rice told SNY.tv by text. “I did no work outs.”
Yahoo! Sports has since updated it’s original story with a text from Rice saying he was “a viewing guest of John Lucas.”
Rice has been seen coaching before, two weeks after his firing, coaching his daughter’s AAU team.
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.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.
The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.
UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.
In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.
If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.