Virginia Tech men’s basketball head coach Mike Young announced on Tuesday that guard Rodney Rice will leave the program.
“Rodney Rice recently shared with me his desire to withdraw from our program. While his departure is regrettable, we wish Rodney and his family the best in the future,” Young said in a statement.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound guard from Clinton, Maryland, spent one season in Blacksburg, playing in just eight games and averaging 7.4 points. An ankle injury in August 2022 forced him off the field until January, where he made his Syracuse debut on Jan. 11 before suffering a broken finger three days later.
“I was like, ‘Man, I can’t catch a break,'” Rice told Tech Sideline in a September interview.
Rice returned a little more than a month later against Miami and played the final seven games of the season. Young said in August that the top-100 prospect had a “great summer.” Rice admitted in September that he dealt with mononucleosis and lost weight in the offseason but was starting to feel better.
However, he did not fully participate in the Hokies’ open practice at Cassell Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, before the Wake Forest football game. A Virginia Tech spokesman said at the time that Rice was returning to work at full speed and that the program was being cautious after what happened last year.
Rice was a first-team All-Metro selection at DeMatha Catholic in 2021-22 and was named the third-best player in the state of Maryland in the 2022 class. Former Virginia Tech associate head coach Mike Jones, who later committed to Maryland in April 2023, and Kevin Willard, Rice’s high school head coach, were on the recruiting trail played an important role. Rice chose the Hokies over Louisville, Alabama, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Maryland, among others.
When Rice spoke to Tech Sideline in September, he didn’t mention the idea of transferring despite an injury-plagued freshman season. He had a positive attitude, saying at the end of the interview: “I just want to play. That’s it. “Last year I didn’t play as many games as I wanted to, so this year just playing all the games, that’s what I want. “
According to NCAA transfer rules, Rice must sit out the 2023-24 season while transferring. His decision leaves the Hokies with 12 scholarship players (from a possible 13) for the upcoming season, which will tip off Monday, Nov. Coppin State University at Cassel Coliseum. Tech now has another open scholarship for the next two years.