Last Thursday, the Drake men’s basketball team suffered a big hit when it granted sophomore Rayvonte Rice his release from the program.
Upon completion of the spring semester, Rice plans on transferring to another institution to continue his college basketball career. It is still unknown as to where Rice will transfer to, but he will have to sit out an entire season before becoming eligible to play, according to NCAA rules.
“Rayvonte Rice has informed me of his desire to be released from his scholarship to pursue a transfer to another institution,” head coach Mark Phelps said in a Drake Athletics press release. “I appreciate what Rayvonte has contributed to our program and wish him well. Ultimately, as a coach, you want highly talented players as well as student-athletes who want to be Drake Bulldogs and are committed to the program. I respect Rayvonte’s request to transfer to another institution.”
Rice established himself as arguably the Bulldogs’ top player in his two seasons at Drake. Rice was the third leading scorer in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2011-12, averaging 16.8 points per game. He was named to the All-MVC second team for his efforts.
“I want to thank Coach Phelps, Sandy Hatfield Clubb and everyone at Drake University for the support they have given me during my time at Drake,” Rice said in the same press release. “This was a difficult decision, but one I feel I must make. I leave the program and the university with positive memories and good relationships with my teammates and coaches, and hope for good things in the future. I also want to thank the Bulldog fans for all of their support.”
Drake was expected to return Rice and fellow All-MVC second-team selection in junior Ben Simons, in addition to junior Seth VanDeest, who missed the entire 2011-12 season due to shoulder surgery.
Now, Drake will have to rebuild its identity with the loss of Rice.
Redshirt sophomore David Smith and freshman Judd Welfringer were also granted their releases from the program on March 27.