D-League experience enriches Rice

D-League experience enriches Rice
July 10, 2013, 3:15 pm
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Wizards weigh in on summer league

The way Glen Rice Jr. sees it, there’s no need in being bashful or deferring at this stage.

Sure, he’s in the NBA and is a rookie second-round pick for the Wizards, the lowest-scoring team at 93.2 points per game last season. But if he has to shoot his way into the rotation, he won’t hesitate.

“I've been scoring all my life. That’s just what I know,” said Rice, who averaged 25 points, 9.5 rebounds 4.3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the D-League playoffs for the Rio Grande Valley (Hidalgo, Texas) Vipers en route to the championship last season. “Can’t get shy now just because we moved up a level. I’m going to keep doing what I have done to get me here.

“My game is to take shots until coach tells me he doesn't want me to take shots any more. I’ll do whatever it takes to get on the court.”

Rice has the bug that led his father to being one of the NBA’s elite scorers from 1989-2004. He won a national championship at Michigan at 1989 and in 2000 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a three-time All-Star.

Rice is rangy like his father, too. At 6-5, he's considered a first-round talent who slipped in the draft when he was expelled from Georgia Tech after three seasons for a gun incident that resulted in charges.

The style Rice played in D-League was open court, much like coach Randy Wittman prefers to run for the Wizards.  Rice had his first taste Monday. He’s spending four days in mini-camp at Verizon Center before heading to Las Vegas for summer league play on the 15-man roster.

“Just out here running, that’s exactly what we did in the D-League. I’ll be able to translate very easily,” Rice said.

Staying in the states paid off after Rice was kicked out of school.

“I didn't want to get too far. I just felt like the D-League was the closest route to the NBA. There’s a lot of scouts that came and watched the D-League games,” he said.

His postseason outburst raised eyebrows. In the regular season, Rice averaged 13 points and 6.2 rebounds but his playing time expanded when Andrew Goudelock was recalled by the Lakers. 

There were other benefits of D-League play, too.

“It taught a lot mainly because of the teammates, professional guys, a lot older guys. … I took out a lot for what they say and also what they do,” Rice said. “How they carry themselves. The D-League was a big steppingstone in my career.”

The Wizards traded for Rice on draft night. He wasn't taken until 35th overall, but that was more than good enough. He’s not taking anything personal with players drafted ahead of him.

“I didn't think I was going to be as happy as I was when it finally happened. You’re always going to feel (slighted). I was just happy to hear my name. You can’t get greedy,” he said. “As long as I heard my name I was fine. I was as happy as the first pick.

“I don’t need any extra motivation. … Even if I was picked No. 1 I would still have something to prove. I’m a competitive person. That’s motivation enough.”

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