It would have been easy to write off Glen Rice Jr as a lost cause back in February of 2012. After the junior was involved in a shooting incident outside of an Atlanta nightclub , Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory apparently had had enough and decided it was time for the school to cut ties with the troubled shooting guard, who was already serving a suspension from the team when the shooting incident happened.
Many assumed Rice would look to transfer to another school. He didn’t. Instead, after conferring with his father (former NBA star Glen Rice Sr.), he decided to take a path that makes him one of the more unique prospects in this summer’s NBA Draft.
After his dismissal from Georgia Tech, Glen choose to enter the NBA’s Developmental League Draft. He was taken in the fourth round by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets affiliate. Following one successful season in the D-League, in which he averaged 13.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, Rice might just be a prospect Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry considers selecting when the team is called to make their picks on June 27’s NBA Draft.
Rice proved he could be a good player, when given the chance to play. The NBDL rookie was not receiving much playing time in the beginning of the season. In fact, in the Vipers first 19 games of this season Glen was only playing an average of 12.5 minutes per game. In eight of those games, he saw less than 10 minutes of action. However, things started to change when the Vipers played the Springfield Armor on February 4. Glen made his first start and was outstanding, posting a monster double-double with 35 points and 15 rebounds in 40 minutes of play. He didn’t leave the Vipers starting lineup again.
- Stats as a Starter: 18.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 31 mpg, (started 25-games)
- Full Season Stats: 13.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, 23.7 mpg
The Rio Grande Valley Vipers would go on to be crowned the 2013 NBDL Champions, and it was Glen Rice Jr who was arguably the team’s best player throughout the six-game championship run, averaging 25 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals in the playoffs including averaging 29 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3.5 blocks in the D-League finals against the Santa Cruz Warriors.
Sidenote: The Santa Cruz Warriors featured two former Hawks: Hilton Armstrong and Jeremy Tyler. Armstrong, if you remember, was a member of the Hawks during the 2010-2011 season. He was called on during that season’s playoff win over Orlando. Armstrong did not disappoint, as he caused Dwight Howard frustration during his limited time. Tyler, meanwhile, was only with the Hawks for a limited time this past season after being acquired at the trade deadline. He is considered the second-best NBA prospect in the D-League.
If you are like me and saw Rice play while he was at Georgia Tech (I saw him 3 times in person), you will notice that he has filled out a great deal since then. He now stands at 6’6″ and weighs 215 pounds. That is one inch taller and nine pounds heavier than his playing days with the Yellow Jackets. When I watched the Vipers Game 1 victory in the NBDL championship series, I did not even recognize Glen. He passes the eye test and looks to have an NBA ready body.
He also proved that he can score the basketball. He has a beautiful, fluid shooting stroke and does a nice job getting his shot off quickly. Glen shows no hesitation attacking the basket and does a nice job filling his lanes and getting out on the fast break. His ball handling is solid. In fact, Glen ran the point for the Vipers down the stretch of their Game 1 victory over Santa Cruz.
There is a lot to like, but still some questions in Glen’s game.
He does not have a quick first step. According to his scouting video (coming up soon!), he was guarded a lot of times by the opposition’s small or power forward, players you would think he would have little trouble getting past. That was often not the case, unfortunately. Glen struggles off the dribble to get his shot off, sometimes settling for a jumper or taking a forced shot in the lane. Also, on defense, he is prone to losing his man and allowing easy baskets.
Check out the scouting video:
- 2:13 — Sick dunk over a planted defender. Perfect example of Glen’s fearlessness attacking the basket.
- 2:46 — Gives great help and gets a block, in the Vipers Game 1 win over Santa Cruz.
- 5:13 — Pretty pull-up three in transition. This was also the Game 1 win over the Warriors.
- 5:42 — Deep 3!
- 9:54 — Shows off his nice ball handling. Goes around his back while leading a break and freezes a defender, scores a nice layup.
- 11:05 — Gets blown by an opposing guard on the break (on the video, he says he needs to get acclimated to guarding guards again. This part of the video is an example).
- 12:13 — Brutal defensive sequence. He gives a weak close out on a shooter and then gets caught standing around as an opponent cuts right past him and sets a teammate up for an easy bucket.
- 15:36 — Just can’t get his shot off while trying to take his defender off the dribble. Ends up forcing a poor shot and showing off his slow first step.
One can only hope that Glen Rice Jr has put the troubles of his Georgia Tech days behind him. He seems to have the tools to contribute in the NBA, if he can keep his head on straight and stay out of trouble. I have not seen many mock drafts that forecast a return to his native Atlanta but, as always, only Danny Ferry knows.
It’s likely that Rice will be available when the Hawks are up to draft (most mocks have him going in the later stages of the first round). When he left Atlanta, many basketball fans in the city (myself included) thought Glen would never play another meaningful game here again. That’s not going to be the case, even if the Hawks choose to pass on Glen Rice Jr.