By Joe Henricksen
Drake continues to make its presence felt recruiting the state of Illinois as Champaign Centennial's Rayvonte Rice committed to the Bulldogs Thursday evening. Rice will join Springfield Lanphier guard Karl Madison, who committed to Drake earlier this week, in Des Moines for the 2010-2011 season.
Rice, who some felt may play out his senior season and wait for the spring signing period as more and more schools were intrigued, felt Drake was the right place and the right time to commit. The 6-3 big-bodied wing, who has given up football to concentrate solely on basketball this year, helped lead Centennial to the Class 3A state championship last March.
Rice, whose skill level continues to improve, has a solid frame with strong shoulders and a wide base. He has a nice physical package, combining size, strength and athleticism to go along with a toughness that he showed time and time again during Centennial's state tournament run. Rice came up with key play after key play while scoring a team-high 21 points in the state championship game win over Oswego. He scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds in the state semifinal win over North Lawndale.
Now Drake, head coach Mark Phelps and assistant coach Kareem Richardson have set their sights on Rice's AAU teammate, 6-9 Jordan Threloff of DeKalb. The two played with one another this past summer with the Rising Stars program. If Drake were to land Threloff, the Bulldogs will have secured commitments from three of the Hoops Report's top 20 prospects in the Class of 2010.