His first name aside, one elite prep has shown signs that suggest becoming a Duke basketball player isn’t at all out of the question in his mind.
Any mention of “M.J.” represents one significant obstacle in arguing the Duke basketball program is greater than its rival, North Carolina. But the famous initials of UNC alum Michael Jordan, the majority pick as the game’s greatest of all time, could one day be music to the ears of all Dukies.
The introduction to a high school sophomore’s SI blog this week explains why:
“M.J. Rice is a five-star shooting guard in the 2022 class who combines elite athleticism, brute strength, and scoring ability on all three levels. This season, Rice was pumping in 25 points, nine rebounds, and two assists a game for Durham (N.C.) Academy before tearing his ACL in December. That production has everyone from Duke to Kentucky to Texas Tech to Pittsburgh, among many others, all in hot pursuit.”
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Marquise Rice Jr. — whose ranking on the 247Sports 2022 Composite happens to be No. 23, matching Jordan’s iconic jersey — was in attendance, by invite from Mike Krzyzewski, for Duke’s home loss to Louisville on Jan. 18. According to his blog, the unofficial visit checked several boxes:
“It was a great experience just being there. It was great to talk with Coach K, Coach Nolan (Smith), Coach (Jon) Scheyer, and the players. The atmosphere was great, and Coach K talked to me about how they’d been watching me and would continue to watch me and check in throughout my recovery. The staff there was so supportive, and they showed a lot of love.
“You can tell that it’s really a brotherhood there, so that’s what stood out to me the most.”
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No Crystal Ball picks are yet in for Rice. And he can’t take official visits until he’s a junior. In other words, though his current nine-deep list of offers doesn’t include one from Coach K, there’s still time for this M.J. to earn an invite to join #TheBrotherhood.
Per 247Sports, Duke hasn’t extended an offer to anyone from Rice’s class and is officially “interested” in only one other 2022 prospect: Cannon School (Concord, N.C.) five-star point guard Jaden Bradley.