Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 4/25/12

Coach John Groce landed his first recruiting victory as coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini today, as Rayvonte Rice is leaving Drake and coming home. The 6-4, 250-pound guard grew up in Champaign, Illinois and was the 2010 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year while playing for Champaign Centennial High School. Hopefully, this will help bring in this year’s Gatorade player of the year Jabari Parker.

Rice’s numbers with Drake: 16.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 1.9 SPG. He was the team’s leading scorer, but also shot just 24 percent from three-point range.

He’ll have to sit out this season, but will have two years of eligibility with the Illini. He will essentially take the roster spot vacated by de-committed point guard Michael Orris, from Crete-Monee. Orris was the only signee for the Illini from that November signing period. Hopefully, the addition of Rice will work out better than the last Illini guard transfer situation.

Sam Maniscalco started out strong, but injuries took their toll in midseason. Sam missed many games and was largely ineffective when he was in there during January and February. Rice picked Illinois over Xavier, the only other school he considered.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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