Virginia Tech fans received news that they and all in Hahn Hurst have been waiting for weeks to hear as Mike Young announced that Rodney Rice has been cleared to play and will make his debut against Syracuse.
#Hokies coach Mike Young said freshman Rodney Rice will make his debut against Syracuse: "We've been given the go ahead. Expect him to play on Wednesday"— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) January 9, 2023
Young announced the Rice news during the weekly ACC Coaches Media Teleconference after sharing earlier that veteran Hunter Cattoor would be a game-time decision. He had this to say on his plans for Rice in his debut.
To clarify: Young: "He's been full speed for the last five or six [practices***]. He's been really sharp."— David Cunningham (@therealdcunna) January 9, 2023
Young said the #Hokies will throw him to the fire around the 16/15-minute mark and see how it goes for Rice. Could be a "real shot in the arm for us," according to Young.
Even though Rice hasn't played yet this season, there's no doubt that he's a big time talent as one of the top 10 highest-rated recruits to ever sign with VT per 247 Sports who can immediately come in and provide a boost.
Part of the boost that Rice brings is simply the fact that he's a quality guard who can play at least 10 minutes allowing Tech to avoid having to play Sean Pedulla and Darius Maddox 38-40 minutes each while also allowing VT to maintain their preferred three-guard, two-forward lineup. The plan was also for Rice to be Tech's backup point guard in addition to coming in off-ball guard roles which gives Tech some much needed depth at the point that can help keep Sean Pedulla fresher playing 32-35 minutes instead of the 40 he played vs NC State.
Now it would be crazy to expect Rice to play more than 10-15 minutes right off the bat given his lack of games to date though if he sets the world on fire in Syracuse, then I don't think that'll be the case for long. However, there's no doubt that Rice is a big time talent who definitely boosts what this team can do even in a small role.
After two months of waiting, the highly anticipated debut of Rodney Rice is just about upon us as the Hokies look to right the ship and beat Syracuse to end their four-game losing streak.