Can Rayvonte Rice Be A First Team Big Ten Player?

Very rarely these days do you see a dominant senior at the major college level. After all, most take off for an opportunity to get paid to play at the next level. However, Rayvonte Rice will be looking to use his experience at two different schools to become one of the best players in the Big Ten. Although most are not giving him much of an opportunity to be named one of the 5 best players in the conference this year, he is definitely going to have the opportunity to put up nice numbers.
Last year, Rice was able to fit in nicely for John Groce at guard. He spent his first two seasons at Drake, but when Groce took the head coaching job, he decided it was time to try his luck at a higher level.
Rice will spend the entire year playing at age 22, which should give him at least a slight advantage against most of the people he will be going up against. There is a lot of difference between the body of a 22-year-old compared to a 19 or 20-year-old. Having experience and toughness is what makes him so effective despite his relatively short size. Even though he is only 6’4” tall, he is able to get into the paint with relative ease and hide the fact that he is not a very consistent shooter. He was very consistent by fantasy basketball standards last year, averaging 15.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest while earning Honorable Mention all-league honors.
In order to be a first team Big Ten player, Rice is probably going to have to outplay Caris Lavert and/or Sam Dekker. The odds are stacked against Rice because those guys are not only good, but they project to be first-round NBA draft picks when they come out of college. Rice is not exactly getting the same type of professional hype, but he will be rewarded if Illinois plays above expectations.
Now that Groce has a lot of players on the roster he recruited, it is time for Illinois to start progressing towards the top of the Big Ten. They are projected to be about middle-of-the-road, but a fifth-year senior could put the team on his back and finish in the top five in one of the most loaded conferences in the game.