``They definitely stepped it up," Sosa told Scout.com prior to the news conference. "They told me the starting spot would be open and it depends on how hard I'd work."
Sosa's brother Eric confirmed that a 4 p.m. news conference is scheduled at Rice on Thursday.
Sosa told Scout.com that the Cardinals were the clear-cut leader. Two weeks ago, his final three were Louisville, N.C. State and Miami.
Sosa eliminated Miami after the 'Canes picked up a commitment from 2007 point guard Edwin Rios and then told Scout.com that N.C. State was out of the picture. UConn was a possibility, but Sosa was a heavy lean since Louisville coach Rick Pitino offered a scholarship while on a trip to Rice High in April.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals moved swiftly to get this done. Sosa helped the Gauchos win a recent tournament championship in Dallas and has had a very good spring AAU season.
Pitino's recent hiring of Manhattan assistant Steven Masiello didn't hurt the Cardinals chancs with Sosa, either. Masiello has done a good job establishing a connection with Rice players, landing former Rice stars Jason Wingate and Arturo Dubois while at Manhattan.