Rice "Blown Away" By Rennovation Plans

There has been no time off for Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice heading into his third season in charge of the program. Speaking with ScarletReport.com, Rice discussed his heavy offseason recruiting efforts and offered in-depth thoughts on the announced renovation of the Louis Brown Athletic Center.

Plans for a much-needed renovation of the Louis Brown Athletic Center have been in the works since Tim Pernetti took over as athletic director.

The Rutgers athletic department and the RAC, which houses the majority of athletics teams, received a huge boost two months ago with the announcement of renovation and expansion plans under Michael Graves & Associates.

The long-time home of Rutgers basketball, the RAC expansion and renovation means everything to third-year head coach Mike Rice.

"Tim Pernetti told me from the day he hired me that this was a major priority of his," Rice said. "All of the teams that are housed in this building, that use this building, are in his thoughts. It's just exciting to see it moving forward with Tim doing a great job for everyone."

The changes to the RAC will not come overnight and, much like the recent expansion of Rutgers Stadium, requires revenue and continues planning.

In terms of its effect, Rice said it gives everyone a much needed boost in terms of facilities, recruiting and buzz around the respective basketball teams.

"It's slowly but surely coming" Rice said. "The architects, we've all met with them. We've seen some initial [planning]. I get blown away, so excited about recruiting and playing in this building that they're designing. It's going to take time. It will need juice to get this thing moving. ... You have to get some revenue and resources to make it happen, but it's going to happen."

Both Rutgers basketball programs have a recent history of impressive recruiting classes. With the facilities improving to compare more favorably with other Big East programs, Rice expects recruiting to benefit.

"It certainly helps to be able to show our recruits what the RAC is going to be," Rice said. "It gets me excited to just talk about it and it's going to be great for our program."

Rice showed in his first year as head coach that recruiting would not be an issue at Rutgers. Signing the highest rated class in school history, Rice brought in three top-rated guards and two former McDonald's All-Americans in Myles Mack and Kansas State transfer Wally Judge.

But after a year away from recruiting in 2012 with no scholarships opening until the transfers of Gilvydas Biruta and Austin Carroll, it has been an adjustment to recruit a strong Class of 2013.

Rice sees the off-year in 2012, however, as a great advantage because of the head start Rutgers has on 2013 players.

"What we did last summer was not normal," Rice said. "What we did last summer, we didn't have senior so we focused on these underclassmen in 2013. We're very fortunate to have Wally and Vincent in my class this year, but that ultimately that is paying off with some of the early work with the younger [2013 and 2014] kids."


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