30 Minutes With King Rice, Part III

On June 1, 2006, King Rice joined the Vanderbilt Men's basketball program as an assistant coach. Rice previously coached with Stallings at Illinois State University from 1994 to 1998. Recently, I talked with him about his decision to come to Vanderbilt. Today, in part three, I ask one more recruiting question before getting on to other issues.

In part one, Coach Rice discussed his reasons to get back into coaching and to come to Vanderbilt. In part two, he addressed recruiting issues.

VandyMania.com: Last year, Vanderbilt lost out in the recruiting process with Brandan Wright to your alma mater. In his press announcement, he indicated the Tar Heels' up-tempo style of play as his major deciding factor. Wednesday night, June 28 at the NBA draft, the ESPN analysts commented on the "Princeton offense" not allowing top stars the chance to showcase their talent and best use their skills. Whether or not that is true, recruits all over the nation saw that analysis and many will be influenced by what they heard. How difficult is it to convince top 50, five-star talent to consider playing in a system that is getting this type of publicity?

King Rice: With Coach Stallings as our head coach, I feel like we should be able to recruit any kid in the country. Concerning our style of play, some colleges and some NBA teams use it, and I think that (recruiting difficulties) is some people's perception about the Princeton offense. Coach Stallings can coach any style—Princeton, up-tempo, or walk-it-up-the-floor and run a set play every time. I think if we continue to work and improve and keep getting better players, maybe we will play up-tempo. I think it's smart to pick your spots. If you have a team that fits with a fast style, then you can play a fast style. If you have a team that fits a different style, then you have to play that style.

VM: Besides recruiting, where do you think you will concentrate your on-the-floor coaching duties?
KR: The perfect fit would be to work with the guards, because I played point guard at North Carolina. I've always worked with guards. This past year, being down in North Carolina, I got to watch Coach (Roy) Williams work with the big men, and I'm hoping that I get some time to work with the big men as well.

VM: What do you remember about your experience of playing Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym in your freshman year at North Carolina in December 1987?
KR: It wasn't very much fun. I remember coming into Memorial Gym and losing when we were number one in the country. I thought that they beat us a lot worse, and that was because of the gentleman who sat behind the visiting bench (Vandy Lance) who let us know the whole night how bad we were. I heard that he's still there, so I can't wait to meet him. He definitely ruffled a couple of feathers, and I'm hopeful that he continues to ruffle feathers on the visiting coaches, because it wasn't very much fun.

I remember Will Perdue having a great game. Barry Goheen hit a lot of great shots and had a great floor game, and Barry Booker had a great game as well. They just outplayed us, and the coach (C.M. Newton) did a great job in scouting us because they had a great game plan.

In the fourth and final installment, Coach Rice let's us get a peek at his recruiting approach. I tried to surprise him with a hypothetical question he wasn't expecting, and he responded with a terrific answer that proved to me he is more than ready to help land highly-rated recruiting classes in Black and Gold land.

Part I Part II Part III Part IV


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