Posted Thursday, March 6, 6:05 p.m., Updated 10:35 p.m.
Senior Maureece Rice was kicked off the GW men’s basketball team, the University announced Thursday evening.
In a news release sent to members of the media shortly before the Colonials faced Charlotte in North Carolina Thursday evening, men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs said the 6-foot-1 Philadelphia native was dismissed for failing to adhere to team rules. Rice did not make the trip to Charlotte.
|Statistics from Rice’s Collegiate Career|
The shooting guard, known famously for breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s Philadelphia high school scoring record, was suspended twice earlier in the season, in the Colonials’ games against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Nov. 24 and Longwood University Dec. 23 for breaking an unspecified team rule. Rumors began circulating in December that the Philadelphia native had chosen to leave the team but he played in GW’s loss at the University of Alabama Dec. 28.
Before the game, Hobbs refused comment through a spokesperson. After the game, a 77-61 loss, Hobbs again refused to comment on the situation, only confirming that Rice is no longer on the team. Hobbs would not say when Rice stopped practicing with the team or when he was actually kicked off. Junior Wynton Witherspoon also refused to comment.
Since Atlantic 10 play began on Jan. 10, Rice’s scoring patterns have been erratic. He started all 22 contests he played in and is fourth on the team in points averaged with 9.6 per game. He has been held scoreless on four occasions, including three times in the past month, but also scored 22 points against then-No. 20 Xavier in mid-January and 17 at St. Bonaventure in mid-February.
Problems appeared to start to rise early in the season, when Hobbs used Rice as a replacement for point guard Travis King, who was forced to miss the entire season after tearing his ACL in August. Rice did not seem to be happy in his new role, as Rice is a shooting guard by nature and spent the past three years focused on knocking down shots.
Rice has been one of the team’s more enigmatic players in his four years on Foggy Bottom, always quiet and always eager to duck the spotlight. He told The Hatchet last year that he used to dislike interviews. He bounced between several high schools during his youth.
Rice won the A-10 sixth man of the year award two seasons ago, when he averaged 15.8 points per game for a Colonials team that went 27-3 and undefeated in the conference.
Before the season began, Hobbs said Rice was going to have to step out of his shell in order to lead his team, something easier said than done for someone as quiet as Rice. Hobbs said he was not entirely sure how Rice would assimilate into that role but that he had faith that Rice would eventually become more comfortable as a leader.
But Rice never seemed to embrace that role. Instead, the job seemed to fall to junior Rob Diggs, who became a floor leader as the team’s top scorer and also the player receiving the most attention off the court.
Dan Greene contributed to this report from Charlotte.