Rice University, located in Houston, Texas, may not be the first name that comes to mind when discussing basketball powerhouses. However, this prestigious institution has produced its fair share of exceptional basketball talents who have made a significant impact on both the college and professional levels. In this article, we will delve into the profiles, statistics, and illustrious careers of the ten best basketball players to emerge from Rice University.
- Morris Almond, a shooting guard, played for Rice from 2003 to 2007. Known for his incredible scoring ability, Almond became Rice’s all-time leading scorer with 2,208 points. He showcased his skills in the NBA, playing for the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, and Orlando Magic.
- Mike Wilks, a point guard, graced the Rice University courts from 1997 to 2001. Despite his modest stature, Wilks possessed lightning-quick speed and excellent court vision. He enjoyed a successful NBA career, playing for several teams, including the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Houston Rockets.
- Ricky Pierce, a small forward, played for Rice from 1977 to 1982. Known for his scoring prowess, Pierce averaged an impressive 26.1 points per game during his senior year. In the NBA, he made a name for himself as a versatile scorer, earning two Sixth Man of the Year awards and playing for several teams, including the Milwaukee Bucks and Seattle SuperSonics.
- Greg Williams, a forward, showcased his skills at Rice from 1980 to 1984. Renowned for his exceptional athleticism, Williams recorded 1,653 points and 725 rebounds during his college career. He went on to play for the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs in the NBA.
- Brent Scott, a power forward, dominated the college scene from 1985 to 1989. A force in the paint, Scott became Rice’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,295 boards. His career continued in the NBA, where he played for the Atlanta Hawks and Vancouver Grizzlies.
- Arsalan Kazemi, a forward, represented Rice from 2010 to 2013, leaving an indelible mark on the program. Hailing from Iran, Kazemi displayed exceptional versatility and tenacity, averaging a double-double during his senior year. Though his NBA career was brief, he became the first Iranian-born player to be drafted in the NBA.
- Rodney McCray, a forward, donned the Rice uniform from 1979 to 1983. A defensive stalwart, McCray also showcased offensive prowess, recording 1,922 points during his college tenure. In the NBA, he played for the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, and Dallas Mavericks, earning an NBA All-Star selection.
- Jim Williams, a center, dominated the Rice University court from 1961 to 1964. Renowned for his shot-blocking ability and rebounding prowess, Williams led the Owls to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Although he didn’t have an extensive NBA career, he left an indelible mark on Rice basketball.
- Michael Harris: Michael Harris, a power forward, showcased his skills from 2001 to 2005. Known for his physicality and rebounding prowess, Harris recorded 1,399 points and 894 rebounds during his college career. He had a brief stint in the NBA with the Houston Rockets before embarking on a successful international career.
- Mike Harris, a forward, represented Rice University from 2001 to 2005. A consistent scorer and rebounder, Harris tallied 1,726 points and 952 rebounds during his college tenure. His NBA career included stints with the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, and other teams, and he later found success in international leagues.
Rice University, despite not being known as a basketball powerhouse, has produced a remarkable roster of talented players who have made their mark in both college and professional basketball. From Morris Almond’s scoring prowess to Ricky Pierce’s accolades, each player on this list has brought recognition and success to the university. These individuals exemplify the dedication, skill, and passion that define Rice basketball, leaving a lasting legacy in the sport.