Filling his most desperate need, Mike Rice got a commitment today from JUCO wing Chris Griffin out of the midwest. Griffin is 6'7" and is reportedly a do-it-all kind of player. He averaged just over 10 points a game and was rated the number 14 JUCO in the nation by jucorecruiting.com.
Jerry Carino quotes Griffin himself, saying, "I’m a big guard—I can shoot it, pass it, I can do everything. A lot of my strengths are things Coach Rice is looking for.”
Griffin is Rice's third commitment this year, following NY point guard Shane Rector and JUCO G/F Craig Brown.
The second JUCO is eye opening as both of them fit into the famous Mack class, giving Rice 8 juniors next year. Basically, Mike Rice is taking a now-or-never approach. Once that class graduates, there will be a huge hole on the roster, leaving--currently--only two players. Rice is showing his hand, and knows he needs to make the NCAA tournament now. If he does so, he'll get an extention, and should be able to recruit at a high level. If Rice doesn't make the NCAAs, he might not be around to see that class graduate anyway.
However, if Rice can only get next year's team to the NIT (or comparable) the waters start to get murky. One tends to wonder if the recruiting will pick up if the team only makes a slight improvement. Rice has to win and now.
This recruiting class is full at the moment, but it appears the Scarlet Knights are still chasing after Jon Severe (a NY guard who is blowing up in his senior year) and Adam Zagoria tweets they're still chasing Lennard Freeman, a power forward from Oak Hill. In order for either of those players to commit, someone has to transfer. Various news articles don't expect a transfer to be a key player.
Either way, a commitment is nice news on a dreary Monday after a weekend of tournament games not featuring Rutgers.
One hopes Rice's gamble pays off, and the streak is finally broken next year.