After completing his sophomore year at Durham (N.C.) Academy, M.J. Rice told SI All-American on Tuesday that he plans to spend his final two seasons at Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.).
“I’m just the type of player that’s always looking push myself and raise my level on the court, mentally and physically,” Rice said. “Oak Hill will help me in every way from the travel to the practices to school because it’s a college-like routine. That’s the biggest reason I decided to transfer; I want to take it up to another level.”
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This past season, Rice, one of the top players in the 2022 class, averaged 25 points, nine rebounds and two assists a game for the Cavaliers. He tore his ACL at the Seahawk Classic in late December and underwent surgery on Jan. 27.
He is expected to return to the court later this year.
“My rehab is going great,” Rice said. “I was just cleared to run so I hope to be getting my bounce back sooner than later. The whole situation has taught me a lot about mental strength. I know it’s gonna make me so much better as a player.”
Rice joins a star-studded backcourt that will include Syracuse commit Dior Johnson, a point guard who will transfer to the Warriors from Mayfair (Lakewood, Calif.), and Zion Cruz, a shooting guard who will transfer to the Warriors from Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.).
“I love MJ's versatility, his feel for how to play, his athleticism , his ability to play and guard multiple positions,” Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said. “MJ can score the ball, but is so unselfish, he just wants to win; really defends and rebounds his position. MJ's work ethic puts him above other players that are supposed to be his equal.”
Rice said the lure of preparing alongside other elite players daily and competing with them in games was a no-brainer for his development.
The Warriors finished at No. 7 in the final ESPN 25 high school basketball rankings with a 37-3 record.
“I want to be in the best situation possible to be prepared for the next level,” Rice said. “Oak Hill is the best of everything, and I feel like this is the best move for me to become the player I want to be.”