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adidas 3SSB: MJ Rice Battled Probable No. 1 NBA Draft Pick Cade Cunningham on Visit

Rice recently took official visits to Oklahoma State and Kansas and plans to take more after July.

HOOVER, Ala. – Of all the attributes that make MJ Rice one of the top prospects in the 2022 class, he counts his tenacious competitiveness chief among them.

“No matter what I want to compete,” Rice said. “I’m gonna always compete hard no matter what. That’s something you can always count on from me."

That’s why he jumped at the chance to play Cade Cunningham one-on-one during his official visit to Oklahoma State last month.
Cunningham was just the fourth freshman to win Big 12 Player of the Year and is projected to go No. 1 overall in this year’s NBA Draft, yet none of those facts rattled Rice the least bit.

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“Most guys would be too cool or to intimidated to play him,” Rice said. “But I pride myself in never backing down no matter who it is. I look at it like this: I either win or I learn, I never lose.”

For nearly an hour, Rice and Cunningham duked it out pushing each other to get better.

Eventually, Cunningham pulled out the narrow win, but Rice’s valiant effort earned Cunningham’s respect.

“He just told me I had ‘it’ and to keep going hard like that,” Rice said. “It was fun. He’s a great player, but I’m always looking for things to take in every experience. It was definitely one of the best parts of my visit. But I liked everything about Oklahoma State.”

Rice said Cowboys coach Mike Boynton feels like he can take the one-and-done path and broke down how he would come in and be featured in the offense.

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“I loved the vision they laid out for me,” Rice said. “I would be able to play to my strengths and showcase my full game. They were thorough. The facilities were great and they’re really a family down there. They’re all on the same page.”

Rice followed his visit to Stillwater with an official visit to Kansas.
He said “the vibe” was the key thing that stood out over the three-day trip to Lawrence.

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“Everyone really buys in there,” Rice said. “They work really hard, but they all really like each other too. I just liked the program overall. The fans there are great, and the coaches really showed me how much they want me there. These visits are the best way to get a feel for the schools, but they make it tough too.”

For now, Rice is focused on dominating the adidas 3SSB this weekend in Alabama.

So far so good after posting 25 points to lead Team Loaded (N.C.) past the Atlanta Celtics 87-63 on Friday.

Rice has a reputation for being one of the most physically imposing guards in the country, using his brute strength to overpower guards in the paint while also keeping them off balance with his efficient stroke from the perimeter.

Now, Rice is also sporting a more lean physique after dropping 12 pounds in June to prepare for the live period, making him visibly more fluid.

After the dust settles from the July live periods Rice said he’ll look to set up more visits.

“I’m not in a big rush to cut my list or anything like that,” Rice said. “I’m really taking my time with everything and staying open to everyone because this is such an important decision. No matter what, I’m going to make the best decision for me.”