Boeheim’s Army opened up TBT with a win over Forces of Seoul, and it was a non-Orange who led the way. Tyrese Rice lit up the first round with 20 points to lead the Army scoring, plus 5 assists and a rebound. Rice’s clutch shooting highlights were the lead. Leading 58-52 in the 4th quarter, Rice launched from deep, banking it off glass for the three. He tilted his head and threw out his hands after it went in. That crept Boeheim’s Army closer to the win as 63 was the target score. Then leading 62-53, Rice was left open in the corner and drilled another three, sealing the game, 65-53. The 3-seed Army heads into the next round against 11-seed Heartfire on Monday night at 6p ET.
Unlike in previous years, there’s fewer former Syracuse players on the squad. Chris McCullough and Tyler Lydon have finally made their TBT debuts, but Rice may end up being one of their biggest pickups. The former Boston College star is an overseas basketball legend. Two weeks ago, The Fizz ranked the non-SU soldiers competing for the Army this year, and even there Rice was overlooked coming in 4th. Here’s what we wrote:
“Tyrese Rice played at Boston College for all four of his collegiate seasons between 2005 and 2009. During that stretch, he won ACC All-Freshman honors, and All-ACC three times. But Rice might be oddly unfamiliar because he was doing all that while Syracuse was still in the Big East. The bottom line is he won’t be a go-to shooter or scorer for Boeheim’s Army, but Rice will hold his own. He has eight international seasons under his belt despite taking this year off. As a pro, Rice averages 12.0 and 4.1 assists per game. His biggest contribution will be as a srappy guy diving for loose balls and moving the ball well. That role belonged to Eric Devendorf in the past, and still might. To have multiple guys willing to sacrifice their bodies is a huge advantage. But Devendorf can’t be the leading scorer and the scrappiest player.” – The Fizz, 7/7/21
Most considered another non-Orange as the key piece for Boeheim’s Army, DJ Kennedy. The Fizz documented at the beginning of July how B.A. added the greatest TBT player ever. Kennedy is the tournament’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and been named the MVP twice. But in round one, Kennedy didn’t play, opening the door for Rice. Tyrese is 34 years old and had a terrific international career. He is a former EuroCup MVP and FIBA Champions League MVP, some of the top honors in international hoops. Rice last played professionally in 2020 for AEK B.C. in Greece. He previously competed in TBT as a member of Team Challenge ALS in 2020. This YouTube profile is a tremendous inside look at Rice’s journey and what makes him tick.
Rice was a standout for Boston College and was named to the All-ACC Tournament team in ’07, but Syracuse fans may have no memory of that because the Orange were still in the Big East at the time. He went undrafted in the NBA, but had stints in the Summer League. He never landed on an NBA roster, so he headed overseas where he became a star. Rice was the ’18 Champions League MVP and overall won three championships and four MVPs. He may be stepping away from professional basketball, but he proved in TBT opener, he’s still a dangerous weapon.