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College Corner - Rice at the Hub of Elon's program

February 01, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

From 1999 to 2002, Scottie Rice was the snap, crackle and pop of the North Hagerstown boys basketball program.

He was the main ingredient in North's 22-4 record and run to the state tournament at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House in 2002. Rice finished with a 19.8 scoring average and earned a scholarship to Elon University in Elon, N.C.

Playing at Elon has allowed the junior a number of opportunities, especially since the school is about 30 miles east of Greensboro, N.C., and sandwiched between many of the Atlantic Coast Conference teams.

Those opportunities have contributed to Elon's 2-18 season, but the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder isn't letting the losses get him down.

"You can't," Rice said. "You just have to not let it get you down. If anything, I think it makes you work harder to succeed."

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With some injuries to key inside players, Rice has been asked to step up from his No. 2 guard spot and leads the Phoenix in scoring at 11.1 points per game. He also averages three rebounds, 2.5 assists and two steals, putting him on track to become Elon's all-time steals leader.

Elon's nonconference schedule has allowed Rice to be on the floor against Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Oregon State, Boise State and Weber State this season, all which have played in the NCAA Tournament in recent seasons.

"Playing people like Wake and N.C. State are good for us," Rice said. "We're not out to play mediocre teams just to pad the record. You take things from those games and learn from it."

When playing Wake, Rice was assigned the task of defending Justin Gray, one of the Demon Deacons' top players.

"I've been the 2-guard and sometimes I'll play the 3 against bigger people but I still have some of the point-guard mentality," Rice said.

Rice's game and philosophy has changed because of the change in coaches at Elon.

"The change (in coaches) was a little tough but but nothing I couldn't handle," Rice said. "Coach (Ernie Nestor) is good with people and we talk basketball and compare notes all the time."

Rice, who turns 21 on Feb. 20, said the biggest difference between the high school and college game has been the structure involved.

"In high school, I think I had more freedom," he said. "There is a lot more structure in college, and I really do like it."

Rice graduated from North as the school's career leader in points (1,110) and rebounds (641) and ranked second in assists. Rice averaged 10 rebounds, five steals and five assists per game in his senior year.

"Scottie was a complete, unselfish player that always went all-out," said North coach Tim McNamee. "He did so many things to win, even when he might not have been having a great scoring game. If not the best, he's right up in the top five of players I've coached."

Rice, studying business with a minor in sociology, says he'd like to keep playing beyond his college graduation.

"I'll have my degree when I get out and I'd like to keep my options open to play somewhere," he said. "If not, I know enough people to get going in the business world and make some money."




Men's Basketball


St. Maria Goretti graduate Marcus Hudson is averaging 7.6 points as a starter through 18 games at Shippensburg University. He's averaging three rebounds per game and had a season-high 24 points in a 77-70 win over Millersville on Jan. 6.

Thomas Johnson graduate Jermaine Thomas is second in scoring for the Explorers (5-12) at 12.0 per game and is pulling down four rebounds per game at LaSalle. The 6-2 junior guard leads the team in 3-point baskets with 36.

St. Maria Goretti graduate Joe Breslin, a 6-7 sophomore, is second on the squad with an 11.9 scoring average and is shooting 53 percent from the floor at Washington College. He also averages 6.4 rebounds.

St. Maria Goretti graduate Rodney Gibson is averaging 4.9 points through 17 games for St. Francis (Pa.), which is 10-7.

St. Maria Goretti graduate Matt Spierenburg is averaging 3.4 points and three rebounds in 13 games at Catholic University.

St. Maria Goretti's Derrick Davis has returned to the South Carolina State Univeristy lineup after missing four games with a shoulder injury. He is the Bulldogs' third-leading scorer at 9.7 points per game. SCSU (9-9) place at Maryland-Eastern Shore on Monday at 7:30 p.m.




Women's Basketball


Frederick graduate Ashley Bush, a 5-10 senior guard, leads Seton Hall (11-8) in scoring with a 12.9 average and is the team's second-leading rebounder with a 7.6 average. She is also averaging two steals through 19 games.

Smithsburg graduate Katy Powell is averaging 5.9 points and two assists through 18 games at McDaniel College (16-2).

Williamsport graduate Brooke Weimer is averaging 4.9 points and three assists at McDaniel College.




Indoor Track & Field


Boonsboro graduate Brett Morrell placed 13th in the 60-meter hurdles in Duke's opener at the University of North Carolina Fast Times meet.




Women's Swimming


Williamsport graduate Megan Knepper won the 100-yard backstroke in 57.63 seconds for The University of Maryland-College Park as the Terps (9-0, 5-0) defeated Duke on Friday.

Knepper, a senior, was also part of the 200-medlay relay team which won in 1:45.37 and the 200 freestyle relay team which won in 1:37.19.

On Saturday, Knepper led No. 12 Maryland past No. 15 North Carolina, 175-125. She won the 100 backstroke in 56.18 and the 200 backstroke in 2:01.13.




College Corner is a bi-weekly feature in The Herald-Mail. If there is a college athlete from the Tri-State area whom you would like us to follow, please send an e-mail to Tim Koelble at koelble@herald-mail.com

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