Darius Rice

Darius Rice fondly recalls uncle’s remarkable NFL achievements

As much as Darius Rice has been referred to as a basketball player blessed with size and phenomenal skills, he’s probably always been known because of the name of his uncle and former NFL great: Jerry Rice.

But he doesn’t appear to be bothered by that at all. Rather, he seems happy talking about the ex-wide receiver, who’s known as one of the greatest players to ever step onto the gridiron.

“I talk to (Jerry) all the time,” said Rice, a 208-cm forward for the National Basketball League’s Hitachi Sunrockers. “I saw him last summer. He came to Mississippi and we partied, went to my grandmother’s house. Me and him are like a close uncle-nephew relationship.”

And just like a lot of other children back when Jerry was a superstar for the San Francisco 49ers, Darius, now 31, grew up rooting for the team (and of course he didn’t like the Dallas Cowboys).

“I went to three Super Bowls,” Rice said with a grin. “When (the 49ers) beat the (Cincinnati) Bengals (in 1989), I was there. I went to when they beat the (Denver) Broncos (in ’90), and when they beat the (San Diego) Chargers (in ’95).”

Rice, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, added that he’d also go to see Jerry play when the 49ers came near his home state.

“I miss those days,” he said, smiling. “I was a young guy, I was meeting all these superstar players.”

Until he enrolled at the University of Miami, Rice was a two-sport athlete in basketball and football. In basketball, he was selected as a McDonald’s All-American in 2000, along with future NBA players like Zach Randolph and Darius Miles.

But Rice claimed that he was a better football player than a basketball player.

“I was fast, I was tall,” said Rice, who played wide receiver and free safety at Lanier High in Jackson. “I was exciting just like (Jerry). I think I use my football skills to play basketball, running and jumping stuff.”

Rice said that he quit football because he grew too tall, and focused on basketball at Miami, where he averaged 18.8 and 16.9 points as junior and senior, respectively.

After the time at Miami, Rice played in leagues all over the world, such as the United Arab Emirates, Puerto Rico, Bahrain, Uruguay and Venezuela, while he also had stints for three different clubs in the NBA Developmental League.

And Rice landed in Japan this season. Hitachi has struggled, posting a 17-27 record, fifth in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re getting better step by step as a team,” said Rice, who’s the team’s second-leading scorer (14.9 points per game) behind Jamar Smith (15.0). “I think as the season goes along, we’ve grown together. The more we stay together, the better we’ll get.”

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VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Darius Rice Scores 39 vs. Skyfall

Darius Rice scores 39 points (9-21 3PT) and grabs 11 rebounds vs. Skyfall.

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VIDEO: Darius Rice shops at The Foundry

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VIDEO: Darius Talks About His Big Game

Darius Rice talks about his 19 point, 13 rebound performance in the Legends' win.

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Darius Rice Scores 11 For D-LeagueTexas Legends

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The Texas Legends (8-5) fell to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (4-10) 107-97.

The Legends went into halftime up 51-47 but gave up 34 points and the lead in the third quarter. Texas was led by Christian Eyenga and Sean Singletary both with 22 points. Jared Cunningham tallied 18 points while Sean Williams and Darius Rice added 12 and 11 respectively.

The Mad Ants’ Orlando Johnson had a game high 24 points while Ron Howard added 23. Luke Harangody, newly acquired by Fort Wayne from the Canton Charge, boasted the game’s only double-double with 19 points and 18 rebounds.

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Darius Rice Dunking

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Darius Rice Seals The Victory

REIGNING champions Manama last night defeated fierce rivals Muharraq by 110-109 to send the Bahrain Basketball Cup Final to a third and deciding game.

Played out in an electric atmosphere in front of a partisan crowd of several hundred at the Zain Bahrain Basketball Arena in Umm Al Hassam, the two powerhouses went almost score-for-score for the duration of what was simply an epic battle but it was Manama who gained revenge for their defeat in the opening game on Sunday.

That win, by a margin of 76-71, meant Muharraq went into last night's match looking to seal the title but Manama were never going to give up on their crown without a monumental fight and they duly set their stall out from the opening exchanges.

After Mohammed Hassan opened the scoring with a well-taken three-pointer, Manama held the lead for much of the first period but Muharraq gradually clawed their way back into the equation.

Locked at 22-22 approaching the hooter, the final second of play in that opening 10-minute spell remarkably produced a further three points for both sides.

Play continued in much the same vein in the second quarter, with the class and sheer intensity on show only further reflecting the gap that exists between these two sides and the rest of the league.

Manama again opened up a valuable lead , that at one stage stretched out to 10 points, during that period but as in the first, Muharraq did enough to keep in touch and by the half-time break trailed by only 48-49.

Unlike in some of the more recent meetings between the two sides, in which Muharraq's discipline at times let them down, last night they looked a lot calmer and in control and that went a long way to ensuring they held a 79-78 lead heading into the final quarter.

Respective coaches Charlie Parker (Muharraq) and Ricardo Daniel (Manama) could only look on as the match pushed towards an energy-sapping conclusion.

That the match maintained its shape, pace and discipline is a credit to both sides and this was a result that was always going to be a heart-breaker for the team on the wrong end of the scoreline.

In the end it was a free-throw from Darius Rice that moved Manama into a three-point lead with only one second left on the clock and, despite a couple of points from the free-throw line from Ahmed Hassan and then a last-ditch long-range effort from Bader Abdulla that came agonisingly close, Manama held on for victory.

The free-flowing game saw top scores of 33 points for Muharraq's CJ Giles and 28 for Manama's Hassan Nourooz and means the two teams will return to the same venue to battle it out all over again on Sunday evening.

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Darius Rice Leads Team With 24 Points

MANAMA last night gained a significant psychological advantage ahead of the Zain Bahrain Basketball Cup Final with a dramatic 82-80 victory over bitter rivals Muharraq in their final match of the Top Six round-robin stage.

The two sides will meet again in the best-of-three finals series next month but last night's result will give reigning champions Manama a great boost of confidence in the build-up.

Despite both having already secured their places in the final before last night's fixture, this was never going to be anything less than a fierce encounter between the two superpowers of the Bahraini basketball scene.

Indeed, despite what might have been an understandable urge to keep something up the sleeve for the challenges ahead, the respective coaches both made their intentions clear by sending their strongest sides onto the court for the start.

For Muharraq's Charlie Parker that meant the introduction of the evergreen and indomitable Ahmed Malalla alongside talismanic American star CJ Giles, while for Manama and Argentine coach Ricardo Daniel, there was a welcome return for the imposing Ahmed Al Mutawa.

While not quite the bearpit atmosphere of the previous encounter between these two sides earlier this month, which Manama won by 92-88, last night's battle at the Zain Bahrain Basketball Arena in Umm Al Hassam got underway in explosive fashion.

That was down mostly to a Muharraq side, who scorched out of the blocks all guns blazing to race into 10-2 lead with two and a half minutes played.

That brought about an explosion of another kind as Daniel called a time out at that point and proceeded to let rip at his players.

It seemed to do the trick however, as, within a few minutes had overturned that deficit and actually led 17-14 at one stage.

Muharraq came back into things thereafter and edged to a 24-21 first quarter win but the tone was set for an epic tussle.

Things continued in a similar fashion in the second period, after which the Muharraq lead was down to 38-37.

The second half saw frustration filter into the Muharraq ranks once again, as occurred during recent defeats to Manama and Al Hala, and their opponents duly took advantage and control of the match in a commanding 64-51 lead.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, it looked as though Muharraq had shot themselves in the foot and Manama would go on to take the win with relative ease but they showed a determined side to them and stormed back into contention, with Giles, who scored 25 points on the night, leading the charge.

Pulling back to 80-82, Muharraq had one last throw of the dice but Darius Rice, who top-scored for his side with 24, gratefully snaffled a rebound and Manama held on for victory.

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Darius Rice Leads Team With 29 Points

MANAMA were yesterday back on track in their bid to retain the Zain Bahrain Basketball Championship with a hard-fought 84-78 victory over Al Ahli at Zain Basketball Arena in Um Al Hassam.

In an action-packed second-week tie, Manama made amends for their disappointing start to the competition last week when they suffered a 84-89 defeat to Sitra to bounce back and revive their title chances.

American professional Darius Rice was the star of the night for Manama, scoring 29 points, guiding his side for their maiden win in the six-team tournament.

Coached by Argentina's Ricardo Daniel, Manama were also inspired by some of Bahrain's best basketball players, including skipper Mahmood Ghuloom, Mohammed Hassan, Ahmed Abdulaziz, Mohammed Hussain, Ahmed Al Mutawa, Isa Ebrahim, Jassim Mohammed and Omran Abdulreda.

Al Ahli, on the other hand, were banking on their American import Johnny Antony who was the team's top scorer with 29 points.

Playmaker Hussain Shaker, along with Maytham Jameel, Sayed Hashim Habib, Hisham Sarhan, Mohammed Qurban and Mahdi Ashoor also spearheaded Al Ahli in yesterday's thriller.

The result saw both clubs tied with three points each from two matches in the six-team tournament, with three matches remaining to mark the end of the first half of this double round robin stage.

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Darius Rice Returns From Injury & Scores 27

MANAMA Club and Isa Town last night proved there is still plenty of life left in the round-robin stage of the Zain Bahrain Basketball League, as they faced off in a pulsating battle.

After an entertaining match in which momentum ebbed and flowed for much of the second half however, it was Manama who emerged with the most hard-fought of 75-71 victories.

The result means Manama keep the pressure on league leaders Muharraq, who must still register at least one win from their remaining three games to ensure top spot.

Isa Town meanwhile, although already qualified for the play-off phase, will be buoyed by their second-half showing, if not the result, heading forward to the business end of the season, which begins next month.

Darius Rice, who top-scored with 27 on his return from injury, was to the fore however, as the wily Manama outfit soaked up the pressure before ensuring the win with a couple of well-taken late scores.

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