Work In Progress: Darius Rice
LAS VEGAS, July 7, 2007 -- The destination hasn’t changed for Darius Rice, just the highway he has chosen to drive in order to get there.
When the 2007 regular season tips off, Rice wants to be on an NBA roster. And that is why he is in Las Vegas at NBA Summer League presented by adidas as a member of the Cavaliers.
Rice is willing to do whatever it takes to make it to the NBA in the fall. And his performance on Saturday against the Spurs was a good place to begin.
Getting the start at forward, Rice led all scorers with 19 points as the Cavaliers did something they couldn’t do in last month’s NBA Finals – beat the Spurs.
Anyone who has seen him play knows that he can flat out shoot the rock. Rice’s long-distance prowess was on display inside Cox Pavilion as he made 7-of-13 shots, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. He also pulled down five rebounds in his 25 minutes on the court.
“I think I did all right,” said Rice, who played his college ball at the University of Miami. “I was relaxed out there and did what the coaches wanted me to do.”
Rice knows the formula needed to reach the big show. Now he simply needs to go out and execute it.
“I have to show everyone that I’m a hard worker,” Rice said. “When I’m out there, I give 100 percent and I’ll do whatever it is that a team needs.”
Although his jump shot is polished, he knows there is still room for improvement. In order to make it to the next level he has to get better on defense and continue to bang in the lane for rebounds.
“I need to work on my total game,” Rice said. “I have to be more physical in the post. I want to be in the NBA and hopefully I’ll get the chance.”
In the same way that when you say Clark Kent you think Superman or when you say Bill Gates you think Microsoft, when Rice’s name comes up people automatically think 2007 D-League Final.
The video tape of that game should be all that Rice needs to get a guaranteed roster spot.
In the title game against the Colorado 14ers, Rice, who played for the Dakota Wizards, scored a playoff-record 52 points in a 129-121 overtime win.
He made a ridiculous 11-of-19 3-pointers and finished 18-for-29 overall with seven rebounds.
At the very least a game like that merits an automatic invite to a team’s training camp. At the very least …