While more hype surrounded D.J. Kennedy and DeAndre Kane joining Boeheim’s Army, Tyrese Rice was the most important addition, at least for one game. Rice filled a hole frequently missing from previous teams assembled by the Army – a point guard who can both shoot from beyond the arc and drive to either score or set up teammates.
Rice, 34, played college basketball at Boston College, and has found success across Europe, Asia and in the G League, and most recently as a member of Team Challenge ALS in The Basketball Tournament in 2020. In the less structured style of basketball featured in the TBT, dynamic guard play is paramount and Rice provided it. Look for him to be more assertive from the tip starting on Monday.
While he had an off day shooting the ball, Kennedy was a true team player, grabbing nine boards and adding a couple assists while making other savvy passes that did not earn a place on the stat sheet. Kane, who previously played with Kennedy on Overseas Elite, also showed a well-rounded game with seven points, eight boards (four offensive), two assists, and two steals in 18 minutes.
The Army impressed by logging a 47-32 rebounding advantage against a bigger team, including 18 offensive boards. Tyler Lydon and C.J. Fair each had three offensive boards, the latter in just ten minutes of play.
The starting five of Rice, Richardson, Kennedy, McCullough, and Lydon should hold for the tournament, pending health. Lydon filled the dirty work role with McCullough the primary post threat, gaining an advantage on multiple occasions via strong screens that forced defensive switches.
While it was just one game and Boeheim’s Army trailed for over half the timed 32 minutes, Kane is the only player who looks to have a major role off the bench, although Fair played pretty well in his brief time. Andrew White III looks destined for an instant offense bench role and neither Eric Devendorf or Keifer Sykes impressed in their backcourt minutes, each committing a pair of turnovers in limited time.
NEXT UP: Boeheim’s Army will play Team Heartfire on Monday at 7:00pm Eastern with ESPN2 televising the game. Tevin Mack had 16 points and Jared Wilson-Frame 15 via five three-pointers for Heartfire in their 78-65 victory over the Overlooked. Heartfire pounded the Overlooked on the glass, holding a 45-25 rebounding edge while shooting 48 percent overall and 40 percent on three-pointers (12-of-30).