Fresh off leading the RGV Vipers to an NBA D-League championship, Glen Rice began hitting the NBA Draft Combine circuit this week, working out for and/or interviewing with a slew of NBA teams.
Despite having been dismissed from Georgia Tech following his junior year due to disciplinary reasons, Rice Jr. took the otherwise untraveled path of playing in the D-League this past season as he aimed to mature as a man while improving his game.
In the minors, he fought his way to the top this past season, emerging as much more than the bench warming backup he started out as following last fall's NBADL Draft. From there, Rice Jr. worked his way up, even earning a "Top Player of the Week" award in the D-League en route to becoming a starter for Rio Grande Valley.
His minutes increased as the Vipers trusted him with a much more important role. After playing professionally for a year and competing against NBA assignees and other players on the cusp of making it to The Association, it's clear Rice Jr. may have a leg up on other draft prospects with regard to competing at the big league level.
Because of his past, he's already had to prove his progressed maturity to NBA teams. What's more, after playing in a league that's so close to the NBA game, Rice Jr. won't need to worry about adjusting to any and all rule changes young prospects usually have to pay closer attention to.
Though as many as five NBA teams have reportedly already spent time with the swingman, the Mavericks are not said to be one of them.
But perhaps they should be.
While Rice Jr. has certainly had to overcome obvious obstacles en route to becoming an NBA Draft prospect, he still fits the mold of the type of player the Mavericks are looking for. The fact that he's had to overcome so much already may actually give him more credibility with regard to his recent maturation. Dallas is aiming to reel in more experienced players, a la Bernard James and Jae Crowder from last season.
With more professional experience than just about any other prospect out there, Rice Jr. should stand to be a leading candidate in that category for the Mavericks. His maturity and recent experience should propel him there.
It'll be interesting to see if Dallas picks up on this in the coming weeks.