Editor’s Note: I HAVE HEARD THE COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE BASKETBALL PLAYER REVIEWS NOT GETTING FINISHED
A notable difference in the relative attitude toward walk-ons between former coach Bryce Drew and current coach Jerry Stackhouse can be seen simply by looking at Isaiah Rice.
The 5’11” guard from Indianapolis appeared in two games in 2017-18 and four games in 2018-19, and logged a total of 12 minutes. What’s more, Rice never appeared in a game that was decided by a margin of less than 28 points. (That includes the Senior Night debacle against Arkansas in 2019, in which Rice appeared for one minute.)
In 2020, Rice exceeded that minutes total in a single game — in the last week of the regular season at Alabama, in which Rice played 15 minutes. On the season, Rice appeared in 16 games and played a total of 76 minutes, and oddly most of his action came in SEC play (though perhaps not so odd considering that Vanderbilt had a short bench following injuries to Clevon Brown and Aaron Nesmith.)
As far as what Rice did with his time on the floor, well, the answer is not much: he shot 3-for-8 on three-pointers, draining two at South Carolina (a 90-64 Vanderbilt loss) and also making one against Buffalo early in the season. And that was it for scoring, though he did also log three rebounds, three assists, and five steals.
Like fellow walk-on Jon Jossell, Rice seemed to function as a way to remind the scholarship players that even with a short bench, they couldn’t take their playing time for granted — though interestingly, two of his highest minutes totals came in games that Vanderbilt won.
Grade: B. Like the other walk-ons, he’s a limited player but at least he plays hard.