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Three alumni join Board of Trustees
By Hannah Marr, News Editor • June 21, 2024

Coach, players keep quiet on Rice

As speculation grows about the sudden departure of GW men’s basketball star Maureece Rice, the team’s coach and players refuse to offer a glimpse into the Philadelphia native’s conflict with the squad.

The University announced Thursday that Rice, a senior, was kicked off the team for “failing to adhere to a team rule.” Coach Karl Hobbs refused to comment beyond the official statement after the game against Charlotte that night.

“Did you read the press release? What did it say?” Hobbs said when questioned about Rice. When asked about if Rice was still enrolled, he replied, “Next question.”

Hobbs suspended Rice, a four-year scholarship player, two previous times this season, and officials at the time cited a “team rule.” They would not offer any further clarification.

Rice did not respond to messages or knocks to his residence hall door as of press time.

Teammates Jabari Edwards, Cheyenne Moore, Joseph Katuka and Wynton Witherspoon also would not comment on what happened to the shooting guard, though Witherspoon said he figured Rice’s dismissal was because of a compilation of things.

“One thing won’t get you kicked off a team, I don’t think,” Witherspoon said Sunday night in his Francis Scott Key residence hall room. “I was a little surprised (he got kicked off) that late in the season, with two games left.”

Witherspoon added that he did not see Rice often even when he was on the team since they live on different floors, but Moore, who lives three rooms down from Rice, also said he has not seen Rice recently.

Rice, who broke Wilt Chamberlin’s high school scoring record in Philadelphia, had always been somewhat of an enigma – perenially quiet and reserved. He bounced between several high schools before Hobbs brought him to GW.

Problems appeared to start to rise early in the season, when Hobbs used Rice as a replacement for point guard Travis King, who was forced to miss the entire season after tearing his ACL in August. Rice did not seem to be happy in his new role, as he is a shooting guard by nature and spent the past three years focused on knocking down shots.

Before the season began, Hobbs said Rice was going to have to step out of his shell in order to lead his team, something easier said than done for someone as quiet as Rice. Hobbs said he was not entirely sure how Rice would assimilate into that role but that he had faith that Rice would eventually become more comfortable as a leader.

But Rice never seemed to embrace that role. Instead, Rob Diggs stepped up to the job as a floor leader, as the team’s top scorer and also the player receiving the most attention off the court.

-Dan Greene and Eric Roper contributed to this report.

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