Ohio State offers scholarship to 2023 guard Ohioan Lawrent Rice

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra

A challenging start to his sophomore year has ended with a flourish for Lawrent Rice.

A 6-3 guard who started all but his first game as a freshman, Rice and his teammates from Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne had to endure a pair of COVID-19-induced quarantines that robbed them of all but two of their first 30 practice days. As a team, it ended with a loss in the district title game after a 17-5 season. As an individual, it has helped Rice earn a half-dozen scholarship offers.

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Monday night, it was Ohio State that officially joined the party when the Buckeyes offered him a scholarship in their 2023 recruiting class. Many more figure to follow as Rice continues a busy unofficial visit season, but this one was a cause for some celebration.

“It’s always a great day when your player gets an offer, but especially from Ohio State,” Wayne coach Nathan Martindale said. “That’s pretty big, especially in this area. We’re extremely thankful and obviously he’s extremely blessed to get that.”

As a sophomore, Rice led his conference with 5.1 assists per game. He was third in steals (2.1), fourth in shooting percentage (56.3) and averaged 13.8 points per game while becoming one of two sophomores to earn first-team all-conference honors.

247Sports.com ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in Ohio and the No. 70 national recruit in his class.

“He’s going to make the right basketball play nine out of 10 times,” Rice said. “His teammates, they love to play with him because even though he’s getting a lot of interest and obviously he’s getting offers, he makes everybody else better because he makes the right play and he’s not concerned with trying to score his points.”

As a freshman, Rice played primarily at shooting guard but moved more to the point as a sophomore. 247Sports lists him as a combo guard, but Martindale said he’s unquestionably a point guard at the next level.

This month, Wayne will participate in team camps each Friday and Sunday, Martindale said. Some are at high schools and others are at colleges, but Rice has been taking unofficial visits to other schools this month. It started with visits to Ohio University on June 3 and West Virginia three days later and will continue with a June 9 visit to Dayton and a Saturday unofficial visit to Louisville.

Monday, he’ll be at Purdue before visiting Ohio State on June 17.

“There really hasn’t been a day off for him,” Martindale said. “We always talk about enjoying the moment and just being where your feet are. (Tuesday), he was at (Wayne’s youth) camp and you wouldn’t know he got an offer (Monday) night from Ohio State because he’s so unassuming, he’s laid back, he’s humble.”

Rice is the third player to earn a scholarship from Ohio State in the class of 2023. Buckeyes assistant coach Ryan Pedon began recruiting Rice more than a year ago, Martindale said.

“They’re not allowed to call underclassmen but underclassmen can reach out to them at certain times,” he said. “We’ve had that relationship so Ryan called me and said usually they like to offer in person but they wanted to make sure that he knew he was obviously a priority for them. He wanted to make sure Lawrent knew that, so he called coach (Chris) Holtmann and we had a three-way call (Monday) night.”

In doing so, the Buckeyes joined a list that also includes Purdue, West Virginia, Ohio, Kansas State and Central Michigan. More schools are showing interest across the country, too.

“There are some schools that will talk to him like a North Carolina State, Syracuse, UCLA,” Martindale said. “We don’t necessarily have any unofficial visits with them, being a little bit further away, but I think with some of these offers that could change things with those schools even. I know Michigan State is really interested; I know Michigan is interested.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy