Rice High School, the storied home of former stars like Kemba Walker, Andre Barrett, Felipe Lopez and Kenny Satterfield, is on the brink of closing.
“The school is in legitimate jeopardy of closing,” Rice assistant coach Kimani Young told SNY.tv Monday. “The school is exploring options to stay open.”
Young said officials were looking into moving the school to All Saints Middle School or Charles Middle School in Harlem.
“Those are the options being explored right now,” Young said.
Kashif Pratt, a former Rice and Seton Hall standout, told DimeMag.com that school officials had reached out to alumni, including Lopez, about helping to save the school.
“The school might be possibly reopening in a different location,” he said. “We’re calling investors, alumni, families companies, and we’re reaching out to Nike, the biggest shoe company in the world, seeing if they can help. We’re even reaching out to former NBA players who have played against Rice. Hopefully we’ll contact Felipe Lopez, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.”
Paterson (N.J.) Catholic shut down last June despite the fact that longtime NBA player Tim Thomas graduated from the school.
The basketball team splintered, with the top two stars, senior guard Myles Mack and junior guard Kyle Anderson, both landing at St. Anthony to play for Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley.
They went on to lead the Friars to an undefeated season and a mythical national championship.
Several other young stars landed at Hudson Catholic.
Rice graduated Jermaine Sanders (Cincinnati), Emmanuel Andujar (Manhattan) and Josh Gomez (Iona), but returns 6-2 junior shooting guard Melvin Johnson, who is considering Iona, among others.
The loss of Rice from the New York Catholic League would leave Christ the King and St. Raymond’s as the conference’s remaining powerhouses.
“It’s gonna affect the Catholic League negatively,” Pratt told DimeMag.com “It’s like taking the bottom team of the NBA D-League and bringing them into the NBA.”
Still, Pratt remains hopeful the school will survive.
“You got great players all around New York City,” he said, “but there’s no way you can talk about New York Basketball without talking about Rice.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.