Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — If it weren’t for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, Mike Rice figures he’d be fast asleep by the time midnight rolls around.
Instead, the Rutgers coach will be awake watching the end of the game, just in time to start texting recruits beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
“Now that the game’s on, I’m going to stay awake and watch the game,” Rice told SNY.tv Thursday at Rutgers. “It’s going to end at midnight. I’ll say, ‘What did you think about the game?’ I’ll communicate tonight with probably a dozen or so guys.”
Thanks to a new NCAA rule, coaches will be allowed to send unlimited phone calls and text messages to rising juniors and seniors beginning Friday.
Rice figures to reach out to players like Rondae Jefferson and Kris Jenkins, two 2013 stars who recently visited Rutgers, and possibly 2014 guard Shep Garner of Philadelphia Roman Catholic, who was on campus to watch a team workout Thursday. 2015 Trenton Catholic guard Malachi Richardson will also likely visit Tuesday, but coaches cannot call him.
Not all the players are fired up about the new rule.
“I’m not really excited about it,” 2013 guard Aaron Harrison told Evan Daniels of Scout.com. “It’s kind of stressful, but I’m sure I can handle it.”
Harrison also told Daniels he is still considering Kentucky, Villanova, Baylor and Maryland and plans to decide on he and his brother’s birthday, Oct. 28.
As for Rice, he says he’s been recruiting his targets for several years and isn’t worried about them not responding to his texts and calls.
“It’s different for the BCS schools,” Rice said. “We’re so far ahead of the low-major to mid-majors as far as recruiting because if we start recruiting someone their junior year, we have no chance. I’ve been talking to these kids for two years now.”
He added: “So I should know who should respond back to me. If I don’t know who’s not going to respond, I’m not doing my job very well.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.