If you’re as big of a basketball fan as me, sometimes you like to mix your Big Ten viewership with a little bit of NBA action. From NBA veterans to rookies, it’s always fun to see former Big Ten succeed at the next level.
For this week’s roundup let’s take a look at how some former Big Ten players are performing in the professional leagues so far this season.
-Rayvonte Rice (Illinois Fighting Illini):
After playing last year in Italy with Verona, former Big Ten guard Rayvonte Rice has recently joined the French professional club team Aix Maurienne Savoie Basket. The 24-year-old averaged 13.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 29 games with Verona.
Rice is a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who is slightly undersized for his position at the professional level, but his 230-pound frame and wingspan makes up for his lack of height. Rice’s build and strength will make him a contributor on the boards and should give plenty of trouble to opposing players.
Rice is known for his scoring, after averaging 16.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds in his final season at Illinois. Rice can also stroke it from three, shooting 43.6% in his senior season.
He now joins Andre Williamson as the second American player to join Aix-Maurienne Savoie Basket. Each team in the French league is only allowed two American players on their team. Rice is unknown in the French league, but won’t be for long, as most Americans are usually the best players on their teams in the international leagues.
Rice is expected to play in his first game for Aix-Maurienne Savoie Basket when they take on Rouen Halle Marlioz on January 13th.
-Troy Williams (Memphis Grizzlies):
The Memphis Grizzlies announced that forward Troy Williams will rejoin them after a brief stint in the NBA Development League with the Iowa Energy. Williams appeared in three games for the Energy, averaging 24.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.67 steals in 27.8 minutes per game. He scored in double figures in all three contests, including a 32 point outing against Rio Grande Valley in his D-League debut.
The former Indiana forward has appeared in 24 games for the Grizzlies this season. Williams has put up decent stats when he’s been given the opportunity, averaging 5.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.00 steals in 17.4 minutes. His shooting hasn’t been the greatest, something he struggled with during his time at Indiana. He’s currently shooting 41% from the field and 24% from three. To make up for his shooting struggles, Williams has been a ballhawk on the defensive end, he’s currently leading all undrafted NBA rookies in steals per game.
Check in next week for more Big Ten updates from the professional leagues.