Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:56 pm

Drake suspends two players after shoplift charge

By Matt Norlander

Respect the Drake.

The program indefinitely suspended point guard Rayvonte Rice (right) and senior Kurt Alexander Friday after both were arrested Wednesday night for shoplifting, according to the Des Moines Register.

Rice and Alexander were caught attempting to break the law at Scheels Sporting Goods in West Des Moines.

School athletic director Sandy Hatfield told the Register in a statement, "We are aware that two members of our men’s basketball team face allegations of petty shoplifting. The decision made by these young men is not reflective of the expectations of character and responsibility to which we hold all student-athletes. The student-athletes have been suspended immediately from all team activities. We will allow for the continuation of the legal process before making further comment or determining the length of suspension, and any further action on the matter. Discipline and consequences will be determined consistent with the Drake University Student Code of Conduct and expectations."
Rice, a sophomore, averaged a team-best 13.8 points per game last season and led the team is steals and blocks. Last week, we wrote about Rice's superb freshman year that led to him being courted by a number of BCS schools. He shrugged those suitors off, however, and remained loyal to coach Mark Phelps.

Soon we'll find out how tough Phelps will be toward his young star, who will likely be vital to Drake's success in the Missouri Valley this season.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 29, 2011 12:50 pm

Rayvonte Rice remains loyal to Drake

By Jeff Borzello

Drake head coach Mark Phelps had to fight off several high-major schools for Rayvonte Rice when he came out of high school.

The past few months, Phelps unexpectedly had to do the same thing.

“We had to fight off some unscrupulous people here in the offseason to keep him,” Phelps said.

Rice averaged 13.8 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Bulldogs during his freshman campaign, leading major-conference schools to make a run at him.

“It’s what happens in college basketball,” Phelps said. “Every time a guy has a good year at this level, there’s indirect contact from other places. You know, people saying, ‘If you were to transfer, so and so would be interested.’ And it spreads like wildfire.”

In some cases, the player listens to the hype and makes the move to a bigger conference for the rest of his college career. Brandon Reed went from Arkansas-Little Rock to Georgia Tech two years ago, while Brandon Wood recently moved from Valparaiso to Michigan State for his fifth year.

To Rice’s credit, he never entertained the idea of leaving Drake.

“It was never initiated by him, it was innuendo and rumor,” Phelps said. “He was true the whole time. Every time it came up, he would squash it. ‘Coach, this is my place, this is where I want to be.’ We put out the little fires, so it was never a threat.”

If Drake is to make a run in the Missouri Valley this season, Rice will be the key factor. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard averaged more than 20 points per game on the preseason trip to Australia, leading the team in scoring. He uses his strength to score going to the rim, but he also shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range last season.

Phelps is confident his go-to-guy could play in any league.

“He’s better than the Valley,” Phelps said.

Fortunately for Phelps, Rice will continue to show that while in a Bulldog uniform.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 24, 2011 5:07 pm

Trippin': Injury-riddled Drake goes to Australia

In our Trippin’ series, we’re talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click here for all Trippin’ related stories.

By Jeff Borzello

Drake head coach Mark Phelps caught flashbacks when he saw video of the brawl between Georgetown and China.

Twelve years ago, Phelps went to Italy when he was an assistant at North Carolina State – and the same thing happened. With no security around, an all-out brawl ensued for at least two minutes before two Americans on the Italian team escorted NC State to the locker room and then the team bus.

“It was a zoo, it was a bad scene,” Phelps said. “You show up to a gym, there’s nothing familiar about the venue that makes you have any level of comfort. The crowd is against you, you’re not getting one call and you don’t know what their team is comprised of. You’re thinking, ‘Man, what are we getting ourselves into?’”

There were no fights or brawls during Drake’s trip to Australia this month – and that was a good thing for more than just safety. The Bulldogs were without four of their best inside players, leaving small forward Ben Simons to play the post.

Phelps thinks the 1-3 trip Down Under will help in the long run, though.

“There will be residual benefits,” he said. “Players had to play out of position, so we got see how they react to adverse situations – situations, toughness-wise, that we wouldn’t see until January or February. It was a really good experience.”

What Phelps learned: “It was confirmed that we can really rely on Rayvonte Rice and Ben Simons. As a sophomore and junior, that will be our strength. In our league, they’ll be as good of a one-two punch as there is. I think that’s what we really learned more than anything – those two will be dependable, reliable, our go-to-guys.”

What impressed him: Wing scoring – “Rayvonte Rice is on an upward path, and he did exactly what I expected from him. He averaged over 20 a game, Ben Simons had about 17.5 per game. I’m really happy to see those two guys scoring, we’re really going to rely heavily on those two guys. Jeremy Jeffers, a 6’6 wing, averaged right around 10 points a game. Going into his freshman year, he’s got a big-time headstart on any other freshman.”

What concerned him: Physicality and defense – “It’s not really fair, because we were missing so many guys with size, but in order to win in the Missouri Valley, you have to compete physically. We were outmanned – once again, you’re talking about pros in their 20s and 30s and we didn’t have our bulk and size – nevertheless, it’s something I can point to and say, we have to compete at a higher level. We’re not where we want to be defensively. Other teams shot 53 percent – it’s another thing you can point to and talk about.”

- Returning starters Seth VanDeest (shoulder surgery) and Jordan Clarke (knee), as well as key reserve Frank Wiseler (illness), did not suit up at all on the trip. Reese Uhelenhopp started the first game, but left the game with a thumb injury and did not play the rest of the time in Australia.

- Kraidon Woods – a former Villanova commit, Arizona State signee and Binghamton transfer – did not travel with the team due to disciplinary reasons. “We had an agreement,” Phelps said. “And he was on-course before falling off at the end. But I had to stick with my word. It should be a wake-up call for him.”

- Point guard play is another area of concern for Phelps. Karl Madison, who redshirted last year due to injury, could take the reins later in the season, but David Smith shouldered most of the load on the trip. “We’ve got some question marks there,” Phelps said. “We’ll hone in on that in the fall.”

- Drake plays Iowa State in the second game of the season, a game Phelps has had circled on his calendar. “That’s going to be a big game,” he said. “The experience we had prepares us to play Chris Allen, Royce White, Chris Babb. As opposed to opening up at home in a situation . . . we do have four games under our belt. We don’t have a false sense of security going into the opening games.”

- Drake had 18 practices or workouts as a team because of the trip. “That’s 18 workouts you wouldn’t typically get with your team,” Phelps said. “It’s such a head start. Definitely beneficial on so many levels.”

- The team certainly took some time to take in the sightseeing spots in Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne. The Bulldogs went on a Sydney Harbour cruise; saw koalas and kangaroos at a wildlife reserve; and one player even climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

CBSSports.com’s list of teams taking preseason trips

Photo: Drake Athletics

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 2, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: June 2, 2011 12:26 pm

Recruiting Notebook: Sam Mader finds way to shine

Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – For Sam Mader, there are positives and negatives to being on a team with North Carolina-commit J.P. Tokoto, Wisconsin-bound Sam Dekker and 2013 stud Bronson Koenig.

“I do feel like I get overshadowed,” Mader said. “But it’s a team game, and they’re great players. I still feel like I get looks, because people are coming to games. It doesn’t affect me.”

Mader, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Appleton East (Wisc.), made his presence known over the weekend at the Tournament of Champions. He is a good high- and low-post big man, with the ability to pass to teammates from the free-throw line or make plays around the rim with his back to the basket. Mader has good hands and makes himself available with good positioning.

Several high-majors – like Minnesota, Northwestern, Oregon State and Stanford – have shown interest in Mader in the past, but he mentioned five schools last Friday.

UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay have offered him, while Ball State and Drake are showing plenty of interest. Mader wants to take a visit to Northern Illinois.

“I want to make a decision in August,” he said.

Jordan Scott taking his time

One of the more underrated teams at the Tournament of Champions last weekend was the Colorado Chaos. Despite having two high-major commits in Josh Scott (Colorado) and Kaileb Rodriguez (California), not many people knew about this team.

A player who made people take notice was Jordan Scott. A 6-foot-5 forward, Scott knows how to finish around the rim and plays well in transition. He is also a very good defender and can guard multiple positions.

For now, the Lewis-Palmer (Colo.) product is hearing from Colorado, Air Force, Denver and Arizona.

“I want to make a decision during my senior season,” the 2013 prospect said. “I’m taking my time.”

Terrell Rogers follows in father’s footsteps

Despite standing just 5-foot-4, Shawnta Rogers terrorized the Atlantic-10 for three years in the late 90s, averaging 20.7 points in his final season at George Washington.

Now, he has a son who is looking to continue that reputation.

Terrell Rogers, a 5-foot-8 guard from Indiana Land (S.C.), impressed with his scoring ability at the Tournament of Champions. He is supremely quick with the ball and has an ability to get into the lane and finish against bigger players. Rogers adjusts his body well to avoid getting blocked.

The rising senior said he is hearing from Clemson, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Providence and Charleston.

“Not yet,” Rogers said when asked about a decision. “At the end of the summer.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com