No. 7 Rayvonte Rice
In this ranking, I took into account team accomplishments heavier than usual. But I couldn’t ignore the numbers that Rayvonte Rice put up while he was in Champaign.
Rice wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school. The 6-foot-4 guard would have to pick Drake as his landing spot so he could get noticed by the bigger programs. Rice would do just that, as he would average 15.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game in the two seasons with the Bulldogs.
The great numbers that Rice put up got him noticed by John Groce and the Illini. Groce needed some guard help, and he was able to land Rice for two seasons.
I would expect a player’s numbers to drop when they transfer up, but Rice actually improved on his numbers from his time with Drake.
In his final season with the Illini, Rice would average 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. He also shot an outstanding 43.6% from three-point range.
Sadly, like most years during the Groce era, Illinois wasn’t able to get to the NCAA tournament with Rice on the court. We were a bubble team both years and each season that bubble would pop.
The fact we couldn’t go to the postseason hurts Rice on this ranking. But we can’t ignore the great numbers he was able to put up. He is one of the best transfers Illinois has ever had and one of the best players in the past decade.