It's all about the fit.
Less than a year ago, Alexander Rice had the perfect fit in regards to his basketball career on a high school level. The lethal shooter was the starting shooting guard for a nationally recognized program in St. Anthony's in Jersey City. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame Coach Hurley, Rice was being groomed to play on the division one level.
Then during one said day in April, St. Anthony's announced it closing. From a basketball standpoint, the perfect situation for Alexander Rice was undone.
King was looking for a similar situation, to have a coach who pushed him defensively on the court. A coach that didn't treat the game like a business. He didn't need to look for long. After doing some research, he knew Mater Dei has everything he needed. Mater Dei coach Ben Gamble is a former player and coach at St. Anthony's. He's been highly successful and does a great job grooming his players for the next level. Last but not least, he has a demeanor similar to Hurley. For King, he knew it was a match made it heaven.
It's all about the fit.
Recently TheDribbleDrop sat down with King to discuss the transition to point guard, playing on the Under Armour circuit, his best selling point as a player and more.
By Christian Mordi / @thedribbledrop on Instagram
TheDribbleDrop: This spring you played AAU basketball for We Are One. How was that experience?
Alexander Rice: I had a blast this year playing on the Under Armour circuit. We played against some really good teams every tournament. I got to play against a lot of high level guys. As a team, we had great success as well, making it to the Under Armour championship.
My main focus was developing my skills as a point guard. I had a lot of good scorers on my team and I wanted to show that I could create scoring opportunities for others.
TheDribbleDrop: Last year you played for St.Anthony's. Tell me about your experience playing under coach Hurley.
Alexander Rice: The experience was second to none due to his coaching caliber and the skill of the assistant coaches. I gained a lot during my time there as a player and a person.
His dedication to every person within the program was unreal. From the players to the managers.. It was something I have never seen before. His dedication to helping people was something that I had never seen before.
TheDribbleDrop: You now play for Mater Dei, for coach Gamble. Tell me why this was the perfect fit for you.
Alexander Rice: Coach Gamble not only coached alongside coach Hurley, but he played for him as well. He’s been around coach Hurley his entire life. The way they both approach practice and defense is great and it fits my style. coach Gamble’s personality is similar to Hurley, which is cool with me as well. The transition has been easy and it’s due to coach Gamble.
TheDribbleDrop: How would you describe Mater Dei basketball.
Alexander Rice: Tough. Offensively we are solid. We have the discipline to get the shot that we want. Defensively, Coach Gamble holds us to a really high standard. We take pride in locking guys up regardless of who they are.
TheDribbleDrop: If you were use one word to describe the relationship with your team as the season has progressed, what would it be and why?
Alexander Rice: I would use the word “togetherness.” At the beginning I felt like we were working hard in regards to getting on the right page chemistry wise as a team. As the season progressed and we got more practices under our belt I feel like we have gotten closer as a unit. That makes us different than a lot of teams, as we play for each other.
TheDribbleDrop: If I were a college coach and I asked what part of your game stands out the most, what would you say as a selling point to be apart of my program?
Alexander Rice: My IQ. I pride myself on that. I try to take smart shots as they come. I try to get guys involved and I take pride in running the team and keeping the offense flowing. My IQ is a big part of who I am as a player.
TheDribbleDrop: Today you played in the Playaz tournament Vs Teaneck. Describe the pace of the game and how you guys played
The Teaneck game was different. I was crazy loud in there and hard to focus sometimes. That game was up and down in regards to tempo all game. The crowd was really into the game the entire time. I think we did a good job finishing that game off.
TheDribbleDrop: Right now you are uncommitted, but will surely be playing college basketball. What is one thing you are looking for from a program?
Alexander Rice: I want a really good mix of the talent level of the basketball program and the education. I take my education very seriously. Basketball wise, I want a coach that is somewhat similar to Coach Hurley. A coach that cares about his players and doesn’t treat them like a business. Someone that takes time to understand their players.
TheDribbleDrop: What’s your personal and team goal for your junior year.
Alexander Rice: A lot of people have underestimated us. A lot of people are always saying “we can’t” do this or that in regards to our team. We want to win Coach Gamble’s third straight Shore Conference championship. That’s a really big deal to us as we don’t think anyone has ever done that. After that we are focused on making a deep run in the state tournament.