When you think of basketball or any sport for that matter, there are not many things worst than experiencing a season-ending injury, especially when you are one of the top players in the country. Just coming off a successful summer - doing well on the AAU circuit, invited to try out for Team USA, then goes into his sophomore year of the high school season and dominates from game one. Then BOOM, right before playing in one of the biggest high school tournaments in the country [The John Wall Holiday Invitational] he goes down with a torn ACL, sidelining him for eight months. If you don't know, this scenario pertains to c/o 2022, 6'6 CG, Marquise 'MJ' Rice. I had a chance to sit and chop it up with MJ to see how he's doing and get his thoughts on his road to recovery.
Raymond A. Maisonet: What was your reaction once you knew you had an ACL tear? Did you think the injury was bad?
Marquise Rice: People were telling me that my ACL could have torn, but I was going with the flow. Once I found out [it was an ACL tear], I was just ready to start the process. At first, I thought it was terrible because this is my first time having this injury, but now I'm cool with it. It's a part of basketball. Learn, grow, and get better.
RAM: What was your feeling once you knew you couldn't play in the John Wall Holiday Invitational?
MJ: I was distraught because I was looking forward to it, and it would have been my 1st appearance [at the John Wall Holiday Invitational]. Ultimately, looking back, it was a good thing because I needed time off and time to fix somethings [within myself] to get better.
RAM: Now, you have a season-ending injury, shift your focus to surgery and rehab, and then Duke gives you a call, which lets you know that they're incredibly interested in you. How does it feel to have interest from Duke?
MJ: It's a blessing for Duke to have an interest. It gave me something to look forward to and continue to work hard. It's a blue-blood.
RAM: Then, following your interest from Duke, North Carolina State University comes through with the offer! What're your thoughts on the NC state offer?
MJ: I'm truly blessed and very humbled. It was cool because I was the 1st prospect in my class to be recruited by State! Also, they're offering me while I'm injured, so for me, that means a lot. It was very humbling.
“I was distraught because I was looking forward to it, and it would have been my 1st appearance [at the John Wall Holiday Invitational]. Ultimately, looking back, it was a good thing because I needed time off and time to fix somethings [within myself] to get better.”
RAM: Shifting the convo a little bit, how do you feel about your status in the latest rankings?
MJ: Rankings are rankings. I hold myself accountable for my actions. I feel that I could have done a lot of things differently and better when I was playing. But I can't go back to the past, and I can only learn from my mistakes. If I concentrate on rankings, I will never reach my full potential. Rankings have never made me, only God, my grind, and my passion! I say this to mean no disrespect to people's opinion - but that's all it is an opinion.
RAM: How is the recovery process going? What has this overall process taught you?
MJ: This process for me is humbling. I have learned to focus more on being patient and control what I can, not what I can't. I can't go back [in time], so I have to adjust my mindset daily and lock-in. Mostly, I have learned not to change for the moment, but in the long run. A whole new MJ will return.
RAM: So you recently announced some pretty big news regarding a transition for you in the AAU world! What was that decision process like going from Team Wall to CP3?
MJ: It's different because of the relationship [I have] with John. I've learned a lot and thankful for the opportunity, but it becomes a time where you listen to God, and he directs your path. I'm ready for the new challenge.
RAM: So we're just about at the end now, but before we wrap this up, tell the people a little bit more about who Marquise Rice is.
MJ: [Laughs] What you think they want to know?
RAM: Let's give them the basics. Let's go with this - What are your hobbies outside of basketball - What's your favorite subject in school; color; movie of all time? What music are you listening to right now?
MJ: I can knock those out! I like hanging with friends or playing video games [RAM interrupts: What games?]. I'm on that NBA 2k and Call of Duty. My favorite subject is History. My favorite color is red [you know I had to go with a power color]. My favorite movie of all time [pauses for a second]... I got to go with 'Small Soldiers.' Last but not least, right now, I'm rocking with Lil Uzi Vert.
RAM: Ok, that's a wrap. I appreciate you taking the time to chop it up with me. Let the people know where they can find you on social media!
MJ: It was a pleasure. Everyone can find me on Instagram @mjrice2 and Twitter @MJrice_1.
written by Ray Maisonet