The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Myles Rice — WSU basketball’s greatest freshman

Rice wins seventh Pac-12 Freshman of the Week
WSU guard Myles Rice passes the ball during an NCAA men’s basketball match against UW, Feb. 4, 2024, in Seattle.

After tying the Pac-12 record with his seventh Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award for his performance against Cal and Stanford, it is clear that Myles Rice is the single greatest freshman in WSU men’s basketball history. 

Regardless of how the rest of the season goes, Rice is heads and shoulders above the competition, quickly becoming the best freshman that WSU men’s basketball has seen in program history. 

While the eye test proves as much, there is statistical backing. 

With seven Pac-12 Freshman of the Week Awards, Rice broke the WSU program record for Freshman weekly honors and tied Evan Mobley’s Conference record. Through 28 games, he has averaged 15.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 44.4% from the field, 31.2% from three and 80.6% from the free-throw line. 

At one point this season, he was the only freshman across the nation to lead a power-conference team in scoring, assists and steals, according to play-by-play broadcaster Matt Chaznow

With several more regular season games remaining, as well as the Pac-12 Tournament and a likely NCAA Tournament bid, Rice is already firmly in the program record book beyond his Freshman of the Week honors. 

His 431 points is third all-time for a freshman, 40 shy of CJ Elleby’s record. His 34 three-pointers are ninth all-time. His current 15.4 points per game average would finish second all-time. At 155 field goals made, he ranks fourth all-time already. His 103 assists rank third all-time. His 44 steals are second all-time, just three behind first. Finally, he is the current frontrunner to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. 

When looking at a player’s impact and legacy in regard to an athletic program, it goes well beyond the scoresheet. It is easy to see that Rice also has that side of things figured out, much for things out of his control. 

Rice’s story is well documented. He beat cancer. He had learned his diagnosis on his mother’s birthday, but that did not stop him from not only fighting but beating his Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

But, before getting into WSU fans’ good graces for his dominant and clutch play on the court, his personality won many over. On campus for a few years before ever stepping on the court, people knew who he was. 

Aaron Monson, 2023 WSU Broadcast News graduate, recounted a time when Rice had been a down-to-earth guy on the basketball court, despite being a three-star college basketball recruit. 

Monson said he was working a game for the Pac-12 Network and got to Beasley a little early. That’s when he saw Rice shooting around. He offered to rebound for the guard while he got some shots up. 

A self-proclaimed sneaker head, Monson complimented the Kobe’s Rice had on and jokingly challenged him to a free throw shooting competition for the kicks. He said Rice laughed and agreed, remarking, “I’m not losing.” 

Monson said he went first, completing the shot, to which Rice swiftly made his first attempt. Attempting to get in the head of Rice, Monson downplayed his ability to try to get Rice to relax, but it had no chance of working. 

“He went 5-for-5 and I went 2-for-5. It was embarrassing,” Monson said. “He’s got a real good chance to bring WSU to places it’s never seen before. He’s a stud and I think he’s going places.” 

Now, on the cusp of the one-year anniversary of when he rang the bell to tell the world he was now cancer-free, he is bringing WSU men’s basketball to potentially the largest heights they have ever seen. 

Ranked by AP at No. 19, the Cougs are within the Top 25 for the first time since 2008. They are also projected to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since that same ‘08 season. 

“Being able to be a part of this team, and doing something that hasn’t been done in a long time, is everything that a kid could dream for, honestly,” Rice told CBS Sports.

Rice has everything going for him. He’s the star of the record-breaking team that has garnered national infatuation, he has a strong emotional personal story, he’s dominant on the court and he has the reputation of being a good and down-to-earth person. 

In several ways and on multiple levels, Rice is the greatest freshman WSU men’s basketball has ever seen.

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About the Contributors
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.