Coach Hopkins has put the finishing touches on his assistant coaching staff by hiring Dave Rice. Rice most recently was an assistant coach under previously rumored UW head coaching target Eric Musselman. While he doesn’t have direct ties to Syracuse, Rice is another west coast guy with head coaching experience. Rice has spent the past 24 years in either Nevada or Utah. He got his start as a graduate assistant at UNLV before moving up to a full assistant there and served in that capacity for a decade. From there, Rice had stops at Utah State and BYU before returning to Vegas to take over as head coach of Runnin’ Rebels in 2011.
The program held over its momentum from Lon Kruger and the team won 26 games in Rice’s first year and secured a #6 seed in the NCAA tournament but ended with a first round upset loss. His 2nd year was much of the same with 25 wins, a #5 seed, and a loss to 12 seed Cal. Things went downhill from there as UNLV missed the tournament in 2014 and 2015 and Rice ultimately resigned after an 0-3 start to conference play in 2016. He left the school with a 98-54 record.
With the addition of both Rice and Cameron Dollar, Hopkins has assembled a team that has head coaching experience to alleviate some of the concerns that came from hiring a career assistant to the top job. Rice also has connections to a potentially important source as his brother is the head coach at basketball powerhouse Bishop Gorman in Nevada. The school’s top player is top-10 recruit and USC-bound Charles O’Bannon Jr. who also considered UW before siding with the Trojans. Now that the dust has settled we should expect to see some of the dominoes fall for the upcoming recruiting class. Daejon Davis, Michael Porter Jr., and Blake Harris have all moved on from Washington but Jaylen Nowell and Mamadou Diarra are still options. West Seattle standout Nate Pryor’s recent decommitment from Seattle U suggests the chance that he will be getting an offer from UW soon now that Coach Dollar is on the staff.