Hours after rising junior guard Devin Askew entered the NCAA transfer portal on Tuesday, head coach Chris Beard and the Texas Longhorns made a significant addition to the program with the commitment of former New Mexico State Aggies guard Sir’Jabari Rice.
A 6’4, 180-pounder from Houston, Rice is a super senior with one year of eligibility remaining who entered the portal in late March after New Mexico State head coach Chris Jans was hired by Mississippi State.
“This is the only year I’ve ever been open to a lot of decisions. That’s just where I am,” Rice said. “It’s not really about [having a lot of] options, it’s about being open to a lot of decisions. There’s a lot of stuff that plays into it.”
Out of Fort Bend Marshall in 2017, Rice was an unranked recruit whose only other reported offer was from UMass. Rice redshirted his first season in Las Cruces before emerging as a reserve as a redshirt freshman, averaging 3.4 points per game in 10.9 minutes.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2019-20, Rice made a big leap during the pandemic-shortened season, boosting his scoring average to 12.8 points per game while shooting 38.8 percent from three-point range and 82.7 percent from the free-throw line, earning first-team All-WAC honors in the process.
Rice continued to play well as a redshirt junior and a redshirt senior, averaging 13.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 30.2 minutes per game in 2020-21 and 11.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and a team-leading 3.2 assists in 32.4 minutes per game last season as New Mexico State won its first game in the NCAA Tournament since 1993.
An improved playmaker as a redshirt senior, Rice notched a career-high 19.5 percent assist rate while drawing 4.2 fouls per 40 minutes and taking 112 free throws — he’s an effective player getting to the line and converts there at 78 percent for his career. Rice is a decent three-point shooter, making 33.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc over his four seasons with the Aggies, but the Horns would certainly benefit tremendously if he can match the efficiency from his sophomore season.
Rice will join a guard corps currently set to feature highly-touted freshman Arterio Morris and senior Brock Cunningham. With Askew and Courtney Ramey in the transfer portal, Beard and his staff are still awaiting decisions from Marcus Carr and Andrew Jones.