When I asked Kevin Rice, “What’s your go-to lacrosse dodge?” I was expecting he would say “the question-mark” or “turning the corner.” Instead, he simply said “I hope I don’t have one. I hope the defender has no clue what I’m doing next.” This answer made me understand just how dedicated Rice is at his craft.
Before games, while other players might be trying to find a perfect “hype” playlist or talking to their teammates, Rice watches film on his defender so he knows exactly what’s coming. It seems like Rice approaches lacrosse more like a chess match than a chaotic sport with 20 athletes running around a giant field. This mentality has propelled Rice to become one of the best players in the MLL and a Tewaarton Finalist in college.
Being such an incredible college and professional player, you probably thought Rice had been a highly-ranked player for his entire life. It turns out Rice was a late-bloomer, committing to Syracuse going into his senior year of high school. After playing AAU basketball and participating in three sports in high school, Rice had a breakout junior lacrosse season. While other blue-chip recruits were getting burned out from playing lacrosse year-round for several years, Rice was playing his best lacrosse. This translated into several Division 1 offers, and ultimately, a call from his dream school, Syracuse. Rice grew up thirty minutes from the Carrier Dome, one of the most iconic lacrosse venues in America. Being so close to the stadium, he attended countless Syracuse lacrosse games. When coach Desko gave him a call, it didn’t take much convincing for him to decide on the Orange.
When Rice went out for his first practice as a Division 1 college lacrosse player, he noticed how big and fast all the players were. Instead of being intimidated by the physicality of the game, he spent the following summer lifting and running every day. He went from stepping on campus at 5’8, 150 pounds to entering his sophomore year at 5’9, 180 pounds. “I became a different athlete physically and mentally. I was never the fastest or the strongest, but I dedicated myself to becoming better.” In the second game of his sophomore year, Rice scored the game-winner against Virginia at home. After that, he never looked back. Rice went on to become one of the greatest attackmen in Syracuse lacrosse history and currently plays professional lacrosse for the Atlanta Blaze.
Rice is entering his third year of law school at Wake Forest University. He’s still enjoying lacrosse just as much as he did as a kid attending Syracuse games. His unparalleled dedication to the sport and competitive mindset is a joy to watch on the field, and I’m looking forward to watching Rice continue to dominate for years to come.