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High School / May 23, 2011 / 3:30 pm

New York City’s Rice High School Closing, Alumnus Responds

Rice High School

Rice High School (photo. Dorothy Hong)

In some sad and shocking news, New York City basketball powerhouse Rice High School, home to hoops stars such as Kemba Walker, Andre Barrett, Felipe Lopez and Kenny Satterfield, is shutting down in June. The former three-way power struggle between Rice, Christ the King and St. Raymond is now down to two. The announcement was made to students this morning.

Kashif Pratt, a former Rice and Seton Hall player, left a lasting impact on the school’s basketball program. On March 12, 2006, Pratt created the ultimate highlight for his senior year by hitting the game-winning layup against Christ the King in the Catholic High School Athletic Association championship game. The news this morning was devastating to him. Pratt’s hope, however, has not dwindled. In a phone interview this afternoon, he indicated that this might not be the end of the road for Rice.

“The school might be possibly reopening in a different location,” he said. “We’re calling investors, alumni, families companies, and we’re reaching out to Nike, the biggest shoe company in the world, seeing if they can help. We’re even reaching out to former NBA players who have played against Rice. Hopefully we’ll contact Felipe Lopez, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.”

Although the basketball legacy of Rice is well-known, Pratt rightly insists that it’s all about the kids.

“When I went there, there were a lot of kids who weren’t really into school,” he said. “Rice was a place where kids who never thought they were going to college went to college.”

In terms of the current basketball players and where they’ll end up next season, Pratt does not have the brightest outlook.

“It’ll be hard for them to go to other schools,” he said. “Some of the big name schools already have established teams, so they’re not going to go after these guys. They’ll probably be forced to go out of town to another school. It’s just not fair, because they won’t get the same recognition as they would at Rice High School. Kids at Rice that averaged six points a game were getting college scholarships.”

The closing of Rice will also heavily alter the CHSAA’s power dynamic now that one of its staples will no longer be competing. Yet instead of another powerhouse school developing, Pratt sees the league’s future in a different light.

“It’s gonna affect the Catholic League negatively,” he said. “It’s like taking the bottom team of the NBA D-League and bringing them into the NBA.”

Ultimately, Pratt believes that there’s no way that Rice will disappear from the basketball community.

“You got great players all around New York City, but there’s no way you can talk about New York Basketball without talking about Rice.”

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  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    Such a sad day for NYC hoops!

  • asdf

    why they shutting down? can you provide more info???

  • http://www.dimemag.com Dylan Murphy

    Financial concerns. The school just didn’t have enough money to keep going.

  • stefan

    why is it bad that some kids will not go to college? they don’t study anyway… college is not for everyone folks..

  • adufore

    yes, but college is for those who wish to assure themselves a chance at a future!

    that aside, this is very sad day, the very good chance, that we will never again here the name RICE, with NYC High School Basketball!

  • hornblower

    This is a sad day but to limit the history of Rice High School to basketball is to diminish it’s legacy. Rice’s educational value initially to sons of Irish immigrants then to the young men of Harlem is what is being lost. The basketball stuff can be replicated elsewhere as it was with Power and Tolentine.

  • http://Rice it is a sin

    It is sad that such a fine school such as Rice will be closing it’s doors. Many great young men have gone on to great places from this school. What people sometimes dont look at- First Power Memorial, Tolentine & Rice all close doors. In all cases these schools became more known for there basketball programs , than anything else. It definetly is part of the problem. Just this the past two years a couple of high powered girls basketball schools also closed. Money is the true factor. Without the backing of the Archdioceses Of NY or the Christian Brothers it has become impossible to stay open. It is sad that Harlem will lose a great Catholic HS

  • JAY

    @stefan
    I get what you’re trying to say but the closing of a school means many things. One of the reasons being the one you mentioned; to go to college. Other reasons include, the kids who do want to go to college, must now spend more time travelling, which means less study time at home… and because the Rice kids must go to other schools, that means larger classrooms… larger classrooms means teachers must spread their attention… which means the kids who are striving for college get less help… in turn some of those students on the fringe of college eligibility, their grades may drop and that could make the difference between a good college or not.

    The kids who don’t care, likely will not continue their education after highschool. But there’s always fringe students who do care, and their grades will inevitably slip.

  • Azalea DuFore

    Whether it’s baseball basketball or whatever sport the institution named RICE is closing our children our young MEN who truly become responsible hard working Men are losing out, days before their finals they have gotten a slap in the face . The building on 124 th street is an icon a home these men believe in that building it becomes a family to them , the educational gain is tremendous just look at the number of students that go on to college. Someone out there can come out and help this dream continue.

  • Azalea DuFore

    @hornblower, you clearly don’t see it Rice Leagacy is all of that education,sports and family values .They all help the student get to where they need ,it all works together education sportsmanship (for those who wish) and values …
    The fact is that our young minority students will not have the opportunity to have that chance. they will get lost in the system can we allow this???

  • da real “RONDO”

    there is not one player from nyc in next years top 100 rankings. ny is not producing talent like it used to so the shoe brands have no reason to spend here anymore

  • beiber newz

    kobe brand makes signature shoes for rice. too bad the NBA fined kobe all that money this season, now kobe may not be able to help. thanks a lot david stern.

  • JAY

    LOL @ the ’round about way bieber found to blame Stern. I love it! LOL! I’m not a big fan of biebz but that shit was hilarious.
    It’s all Stern’s fault.

  • hornblower

    Hayes and some other Catholic schools nearby will welcome former Rice students. There is no need to get lost in the system.
    It’s sad news and something precious has been lost especially for the present students and alumni. Unfortunately, the cost of education in private schools has risen and that along with an old building make it impossible to continue. Power went through the same situation. Selling the building to Fordham University made it possible to keep Rice and All Hallows open.

  • Big Al

    It is heartbreaking for every young man at Rice and their families as Rice like its inner city brother schools like Hayes and All Hallows educated the whole man and they do it at a cost that is less than the actual cost of educating each student. A basketball legacy may be gone but the good that Rice did what Catholics do will live on in its distinguished alums. Rice’s closing is warning shot to all supporters of inner city Catholic education that we can’t wait until it is too late to be part of the soltion.