Meet Malachi Rice, a non-scholarship point guard from Indianapolis, Ind., who joined the Tech program in the summer of 2017 . The left-handed point guard has played in six games for the Jackets in his first two years, but this season has been sidelined with an ankle injury. Born in London, England, Malachi is one of three children. His older brother is a distance runner on the track team at Columbia University, and his twin brother Isaiah is on the basketball team at Vanderbilt. His uncle played basketball at Alabama from 1988-91.
Studying business administration at Tech, Malachi was a star played at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, leading his team to Circle City Conference championships twice, averaging 11.6 points and 2.8 assists as a senior in 2017, and a sectional title in 2016, when he averaged 6.8 points and 2.4 assists. He scored 15 points with four assists in Brebeuf’s sectional championship win over Crispus Attucks. He also played in the Marion County all-star game following his senior year.
What is your nickname?
“People just call me ‘Mal’ for short.”
Why did you choose Georgia Tech?
“The great academics this institution provides. That’s really what drew me here. Honestly I didn’t know after high school if I really wanted to play basketball, and then my high school coach started reaching out to some people and coach [Josh] Pastner was willing, and once I came down here and visited the campus, it was a no-brainer for me. Looking back now and having this be my third year, this is the best decision I’ve made, to keep going. I’ve made my best friends here, and having the chance to see and be a part of big-time basketball is a dream come true for me, honestly.”
What player did you grow up modeling your game after?
“This might seem like an odd answer, but I grew up really liking Tyler Ulis from Kentucky. I just really liked how he was a small point guard and how he didn’t let his size define him. He was still able to impact the game at such a high level. Actually, one time when I was in Chicago where he’s from, I was at the Nike store and I was getting ready to go to a basketball camp, it was a weekend trip, and his dad started telling us about his son and how he was undersized and how people always overlooked him and how he didn’t let that stop him. From that point on I was locked in on this kid.”
Does anyone else in your family play sports?
“I have a twin brother that plays basketball at Vanderbilt (Isaiah Rice), and then I have an older brother named Solomon who ran track at Columbia University in New York. My dad played basketball throughout high school but stopped after high school.”
Who is your favorite athlete outside of basketball?
“Probably Cam Newton. I just like his personality, and I like his story. He went to Florida and things didn’t really work out there, had to go to junior college and just worked his way up. He didn’t give up, he didn’t give in to circumstances, he continued to work. A year later he’s at Auburn winning the Heisman Trophy and the National Championship.”
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
“I actually had a conversation the other day with coach Wilkins and I was talking to him about how I love the position I have here, the role I have on the team. I like helping others try to achieve their dreams. And he was able to read between the lines and know that I’m sort of scared in terms of what life has to offer for me. He was just telling me not to be scared, and you’ve got to go be somebody. I know that may be kind of short and sweet, but that really stuck with me.”
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
“Jordan [Usher] says I look like Jrue Holiday, so maybe I’ll go grab him.”
What is the most exciting sports moment you’ve ever seen?
“I’m an Alabama football fan. Two years ago, I was at the Alabama vs. Georgia game when we subbed in Tua [Tagovailoa], and his game-winning throw, I think that’s it for me. I wouldn’t say I’ve never been so happy, but I was overjoyed.”