The Citadel head basketball coach Duggar Baucom and his staff announced the additions of Kaiden Rice and Tariq Simmons to the 2017 recruiting class on Friday.
Rice and Simmons will join fall commits Derek Webster Jr., Hayden Brown and Rob Johnson in the class of 2017 and bolster the depth of a Bulldog team that returns its top five scorers from the 2016-17 season and was the highest-scoring team in Division I with 89.8 points per game.
“We are thrilled to have Kaiden and Tariq join our signing class,” Coach Baucom said. “They are both high-character-kids, who were well coached in very successful high school programs. Kaiden and Tariq join early signees, Derek, Hayden and Rob. This group collectively in their high school careers won four state high school championships and competed in two other state final appearances. They all bring a habit of hard work and a culture of winning to our young program. We believe these young men will not only bring an immediate contribution on the court, but will also excel in the classroom and among the Corps of Cadets.”
Kaiden Rice comes to The Citadel after averaging 16 points per game, seven rebounds and being named the Region III Class AAAA Player of the Year as a senior. Rice was also named to the all-region team and selected as a South Carolina North-South Basketball All-State. The 6-7 wing rounded out his senior campaign with a Class AAAA SCBCA All-State Player selection after leading Ridge View to the third round of the South Carolina state playoffs.
Rice played three years of varsity basketball at Ridge View High School. During his junior season, the Columbia, South Carolina, native posted 12 points and five rebounds per game, was named to the all-region team and was named a South Carolina Junior Showcase All-Star. Rice was also a member of the successful AAU Central Carolina Force and helped the team rank 23rd in the nation. He plans to major in mechanical engineering at The Citadel.
“Kaiden is a long, fluid athlete with an offense skill set that is perfect for our up-tempo offense,” Coach Baucom said. “He can shoot the three with deep range and is an excellent rebounder on the wing. His length allows him to be very disruptive on the defensive end. Kaiden possess great leadership qualities which will be beneficial on the court and within the Corps.”
Tariq Simmons heads to Charleston in the fall after averaging double-digits in all four years at W.J. Keenan High School. The 6-2 combo guard rounded out his high school career as the AA state runner-ups with a 22-6 record. Simmons finished his senior campaign with an average of 18.9 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game. A 71-percent career free throw shooter, Simmons was named all region for the fourth consecutive year following the season as well as being named to the SCBCA All-State team, HSSR All-State team and a SCBCA top-five senior. Simmons was also a member of the No. 1 team in the country, Upward Stars SE, during the summer of 2016.
In his junior season at W.J. Keenan, Simmons averaged 17.1 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, 2.0 steals per game and 2.3 assists per game while helping his team win the AA state title as they finished with an impressive 21-8 record. For the second consecutive year, Simmons was named region Player of the Year, SCBCA All-State and HSSR All-State.
As a sophomore, the Columbia, South Carolina, native put up 18.6 points per game, brought down 2.9 rebounds and dished out 3.2 assists. Simmons also finished the season as a 70-percent free throw shooter and shot 47 percent from the floor as he was named to the all-region team, SCBCA All-State team, HSSR All-State and region Player of the Year. In his freshman season, Simmons averaged 13.6 points and shot 50 percent from the floor, earning all-region team honors. He is undecided on his major at The Citadel.
“Tariq is a quick, strong guard who can play both point and shooting guard,” Coach Baucom said. “While his strength is his scoring ability, his quickness and court vision allow him to create for others. He has great anticipation skills which will make him very valuable in our pressure defense. Tariq is a fierce competitor who brings a championship pedigree to our program.”
“I would like to congratulate and thank my coaching staff and players for their tireless recruiting efforts and for articulating the vision of this program to these future cadet-athletes,” Coach Baucom said. “I am looking forward to these young men and their parents becoming part of The Citadel and our Bulldog Basketball family.”