Shane Rector, a former standout point guard at St. Raymond's in the Bronx, said he was warned about the tape — with its homophobic slurs and basketball projectiles — by Rice himself a few days before the video was released, reports The New York Daily News.
"Before the video came out he called me up. He talked to me," said Rector. "He told me there was going to be a video about him online. He wasn’t trying to hide it from me. I still felt comfortable."
Rector, who was at a Manhattan health club practicing for Saturday's Jordan Brand Classic regional all-star game at Barclays Center, said Rice's firing swayed him from signing with Rutgers and the basketball program's uncertain future. He had verbally committed to Rutgers in January, choosing the Scarlet Knights over top schools including Providence, Texas, Xavier, Arkansas and Arizona State.
"Once they fired the head coach you don’t really know what’s going to happen - who they’re going to hire, if they’re going to like you or not," said Rector, who attended South Kent (Conn.) following his junior year at St. Ray’s in the Bronx. "So the best decision for me, just so I could have all my bases covered (was to de-commit)."
The highly-touted player says he might still head to Piscataway if the school hires a coach that is a good fit for him. And, despite the warning from Rice, Rector was still stunned by what he saw on the video, but didn’t change his mind about going to Rutgers.
"I was definitely surprised," Rector said. "I know that Coach Rice is an intense guy. I still like him as a person and I think he’s a good person. I don’t think he meant any harm by it. I don’t think he’s a guy that likes to beat on people. But the video speaks for itself.
"If he (Rice) would have stayed I probably would have still went there."