MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber announced the signing of junior college All-American forward Austin Trice (Chicago, Ill./Wabash Valley College) to a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.
A 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward, Trice joins the Wildcats after a one-year stint at Wabash Valley College in Mount Carmel, Ill., where he helped the Warriors post a 21-10 overall record as a sophomore in 2017-18. He transferred to Wabash Valley after starting his college career at Moberly Area Community College in 2016-17.
Trice, who ranked fourth nationally among junior college players in rebounding at 12.1 per game this past season, was recently named as one of 30 players to the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) All-America Team, earning recognition to the organization’s Third Team. He also rates among the top junior college players in the country by a number of recruiting services, including No. 5 by 247Sports.
“Austin is a great addition and we are excited to welcome him, his parents, Wayne and Regina, and their family to our program,” said Weber. “Obviously, our biggest need this season was rebounding and our focus this recruiting period has been finding an elite rebounder who fits in the framework of our team. We feel like we have found that player in Austin, who was one of best rebounders in all of the junior college ranks.”
Coached by Mike Carpenter at Wabash Valley College in Mount Carmel, Ill., Trice ranked among the Top 10 in four rebounding categories in the community college ranks, including third in total rebounds (362), fourth in average (12.1 rpg.), fifth in defensive rebounds (233) and sixth in offensive rebounds (129). He was responsible for nearly a third of the Warriors’ rebounds (362 of 1,336), while he was the team leader in both offensive and defensive rebounds by more than double. He posted double-doubles in 18 of his 30 games played, which included 10 games of 15 or more rebounds and a season-high 21 rebounds in a 113-94 win over West Kentucky Tech on Nov. 10.
“Austin’s No. 1 asset is that he has a great motor,” said Weber. “He has the athleticism to not only get up and down the court and be a terrific defender in transition, but also can guard multiple positions. We feel that he is a great fit for our team and we are really excited to get him to campus.”
Trice averaged a double-double for the season for Wabash Valley, as he ranked second on the team in scoring at 12.6 points on 55.3 percent shooting (161-of-291) to go with 12.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 0.9 steals per game. He ranked first or second among all players in 10 statistical categories, including team bests in every rebounding category (overall, offense and defense), double-doubles and blocked shots. In helping the Warriors to a third-place finish in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference with a 13-5 mark, he averaged 13.5 points on 57.7 percent shooting (101-of-175) to go with 11.9 rebounds per game.
Although known for his rebounding ability, Trice was still an effective scorer, registering double figures in 22 of 30 games played, which included a season-high 30-point performance on 15-of-20 field goals in a 92-91 loss at Lake Land College on Nov. 29 and three other outings with 20 or more points.
Trice started his college career in 2016-17 at Moberly Area Community College in Moberly, Mo., playing for head coach Pat Smith. He saw action in 25 games with one start for the Greyhounds, which posted a 27-5 overall record, including an 8-1 mark in conference play, and advanced to Region 16 Tournament Championship game. He averaged 4.8 points on 55.3 percent shooting (42-of-76) with 4.0 rebounds per game as a freshman.
Trice spent three years at Morgan Park High School in his hometown of Chicago before transferring to Hales Franciscan as a senior in 2015-16. In his lone season, he helped the Spartans and head coach Gary London to a 20-14 overall record and a fourth-place finish at the Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSA) Class 2A State Tournament. He averaged 14.5 points on 50 percent shooting with 11.0 rebounds in the Spartans’ two games at the finals of the state tournament, including a 17-point, 11-rebound effort in the third-place game. For the season, he averaged 12.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game as a senior.
Trice is the second member of the 2017-18 signing class, joining high school standout Shaun Williams (St. Louis, Mo./Hazelwood Central) who signed with the Wildcats during the Fall Signing Period on Nov. 8.
A 6-foot-3, 170-pound point guard, Williams helped Hazelwood Central to a 27-3 record during his senior season in 2017-18, where the Hawks lost to prep power Chaminade in the Class 5 quarterfinals. He averaged 16.7 points on 46.3 percent shooting (156-of-337), including 36.2 percent (38-of-105) from 3-point range, to go with 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. A high school teammate of current Wildcat Xavier Sneed, Williams was named the Suburban XII North Conference Player of the Year and was named First Team Class 5 All-State selection by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association for the second consecutive season.