Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) It was a happy homecoming that was fit for a king...literally.
Former Binghamton High School hoops star King Rice brought his Monmouth team to Binghamton University and left with a win.
In this week's Action Sports Spotlight, we talked to Rice about being back in his hometown, and what last night's game meant to him.
"I'm proud to be from Binghamton," says Monmouth coach King Rice.
Former Binghamton High School basketball great King Rice was back in his old stomping grounds last night, coaching against Binghamton University.
It was a game, his wife Summer says, he's been looking forward to.
"It's important. Every game is important and you want to do well in your home town in front of the people that have supported you your whole life so he's been anxiously awaiting this game," she says.
Before the ball was tipped, he took his team to Carroll Street and Columbus Park, to show them where he had come from.
He says he stops in the park every time he comes home to see his mother, which is about every 3 weeks or so.
"There's so many memories in that park for me. That was the first place that I played. Because of that park, I became a division 1 basketball player and it's a special place for me," he says.
Rice says he's been rooting for Binghamton University for a long time.
And in particular for senior guard Jimmy Gray, who like Rice, graduated from Binghamton High School.
"I'm proud of Jimmy. Jimmy did things not many people thought he could do. I remember when he was young and no one thought Jimmy was a D-1 player. Even when he decided to come here, people were like what's he doing? And sometimes when you're from a small town, a lot of people doubt you," Rice says.
"It was a good feeling, even though we lost that I have someone that's from around here that helps me, guides me and kind of tells me to keep my head up and move forward after the situation we're in," Gray says.
Rice also had high praise for the job that current Bearcats coach Tommy Dempsey has done.
And he says he hopes to continue the series down the road.
But for this year, the trip to Binghamton was a chance to catch up with people he hasn't seen in years.
And what better time to do that, than right around the holidays.