Drake sophomore guard Rayvonte Rice to transfer

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Drake guard Rayvonte Rice, the third-leading scorer in the Missouri Valley Conference this past season, has been granted a release from his scholarship so he can transfer to another school.

Drake coach Mark Phelps announced Rice's abrupt release Thursday without specifying why he is leaving the program.

Rice's departure is a serious blow for the Bulldogs. Rice was a second-team All-MVC pick last season, averaging 16.8 points. The sophomore says in a statement that leaving the Bulldogs is a decision he felt he had to make.

Phelps says he remains confident about the program's future, adding that Drake fans will be excited by what they see next season.