YouTube and Ball Is Life have jaded us a bit. If you’re not playing above the rim or breaking ankles left and right it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. As much as ESPN loves Russell Westbrook’s highlight-reel play, at the end of the day a closer look at his game begs a question. Why is Westbrook (shooting 38%) launching (17) shots a game from the Point while Kevin Durant (the planet’s most effective scorer) is shooting (53%) and only taking (1) additional shot per game? Bottom-line, the old-school “1”; Dennis Johnson of the 80’s Celtics and Derek Fisher of the Lakers of the 2000’s, is a dying breed. 2013 SoCal PG Marc Rodgers is here to prove that fraternity is still accepting members.
In Rodgers’ own words his game is “poised” and “all about defense and setting up teammates”. The kid’s a Junior in High school and describes his role as Point Guard as just about any D1 Coach worth his salt would want it rolled out. Marc will make the right pass, put his teammates in position to maximize their talents, and provide the occasional burst on Offense when his boys’ shots are falling. None of this jumps off the stat sheet or sends the highlight reel “viral”, but that’s the ok with true PG’s. Ask most fans about the Celtics of the 80’s and you’re going to hear all about Bird, Parrish, and McHale. Listen to Bird, Parrish, and McHale talk about those teams and you’ll hear all about Dennis Johnson. Similar can be said of the Lakers of the 2000’s. Kobe and Shaw grabbed the headlines, but the Lakers don’t grab the rings without “D-Fish”.
Already catching interest from San Diego St., UNLV, Cornell, Washington St., and UCLA, it’s clear Coaches in the know understand what a PG like Rodgers brings to the table. I don’t know that Marc will grab consistent headlines at the next level, but he brings the leadership and floor generalship to all but guarantee his team will compete. He’ll be the guy the D1 Coach looks to when it’s time slow down the game, or when it’s time to push the pace. He’ll be the guy asked to shut down the opponents’ top dribble-drive threat without absorbing unnecessary Fouls. In short, Marc Rodgers will do what it takes to insure his team is successful. Counting his parents as role models and Coach Reggie Morris as working to get Marc and his teammates “mentally stronger, individually better athletes, and as a team a contender for a CIF and State Championship”, it’s clear this kid gets it and has the support structure in place for continued success.
Rodgers’ court awareness, precision passing, and shut down D should put him in place to log early minutes on the D1 level. My guess is as he adds bulk to his 6’2 frame he’ll be better suited to deal with increased physical play of NCAA basketball and will almost certainly establish himself as a team leader early in his College career. His teams will win games and his teammates will grab headlines, and I’m pretty sure Mark Rodgers will be just fine with that. Don’t expect anything less from this “old-school 1”.