Pilots in the Spotlight: Derrick Rodgers

By The Beacon | February 6, 2013 9:00pm

Derrick Rodgers (Kayla Wong | The Beacon)

By Katie Dunn, Staff Writer dunn16@up.edu

Guard Derrick Rodgers, the only senior on the men's basketball team, stepped up as the team's point guard after transferring from Citrus College in Glendora, Calif. Averaging 5.6 points, 2.6 assists and 2.2 rebounds as well as setting the tone defensively for the team, Rodgers hopes to have an impact on the young Pilots team while looking to stay in the game after graduation.

How is it transferring here?

I came from a junior college, so going to the next level was the point the whole time. I feel I was really lucky to come here from there because it's a little harder to get into [UP]. It's been really nice.

Why did you come here?

The coaching staff. I trusted my junior college coach a lot. He told me that they were good people and I wouldn't have to worry about politics and things like that. That sounded good to me, along with free school.

What is your favorite part of UP?

My favorite part would have to be my least favorite part as well, just how small the school is. I really like it in the sense of classroom sizes and how everybody cares and knows you.

What is your favorite part of basketball?

My teammates. Playing here I didn't have to worry about a lot of ego problems. Everybody's a good person on this team, they're fun to hang out with. Our times in the locker room are probably some of the best.

What does it mean to you and to the team being the only senior?

They talk a lot of mess to me about it. They always tell me I'm no fun anymore because I'm an old man and they always joke with me. It was hard at first just because our team is a little young, just trying to be a leader and that role model, the one always working hard and doing things right that we need to do all the time. They all like me so that makes it easier.

How is it taking on the leadership role?

It wasn't bad. We've had great leadership before, people to watch, and I knew I'd be in a position this year to take on that role. It's mostly just coming in with a good attitude every day, when the team is down, trying to get the team to follow.

What are your plans after you graduate?

I want to continue playing if I can. I'm probably going to try that first and see where it takes me but if I'm not able to do that I'm probably going to try and coach. I want to stay around basketball somehow. I'd play anywhere overseas for a little bit, just to get out of the country for a while, since I've never been.

What will you miss most from the team?

Being able to compete every day, practice every day, just go out and compete with elite athletes every single day.

What is your best memory from your years here?

My first year here, we beat St. Mary's [85-70] here. We kicked their butts that game.

How was the strongman competition?

It's a challenge. They split it up between guards and posts. My first year here I won the guard part so I was like oh I'm always going to win. Then I went against Ryan Nicholas and for the second year in a row he just killed me. It's really difficult but it's a lot of fun.