Saturday, October 9, 2010

Meet the players, Vol. I

A few weeks ago, we served up a roundup of the current Division I players that graduated from a Virginia high school. Now, in this first of what we hope is a series of installments, we let them fill in a few more details.

6-2 senior center
High school: West Springfield
Last year: 3.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg in 28 games (26 starts); led Penn in rebounding 3 times

Best thing about playing at Penn: "The challenge. I not only have to compete as hard as I can on the court but I am also equally if not more challenged in the classroom. Also, I love my teammates. They make the experience completely worthwhile and most of all worth all the time, energy and sweat I put into this game."

What she did in the offseason that should make her better in 2010-11: "This previous summer I most importantly gave myself a few weeks off. I believe that this is a necessity in order to appreciate the game more when you get back into it. After that I followed a rigorous lifting schedule since one of my goals was to add muscle and weight for my senior year. I also worked on taking the ball off the dribble and on my footwork so I could take advantage of players who are slower than me in the post. In addition to that I also worked out with my trainer and a lot of girls who were either in college or about to go to college in order to get some live play in. And I obviously participated in a summer league where I got the opportunity to play with one of my future teammates and a sophomore on my team. Overall, I believe adding the muscle and working on my footwork will make me a bigger threat in the league this year."

Best college player she's ever faced: Probably Katie Rollins, who graduated from Harvard two years ago. She was extremely calculated and did not waste any movement. She always used her size to her advantage and was extremely aggressive. She was a no-nonsense player who always came in with the right attitude.

RAKIA RODGERS, Florida International
5-9 junior guard/forward
High school: Princess Anne (Known then as Britne' Rodgers)
Last year: 11.7 ppg in 10 games. Sat out the first semester after transferring from Hofstra, and also missed 10 games with a knee injury.

Best thing about playing at FIU: "It is really teaching me more than just basketball."

What she did in the offseason that should make her better in 2010-11: "I added a killer 3-point shot to my arsenal. That should definitely help in the 2010-11 season."

Best college player she's ever faced: "No single player stands out right now, but the best team would probably be Florida Gulf Coast. Believe it or not. They do the best job I've ever seen a team do at concealing their weaknesses."

6-2 sophomore forward
High school: Hanover
Last year: 4.3 ppg in 12 games

Best thing about playing at UMBC: "At UMBC, Coach (Phil) Stern allows players to use their greatest abilities and incorporates them into the game plan. We focus a lot on offense and transition during practice; this allows us to become comfortable and creative on the offensive end in games. As important as defense is, I like how many choices we are given on offense and the freedom to shoot."

What she did in the offseason that should make her better in 2010-11: "I worked on the quick turn-around jumper in the paint. Strength is not my greatest asset, so the fadeaway quick jumper has been really working for me. I think it will improve my game this upcoming season"

Best college player she's ever faced: "Elena Delle Donne. She has so much versatility anywhere on the court. She is quick, can shoot, post up, dribble, and get down the court fast. Even though she is 6'5, her guard skills are just as good as (or even better than) smaller guards. Her grace on the court is what makes a stunning performance. She can take on any opponent on any part of the floor.

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