Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rodriguez on pace for 1,000 points at Ohio Dominican

Southview's Adriene Rodriguez is using his senior year at Ohio Dominican as motivation.

Rodriguez, who entered this season a four-year starting point guard for the Panthers, is playing this basketball season with the motivation of helping his team earn a national tournament berth, possibly grab a future spot overseas playing professionally and a earn a place in ODU school history as he nears 1,000 career points and 300 assists.

Ohio Dominican, a former Division III school, is in a transition year as it moves up to D-II next season.

So the Panthers will have to compete this season as an independent member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic (NAIA), playing in the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.). They'll still have the opportunity to qualify for the NAIA National Championship Tournament, but will not get a chance to play for a Mideast Conference championship or its normal conference awards.

Next season, ODU, along with Lake Erie College, will join the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), and officially be a D-II NCAA team.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez is focused on helping his team get through this season, while he looks forward to his future.

"I'm real excited because it's my last year and I'm looking forward to seeing how good my senior year can turn out," said Rodriguez, who entered the season with 813 points and 242 assists. "Hopefully, if everything goes good, I can just keep playing basketball and then play professionally somewhere."

Going into tonight's game at Cedarville University, ODU is off to a 0-4 start, but Rodriguez isn't worried.

Beside a 34-point loss to Georgetown College (91-57), the Panthers have been in close games in their other three losses to McKendree University (65-53), Ashland University (66-61) and Spring Arbor University (67-60). The Panthers even had an early 15-point lead against D-II Ashland and led by seven in the fourth quarter, but ended up losing by five.

"We're young," Rodriguez said. "We have a whole bunch of new looks and new offenses and defenses. It's been tough so far, but our team is starting to come together a little bit more. We're getting better and better everyday, but it's a work in progress. Hopefully, we can get to where we want to be soon."

Rodriguez, a team captain, has learned a lot in his four years at Ohio Dominican.

"I've learned to just try to let the game come to me and try not to do too much," Rodriguez said. "I try to control my team and be more of a leader. My leadership on the court has improved. I've become more of floor general and a leader vocally. I've improved defensively, because in college, coaches are more defensive-minded."

Last season, Rodriguez was named honorable mention All-American Mideast Conference for his play after finishing his third-straight year as the Panthers' starting point guard. He averaged nearly 13 points per game on an up-and-down year, adjusting to a new coach Artie Taylor, who completed his second year at the helm.

"I was excited about it, but at the same time I wasn't satisfied," Rodriguez said. "I knew that I could do better than that if I kept working."

The Panthers won three straight to end the regular season and finished .500 at 15-15 overall, but just missed the conference tournament after finishing in a four-way tie with Notre Dame, Rio Grande, and Daemon — who won the tie-breaker to earn a postseason berth.

"We haven't made it to a national tournament in my three years so knowing that it's my senior year and my last chance to do it motivates me," Rodriguez said. "Our goals as a team is to win 20-25 games and make the national tournament."

Rodriguez battled a high ankle sprain his sophomore season and had to sit out nearly two months. He still made 11 starts in 26 games played and finished fifth on the team in scoring (8.7 ppg) and third in assists (61). He also recorded 21 steals.His freshman year, he appeared in all 31 games and averaged 29 minutes and eight points per game, while leading the team in assists with 91.

While at Southview, Rodriguez averaged 22 points and four assists per game and was selected the Lake Erie League Player of the Year, along with first team All-Lorain County and All-Morning Journal. He was also an honorable mention All-Ohio and second team All-District.

"Time has gone by so fast," Rodriguez said. "I thought high school went by fast, but I think college went by even faster. It's been a good experience playing college basketball. I'm glad that I did take this opportunity. I feel like it not only make me a better person on the court, but off the court as well. College has done a lot for me. I'm just grateful that I had the opportunity to play."

Rodriguez feels fortunate that he was able to play four years of college basketball and still has a dream of playing professional. And if that doesn't pan out, he plans on using his criminal justice degree and become a probation officer or a parole officer.

"It's always been a dream of mine to play basketball professionally," Rodriguez said. "It always has been something I've always wanted to do. If the opportunity is there, I will jump up on that. If something happens and I can't go play overseas, I'll always have my degree to fall back on."

Other local Panthers at ODU

Also joining Rodriguez at ODU are Oberlin's Aaron Gibbs and Morgan Jones.

Gibbs, a sophomore, scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his first game with the Panthers and continues to impress in a starting role. Jones has averaged three points coming off the bench.

Gibbs is a transfer from Division I Presbyterian College, where he made three starts and played in 29 games, after red-shirting as a freshman. He graduated from Myers Park High School in North Carolina after attending Oberlin his freshman and sophomore season.

Jones, a freshman walk-on, is Oberlin's all-time leading scorer and averaged 34 points, seven steals, four rebounds and two assists per game last season for the Phoenix.


Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home